by Bob Schless, guest post for Agameofskill.com
September 1st is the closing of the Saratoga meet for 2014 and brings us the first Grade One stakes race for two-year-olds this summer, The Hopeful Stakes. This is a key race for horses in their 2-year-old season and has implications towards which ones will carry on towards The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile race in November. Nowhere else in horse racing handicapping is sire data and dam data so important as when trying to evaluate the runners in juvenile races. In this year’s edition, seven juveniles will race 7 Furlongs for their first time. It is the 4th race at Saratoga on the Labor Day card. Let’s look at the contenders.
Post 1 Sharm (Majestic Warrior-Mystic Mirage by Chester House)
Sharm is a $100,000 purchase and has 1 show out of 2 races. He ran third to some impressive 2-year-olds in Bold Conquest and Money Changer last out. He is trained by legendary trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Here is a video of that performance.
Sharm is by Majestic Warrior. His big win in his short racing career came in the Hopeful Stakes coincidently. His best offspring includes Princess of Sylmar and Best Warrior (million dollar earner in Japan). Sharm’s second sire is the Hall of Famer A.P. Indy who excelled on the track and in the breeding shed as well. And his 3rd sire is the famous Seattle Slew. A.P. Indy has not been known to produce sprinters and Princess of Sylmar won at a 1 1/4 miles. Seattle Slew also gave off a ton of stamina to his offspring. You’re probably looking at a horse here who will like longer distances. Sharm’s dam is Mystic Mirage. She earned $140,037 and was placed at 2. Mystic Mirage is a half sister to 4 winners. Sharm is inbred with the reines de course mare Lassie Dear (Dam of Weekend Surprise who foaled Summer Squall & AP Indy, & dam of Charming Lassie who foaled Lemon Drop Kid) on a 4X5 cross. That is a great genetic connection. His dam sire is the turf horse Chester House, a half brother to Empire Maker. He won close to 2 million dollars on the track, highlighted by winning the Arlington Million. He had a short career as a sire. He was represented by a pair of winners at the 2008 Breeders’ Cup races: Ventura (BC Filly Sprint) and Muhannak (BC Marathon). Chester House has had success on both sides of the Atlantic and with racers on both turf and dirt and is known to give off a bit of stamina to his offspring. Sharm’s 2nd and 3rd dam sires are Mr. Prospector and Raise a Native who were both fast on the track but produced a large amount of classic winners. Sharm along with the Lassie Dear crossing has other crossings to the following horses: 4X3 Mr. Prospector, 4X5 Secretariat on sire side, 5X5 Buckpasser on sire side and 5SX5DX5D Northern Dancer. Very impressive inbreeding. When looking at Sharm I see a horse who is bred for long distances. It wouldn’t be a total surprise to see him show well in this race but he is definitely up against some strong competition.
Post 2 Maratik (Sharp Humor-Very Special Lite by Majestic Light)
Maratik was supplemented in to this race and is coupled with Dekabrist. He finished 4th in his lone start. He was purchased at auction for $4,000. He is trained by Gennadi Dorochenko. Maratik is by the very fast Sharp Humor. He won 3 stakes races at two and went on to win the Swale Stakes at 3. I know him best when I watched him go dime for dime with Barbaro in a great stretch run in The Florida Derby. Sharp Humor has a ton of determination. His best offspring have been Marchman, Hero of Order (Louisiana Derby winner at 109-1 odds) and Five Iron. He also has had some success producing good 2-year-olds. His 2nd sire, Distorted Humor, was a multiple graded stakes winning middle distance runner. As a prominent sire he was known to give his progeny a strong will to win and gave off an abundance of stamina as well. Distorted Humor has sired 123 stakes winners and 16 Grade One winners including Drosselmeyer, Funny Cide, Commentator, Any Given Saturday, Flower Alley, Hysterical Lady and Boisterous. His 3rd sire, Forty Niner, earned close to 3 million dollars and was the 1987 Eclipse Champion 2-Year-Old Male. Maratik has a very strong sire line. Maratik’s dam is Very Special Lite. She was a Grade 3 winner and earned close to $300,000 on the track. She is also the dam of five winners. His granddam Very Special Lady was G1 placed and a stakes producer as well. And his fifth dam, Anchors Away, was a stakes winning mare who also gave off 2 stakes winners also. There is a touch of class with his dam line. Maratik’s dam sire is Majestic Light. He got grade I wins in the Swaps and Man o’ War Stakes and the Monmouth Invitational (track record 9 furlongs) and Amory L. Haskell Handicaps and earned $650,158. He sired 69 stakes winners and put a lot of stamina into his offspring. His 2nd dam sire is Majestic Prince. He went 9 for 10 on the track and his only loss came in his triple crown attempt in The Belmont Stakes. He sired 33 stakes winners including Coastal, who won the 1979 Belmont Stakes. Maratik is inbred 5X4 to Raise a Native, 4X5 to Mr. Prospector on his sire side and 5X5 to Royal Charger on his dam side. Maratik has a good amount of speed in his sire line, some class with his mares, and plenty of endurance from his dam sires. I wouldn’t rule out his ability to do well running longer distances. He may be a little short on talent when it comes to this particular race though.
