Tumblr Codes

Tagged with miss netta RSS

Derby Watch: Seriously Street Sense

First off, I could have sworn I published this weeks ago… this is what happens when you have 30+ posts in draft at any given time.

I wasn’t into legitimate handicapping— scouring over past performances, speed figures, track preferences, rider switches, imposts, etc.— until somewhat recently, so it still astonishes me today how I was able to pick some Derby winners based off looks alone. Street Sense was one of those horses I picked to win the Run for the Roses based solely off confirmation, he was just that good-looking to me. A deeper testament to the brilliance of Street Sense was the quality level of his three-year-old class, which featured the likes of Curlin and Hard Spun to name only two. With his first crop turning three next year, it’s time to take a serious look at the baby Street Senses, predominantly one I’ve liked since his maiden: Motor City.

Out of a Danzig Connection daughter, the bay gelding has racked up two nice wins in five starts including the Iroquois Stakes (III) over Seven Lively Sins in great closing fashion. Better yet, it was a rail-skimming ride courtesy of Calvin Borel, which brought back a special memories of the 2007 Kentucky Derby. Surprisingly, Motor City isn’t on the tip of everyone’s tongues (yet) in regards to serious Derby hopefuls, but I’m thinking that’s going to change as the preps continue. His Iroquois win looked very mature for his age, and I anticipate this one getting even better down the line.

Also worthy of mention is a recent maiden (turned stakes champ since Monday!) winner by the name of Castaway. With Joe Talamo riding as his regular, he poked along in shorter distances but really lit a match when breaking his maiden around two turns at Santa Anita. He managed a 89 Beyer figure before turning 3, so while it’s still early, there’s enough hope abound that this Bob Baffert trainee could make a good score in time for May 5.

Afford, who just so happens to be competing in Saturday’s Risen Star Stakes (II), is yet another who shouldn’t be discounted (pun not intentional). He blew apart the field breaking his maiden by 7 lengths, tracking the leaders on the rail before making a gallant scraper-of-a-trip. While I don’t expect him to win in such a loaded field from the rail position, I think he’s going to keep on improving.

To add an Oaks candidate I’ve been super serious about since her two-year-old campaign, Miss Netta was plagued by a host of gate problems, but was an all-star as the distance stretched out. I missed her 2012 debut in an op-claimer at Gulfstream, but she apparently did not disappoint as the favorite. A great filly, I expect equally great things from her this year.

Bottom line, I just love the blossoming maturity I’ve seen from these colts so far. To win a big race like the Kentucky Derby, you need a lot of luck, talent, and above all, maturity. Classic victories don’t happen by accident, and they often require brash tactics like rail-running, rating well behind early, and closing willingly and quickly. I’ve seen all three so far, and with impressive consistency, from the first crop of Street Sense runners.

Battle in the Sandbox

The yearly battle of the babies at Ol’ Sandy is finally here!

The titlist race of the three-year-old colts— more so, in my opinion, than the grueling, too-late-in-the-year Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (I)— is the Champagne Stakes (I) at Belmont Park, a race that has been predicting future champions for decades. Established in 1867, it’s the oldest grade I race for juvenile colts in the country, with winners like Seattle Slew, Buckpasser, and Easy Goer capped off their two-year-old seasons with the Champagne. Then we have the equivalent for juvenile fillies in the Frizette (I), won in the past by Devil May Care, Shuvee, and Flanders.

Who makes the gate this time, with a free pass at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies to boot?

$300,000 Frizette Stakes (I) - 2-Year-Old Fillies. 1 mile on dirt at Belmont Park. Post Time: Saturday October 8 at 4:45pm EST.

[Post Position, Horse - Jockey, Trainer - Summary, Opinion in italics]

1) My Miss Aurelia - Corey Nakatani, Steve Asmussen - For sure one of the most talented fillies in the field, she’s 2-for-2 in her career so far hoping to keep stretching out in distance as her pedigree would suggest. This is her first time with Nakatani and as a young, apparently green horse in a rail slot, I’m a bit wary. But as she has proved in her Adriondack (II) win, she’s all class and guts.

2) Miss Netta - Rajiv Maragh, Kieran McLaughlin - A Street Sense filly out of a Dynaformer mare, this gal has some speed and poses a big threat coming fresh from a single start into this G1 field. McLaughlin’s another trainer I trust, but I feel plenty wary about Maragh guiding her home. I’m excited to death about this one but my gut is saying she’s got too much work to do already.

3) Stopshoppingmaria - John Velazquez, Todd Pletcher - Regarded as one of the quickest two-year-olds of the year (she nailed a 103 Beyer speed figure, 1 higher than that of Uncle Mo at this age), she was third in her debut under My Miss Aurelia’s vapor trail then came back to win a maiden special weight by nearly ten lengths with just a wave of the whip in her face. A very, very sharp filly who seeks to exact revenge here on My Miss Aurelia. She’ll need to beat a better field here to do it, but definitely has the precociousness to get the job done. 

