01/01/2010 11:14AM

Churchill juveniles, part 2


 A couple more 2-year-olds from my review of the Churchill Downs meet - one you won't hear from this spring and one you might.

  Coming up next week, a pacefig analysis of Lookin at Lucky.


Owner- Cathy & Bob Zollars, Mark Wagner

Trainer- Steve Asmussen

Sky Mesa-Lovely Regina (A.P. Indy)

Record 6-3-0-1

                                                                                  Pacefig line

Nov 28 CD---Ky Jockey Club---------1 1/16-- 6th by 11----- 62-77-85 final 82

Nov 1 CD---Iroquois Stakes-----------1M-------1st by 1--------67-81-85 final 87

Sept 19 Bel---Futurity Stakes---------7F--------3rd by 12--- --77-87-87 final 80

Aug 20 Sar---Saratoga Special-------6 1/2F---8th by 25--- --92-92      final 67

July 4 CD---Maiden----------------------6F-------1st by 7----------85-82      final 83

June 11 CD--Maiden--------------------5F-------2nd by 2 3/4----88-87      final 83

    Thiskyhasnolimit’s took the Iroquois at Churchill Downs, where the winning strategy appeared to be a change in running style.  But unfortunately, his dull Kentucky Jockey Club performance came with an excuse.

     "He came out of that race with a bone chip," trainer Steve Asmussen said. "So he'll be on the sidelines for a while."

     Thus, Thiskyhasnolimit won't be a Kentucky Derby contender, but he’ll be an interesting colt to watch when he eventually returns to the races. Prior to the Iroquois, he was asked to stay within close range of speedy D’Funnybone, which didn’t yield desired results, especially when he broke slowly in the Saratoga Special and was rushed into a fast pace.  But when he was allowed to settle in the Iroquois, he advanced with a four-wide turn move before proving strongest in the lane at 13-1 odds for an 85 Beyer Speed Figure. The Iroquois form was flattered when runnerup Uh Oh Bango was subsequently second in the Delta Jackpot with a 93 Beyer. In the Kentucky Jockey Club, he carried his head in the early running as if he was a bit uncomfortable, which proved out in the postrace diagnosis. 

    Thiskyhasnolimit’s dam, Lovely Regina, is a half-sister to Bernardini, the Preakness, Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup winner.

    Pacefigs aren’t of much use in handicapping him, other than to illustrate how much differently he was ridden in his last two starts.


Owner- Charles Cella

Trainer- Lynn Whiting

Jump Start-Creeksider (Topsider)

                                                                                      Pacefig line

Nov 1 CD---Allowance----------------7F--------1st by 1 1/2---------90-90-91 final 89

Oct 5  Del---Allowance---------------6F---------7th by 8 3/4--------90-88     final 78

Sept 1 Pha---Maiden-----------------5F---------1st by 6 1/2---------82-82      final 81

   Trainer Lynn Whiting found numerous diamonds in the rough for the late Cal Partee, such as 1992 Kentucky Derby winner Lil E. Tee, and he bought this gelding privately in Ocala on behalf of another prominent Arkansas name - Oaklawn Park owner Charles Cella. That Hot Springs connection plus Whiting’s trademark patience helps explain why Dryfly was not asked to tackle more seasoned distance horses in the Kentucky Jockey Club and is instead being prepared for a potential stakes debut in Oaklawn’s Jan. 18 Smarty Jones Stakes.

    “Hopefully we’ll get him there all right,” Whiting said. “He stayed at Churchill Downs through December. The plan was to give him a break so that hopefully we’d kind of freshen him up bit and get a little weight on him to make a run at this Oaklawn series.

    “He’s done everything right for me. He hasn’t missed too much that I would have otherwise wanted to see happen. He’s trained well and the weather was kind to us (in Kentucky).  The weather pattern (in Arkansas) doesn’t look real good, though. We’re getting a little weather coming in, so we may have to deal with some freezes, but the horse has done everything to satisfy me at this point.”

      Dryfly toyed with a maiden field in his debut at Philadelphia Park in September, then the next month showed nothing at Delaware Park after being bounced around leaving the gate.  Part of that trouble seemed to be of his own making: he’s been a step slow from the gate in his last two starts.

     “He just wasn’t himself at all that day,” Whiting said. “I don’t know what was going on with him. But he came back and trained good, and at Churchill I fully expected he would rectify his previous race.”

     And Dryfly did just that in his Nov. 1 Churchill Downs first-level allowance under Calvin Borel.  He rushed up after his somewhat sluggish break, then relaxed nicely on a clear lead. Great Attack moved alongside to put a head in front of Dryfly nearing the quarter pole, but Dryfly battled back on the rail to edge clear in the last furlong. The pacefig line was solid; Churchill’s average allowance for 2-year-olds at the 7 furlong distance goes in 83-86-87 final 87, so Dryfly was solidly faster than par across the board. Also, Great Attack returned four weeks later to win a Churchill maiden by three lengths in a 90 Beyer.

     Dryfly was gelded last year because of an undescended testicle. Injuries aborted the racing career of his sire Jump Start after age 2, but he is a son of A.P. Indy from a solid Overbrook family. Dam Creeksider retired a maiden after seven undistinguished starts.

     “He’s a quick horse, but he relaxes well,” Whiting said of Dryfly. “He’s a horse who in his training in the mornings, he’ll go off with a little authority and then prick his ears and glide along, and when you punch the button he’s there.

    “I think he’ll run on.  Whether he’s a mile-and-a-quarter horse or not remains to be seen. But I think he’s got every chance to get a mile-and-a-sixteenth or a mile-and-an-eighth.”