“I can definitely see a couple of these horses exiting from here and pointing to the G1 Champagne Stakes in October and then the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November.”
Post 3 Requite (Warrior’s Reward-New Hope Seven by Carson City)
Requite debuted with a MSW victory at Saratoga where he lead from the start and never looked back, winning by over 3 1/2 lengths. He is trained by George Weaver and ridden by Joe Rocco. Here is a video of that performance.
Requite is by super freshman sire Warrior’s Reward who is ranked 3rd as a first crop sire and has 7 winners out of 20 runners so far this year. On the track he became a sprinter at age four and won The Carter Handicap. His second sire is Medaglia d’Oro. He earned close to 6 million dollars on the track by winning such prestigious races as The Travers, The Whitney and The Donn Handicap. At stud he produced the great Rachel Alexandra but has never been a top producer of two-year-olds. Requite’s 3rd sire El Prado was a Irish Campion 2 Year Old in 1991 and has had a successful breeding career, producing Artie Schiller and Kitten’s Joy amongst others. On his distaff side, Requite’s dam New Hope Seven was a five-time stakes-placed mare from the same family as 1974 champion 3-year-old colt Little Current. His granddam Darby Lake is a half sister to Turkish Tryst, the dam of Hard Spun. His 4th dam is a Reines- De-Course mare Luiana while his 5th dam is a 20th century matriarch Banquet Bell. This is a very classy group of ladies Requite hails from. His dam sire is Carson City who won sprinting and produced fast sprinters as well. His 2nd and 3rd dam sires, Mr. Prospector and Raise a Native, were both jet setting sprinters as well. He has a 4X3 cross to Mr. Prospector, a 5X4X5 cross to Raise a Native and a 5X5 cross to Nijinsky. Requite’s bloodlines point to a horse who is going to go for the lead and try to run the other competitors off there feet. I question whether Requite can excell at classic distances given his dam sire but Carson City was the broodmare sire of Barbaro so who knows given the class of his mares and his 2nd and 3rd dam sires.
Post 4 Signature Cat (Discreet Cat-Cover Girl Elle by Out of Place)
In Signature Cat’s only start in a MSW at Saratoga he ripped out of the gate and stormed around the track only to be caught by a Pletcher baby at the sixteenth pole finishing 2nd a length back. His trainer, Eric Guillot, was very happy with the performance. Here it is a link to the video:
Signature Cat was is by Discreet Cat. He was a very fast miler who earned over 1.5 million dollars on the track. He won his first six starts including the Grade Two UAE Derby and the Grade One Cigar Mile (in this race he finished just fractions off the world record for a mile on dirt). He was the Co-World Champion 3 year old of 2006. Discreet Cat is the sire of 3 Grade One winners including Dads Caps, the winner of the 2014 G1 Carter Handicap. Signature Cat’s 2nd sire is Forestry. He was a 1.5 million dollar yearling who set a stakes record winning the G1 King’s Bishop and equaled another stakes record in the G2 Jim Dandy at 3. Forestry is the Sire of Eclipse Award Finalist Shackleford ($3,090,101), the first horse in over 50 years to win the Preakness (G1) and Met Mile (G1). He’s sired 51 stakes winners and 13 juvenile stakes winners in his breeding career. He also sired the most expensive purchase at auction ever, the 16 million dollar horse The Green Monkey. His 3rd sire is Storm Cat who was known to give off precocious, speedy 2-year-olds. The Signature Cat’s sire line oozes of speed and brilliance. His dam, Cover Girl Elle, is a half sister to 4 winners. Signature’s granddam Cover placed in 11 of 14 starts. His 3rd dam, Gild, was a Grade 2 winner at 2 and placed in the G1 Demoiselle Stakes. His fifth dam, Iskra, was the dam of 3 year old champion Wajima. So there is a quite a bit of class with this group of mares. Signature Cat’s dam sire is Out of Place. He was a fast and powerful colt who earned over $700,000 on the track and won the Clark Handicap, ran 2nd in the Donn Handicap and 2nd in the Whitney as well. He is the sire of 39 stakes winners and his progeny earned over 31 million dollars. He was known to be a good producer of juvenile colts and fast ones too. Out of Place was probably the best son of Cox’s Ridge, Signature Cat’s 2nd dam sire. Cox Ridge, a big and rangy horse, enjoyed success on the race track in 1977 and 1978 with his most important win coming in the Metropolitan Handicap. In the breeding shed he was a success as well, producing 7 millionaire earners. He gives off a bunch of stamina to his offspring. His 3rd dam sire, Best Turn, produced Champion Davona Dale as well. Signature Cat has a 4X4 cross with Damascus, a 5X5 cross with Buckpasser and a 5X5 cross with Secretariat as well. So all in all, Signature Cat would seem to have speed to burn coming from his sire line and may have the ability to carry it quite a ways. If he can harness his speed he may fare well in this event.