4) Holiday Soiree - Edgar Prado, John Terranova - Daughter of Harlan’s Holiday gets Edgar Prado first time out here and broke her maiden in her prior start after two tries. She looks to still be on the improving end and probably needs more time by the sounds of it and what her pedigree says.

5) Spare Change [pictured] - Javier Castellano, Claude McGaughey - Gorgeous near-black daughter of Bernardini, she was a winner at 7 furlongs and came in second in her debut, both maiden special weights at Saratoga. This is a champion’s pedigree: her dad, obviously, and her dam Finder’s Fee was a multiple G1 winner. With Castellano in the irons, I have reason to root this one home first: cantered home in her last start, rallies for home, great horse.

6) Harbor Mist - Ryan Curatolo, Phillip Serpe - A precocious daughter of Rockport Harbor, this filly is 2-for-3 including one stakes. She upset a heavy Repole favorite in Victory Island in the Anne M. Clare Stakes, winning going away by nearly 3 lengths. However, I think she’s a bit too eager going after that lead to last a full mile with that kind of bravado.

$300,000 Champagne Stakes (I) - 2-Year-Olds. 1 mile on dirt at Belmont Park. Post Time: Saturday, October 6 at 5:18pm EST.

[Post Position, Horse - Jockey, Trainer - Summary, Opinion in italics]

1) No Spin - Rajiv Maragh, Tim Ice - Battered back to fourth in his stakes debut, this Johannesburg colt has some talent, but has only managed to shine through once in his three starts when he won handily by 5 1/2 lengths. A rail spot in a big field worries me about a colt who doesn’t quite know what to do just yet. He was trapped on the rail before.

2) Speightscity - Corey Nakatani, Gary Contessa - A Speightstown out of a Quiet American mare, Speightscity proved to be the real deal and is a real threat here: he’s the only horse to have competed beyond the mile mark and he happened to win that race very easily. Castellano may have made an error leaping off this colt in favor of Union Rags, and he is seriously good enough for an upset. Watch your back— this one has some life to him!

3) Takes the Gold - John Velazquez, Rick Dutrow - Really nice Corinthian colt who has capped off his last Belmont start at a mile with a win. With Velazquez, Belmont experience, and that Corinthian speed, he has the tools here to launch a big upset. He’ll finish up front at worst.

4) Power World - Edgar Prado, Neil Howard - I like this Distorted Humor son enough to think he could have upset the Hopeful (I) where he came in fifth. He’s faced a lot of stiff competition so far and is looking for that big break, which I don’t think he’ll find here just yet.

5) Alpha - Alan Garcia, Kieran McLaughlin - One look at his maiden and you’ll realize why everyone is so high on this Bernardini colt. A homebred Godolphin entry, he broke his maiden on his first attempt and by 6 lengths over 7 furlongs. If anyone stands to outclass Union Rags, it’s Alpha. This colt’s got it and could very well win this just as handily as he did his maiden.

6) Union Rags - Javier Castellano, Michael Matz - Gorgeous Dixie Union colt who made a mockery of the Saratoga Special (II) to win by a mile (or so it seemed). Undefeated in 2 starts. Never deny a Matz two-year-old— you know they’re ready if he says they are, and this one showed it. He’s the one to beat here.

7) Right to Vote - Alex Solis, Eoin Harty - Managed to punch through his maiden on his second try over 6 furlongs at Belmont, and was second to Clip the Coupons in his debut at Saratoga. I love Eoin Harty’s training and this is an intriguing kind of horse to say the least. Could be a great horse next year when the juvenile stars fade out, but I’m not feeling him now. 

8) Invocation - David Cohen, John Kimmel - Nice dirt pedigree (Pulpit out of a Quiet American mare), but remains winless in two starts at Saratoga. He was well behind the sensational Alpha in a maiden special weight over 7 furlongs and came in third in his debut over 6 furlongs. I see him on the improving path at best; he adds blinkers to this race.

9) Laurie’s Rocket - Cornelio Velasquez, Dallas Stewart - A Bluegrass Cat colt, he struggled like the others in the Saratoga Special mud but managed a good fourth to stay strong. Broke his maiden his second try over 5 1/2 furlongs at Saratoga with a second place in his debut. Biggest longshot of the field, I don’t see him grabbing the added distance.

Obsessively providing a comprehensive and personal glance at the sport of kings through original photography, handicapping analysis, editorials, and much more.

Tracks visited: Calder, Saratoga, Belmont, Suffolk, Aqueduct.

Popular Tags:


Handicapping Info


Answered Asks