Post 5 I Spent It (Super Saver-Rateeba by Sky Mesa)
I Spent It broke his maiden at first asking on July 2 in a 5F MSW at Belmont Park, getting up late and winning by 3/4 lengths. In his second start in the G2 Saratoga Special he won impressively as the favorite. Blocked in traffic, he found a seam along the rail and accelerated through it to win by 2 3/4 lengths over a nice field. He is trained by Anthony Dutrow and is ridden by Javier Castellano. His maiden win was the first one for Super Saver as a sire. He is also Super Saver’s 3rd most expensive 2-year-old sold at auction this year, at the price of $600,000.
His sire is the sensational freshman sire Super Saver. So far he leads the total earnings for first crop sires by almost $200,000. On the track Super Saver had 2 great moments. In his first two-turn race he broke a stakes record at Churchill Downs in The Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes for 2 year olds. The pinnacle of his career came at 3 in The 2010 Kentucky Derby. Going off with odds of 9-1, he came from 6th place to skim the rail on a muddy track and win by 2 1/2 lengths. Competitive Edge’s 2nd sire was the great Marias Mon. His racing career was short lived (he was the Champion Juvenile of 1995) but he was very successful as a sire, known to put a lot of stamina in to his horses. Besides Super Saver, Marias Mon also sired 2001 Kentucky Derby Winner Monarchos, who ran the 2nd fastest winning time in the history of the race. This is a rarity in this sport (to sire 2 Kentucky Derby winners). I spent It’s dam is Rateeba. She is a half sister to a Group one placed horse, a Grade 2 placed horse and to Pert Lady who is the dam of multiple graded stakes winning sprinter Zavata. His granddam, Impertinent Lady, was a debut winner at 2 and gave off 7 winners. His third dam is She’s a Talent, who produced Grade 2 winner She’s Tops, who in turn produced multiple Grade 1 victor Dixie Union (who produced Union Rags). Finally, I Spent It’s 5th dam is Change Water. She is the dam of Broodmare of the year, Fall Aspen and the granddam of both Cozzine and Dixie Union as well. As you can see, I Spent It’s dam line oozes with class. His dam sire is Sky Mesa. He pocketed over $600,000 on the track winning The Hopeful Stakes along with The Lane’s End Breeder’s Futurity at two. As a sire he has 43 stakes winners so far and is a perennial leading producer of top two-year-olds. He is known to add a sprinkle of speed on to his progeny. I Spent It’s 2nd sire is Pulpit who won the Toyota Bluegrass and Fountain of Youth. Pulpit has been a great sire and has had a big year in 2014, being the grandsire Untapable, California Chrome and Tonalist. He gives good amounts of stamina to his offspring. And his 3rd dam sire is Hall of Famer A.P Indy, who was the U.S. Horse of the Year in 1992 and has given us Bernardini, Mineshaft and Rags to Riches among others. I Spent It has shown great talent in his first two starts of his career and his pedigree points him towards having a major impact during his campaign for the Run for the Roses.
Post 6 Dekabrist: (Street Boss-Shutterbug by Deputy Minister)
Dekabrist is part of the coupled entry Maratik. He is 2 for 3 with a win in the Kodiak Island Stakes at Gulfstream Park and a loss in his most recent stakes race (5th place). The winner of his last one came back to win another stakes race. He broke the 4 1/2 furlong track record at Gulfstream in a 15 length romp in his maiden score. In his winning stakes race he rated until the far turn before jetting by the pace leaders to win by a length and a half. Dekabrist is trained by Gennadi Dorochenko. Here is the video from his stakes winning performance.
Dekabrist’s sire is Street Boss. He earned close to $850,000 on the track as a great sprinter. Street Boss blazed a trail of five consecutive wins in 2008, including two G1 handicaps at six and seven furlongs. He is sixteen-hands and he parlayed good looks and strong work ethics into track records. At four, he lowered the six-furlong mark at Hollywood Park (1:07.55) and Del Mar (1:08.67), and equaled the five-and-a-half-furlong record at Santa Anita (1:01.27). As a sire, Street Boss has 2 stakes winners so far this year and his best 2-year-old in his brief stallion career is Cape Bastone. He was a top 5 first, second and third crop sire. Street Boss is by Street Cry. He was a 5 million dollar earner who won the Dubai World Cup and Stephen Foster Handicap as a four year old. His best offspring were closers Street Sense and Zenyatta, horses who showed a tremendous amount of acceleration as did Street Boss. Dekabrist’s 3rd sire is Machaivellian, was the leading French two-year-old in 1989. There are bucket loads of brilliance here. On Dekabrist’s distaff side, his dam Shutterbug is a half-sister to 7 winners icluding multiple graded stakes winner Fantastic Fellow. The family traces back to Champion and G1 Epsom Derby winner Henbit. His 4th dam is a reines de course mare Mooncreek. So there is a touch of class with his dam line. Dekabrist’s dam sire is Deputy Minister. He was a sprinter and was the U.S. and Canadian Champion 2-year-old in 1981. Deputy Minister was also a very successful sire, being named leading sire of North America in 1997-1998 and leading broodmare sire in 2007. He is the dam sire of classic winners Sarava, Jazil, Rags to Riches and Curlin. His 2nd dam sire is Canadian Hall of Famer Vice Regent who was the leading sire in Canada for 13 years and is the dam sire of Belmont Stakes winner Victory Gallop. Dekabrist’s 3rd dam sire is one of the most influential horses of the 20th century, Northern Dancer. He has a crossing with Northern Dancer 4X4 on his dam side. In summation, I can see Dekabrist showing a great turn of foot and the ability to get classic distances looking at his distaff side. He has as good of chance as any of these horses to find the winner’s circle on Monday.
Post 7 Competitive Edge (Super Saver-Magdalena’s Chase by Cape Town)
Competitive Edge, a $750,000 purchase, broke his maiden at first asking in a dominating performance going 6 furlongs in a MSW on July 26 at Saratoga. He won by 10 1/4 lengths and many of the runners from his race have come back to perform well. He is trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez. Here is a look at the video of that performance:
Competitive Edge is also sired by Super Saver. Look at my write up on I Spent It to view the sire line of Super Saver. Looking at Competitive Edge’s notable mares you will find his dam, Magdalena’s Chase, who was stakes placed and earned over $200,000. His second dam, Illuminance, is a half-sister to 3 winners. His 3rd dam Synformer gave us Bluegrass winner Wild Syn. Angellico, his 4th dam, is the 5th dam of Constitution. So there is a touch of class with his female line. Looking at his dam sire, you have Cape Town, who won The Florida Derby and The Holy Bull. He sired champion 3 year old and Kentucky Oaks winner Bird Town. Seeking The Gold, his 2nd dam sire, sired 18 Grade 1 winners and gives plenty of stamina to his offspring. Competitive Edge is 4X4 to Mr. Prospector, 4X4 to Seattle Slew, 5X5 to Secretariat, 5X5 to Northern Dancer and 5X5 to Buckpasser. Now that’s impressive. He has classy mares, great sires with brilliance, and solid dam sires to give a great performance in this race and the potential to move on to longer distances as he grows and develops.
This should be a very competitive race with a variety of different types of horses. All should be able to compete well at 7 furlongs after looking at their pedigrees. There are a few speedy types (Signature Cat, Requite, Competitive Edge) so if the pace gets spicy it may set it up for I Spent It, Dekabrist or Sharm. I can definitely see a couple of these horses exiting from here and pointing to the G1 Champagne Stakes in October and then the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November.
About the Author
Bob Schless caught the horse racing bug in 2004 after I picked Smarty Jones to win The Kentucky Derby. You can find more of his pedigree writing at bobschless.wordpress.com.