12/18/2009 12:01PM

Churchill's best 2-year-olds


My blogging can be as frequent as my “tweets” or posts on my Facebook page. Which is to say, the schedule of my blog posts can be somewhat erratic – or in the case of tweets or Facebook, nonexistent.

Having said that, while getting into the Christmas blogging spirit I recently reviewed some of the best performances at the Churchill Downs meeting by male 2-year-olds on dirt, horses who could possibly surface in Triple Crown preps.

We’ll start with the obvious one:


Owner- WinStar Farm

Trainer- Todd Pletcher

Maria’s Mon-Supercharger by A.P. Indy

Record: 4-2-1-0

Nov 28 CD--- Kentucky Jockey Club---1 1/16--- 1st by 5----pacefigs 85-89-89 final 90

Oct 10 Bel--- Champagne-----------------1 mile---4th by 2----pacefigs 82-83-89 final 87

Sept 11 Bel—Maiden----------------------1 mile----1st by 7----pacefigs 86-89-87 final 87

Super Saver looked good winning the Kentucky Jockey Club with his usual frontrunning style, getting a Beyer Speed Figure of 93. Under little encouragement from Calvin Borel, his natural speed took him to a daylight lead he maintained for six furlongs while going easily. Borel appeared to give him a bit of a second-turn breather, and he willingly allowed Activity Report and Worldly to pull alongside at the 5/16ths. Super Saver was then shaken up straightening for home, and quickly opened up under typically strong encouragement from Borel.

The field Super Saver whipped was decent, considering runnerup William’s Kitten had just returned from the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, where he lost by 4 ¾ lengths while finishing eighth.

This can’t be done routinely simply because of the time involved, but I compared Super Saver’s line with the average pacefig line of the last 10 runnings of the Kentucky Jockey Club. His line you can see above – 85-89-89-90. The 10-year average is 83-89-90-90. Pretty normal, except that decade included winners Dollar Bill, Repent, Soto, The Cliff’s Edge, Greater Good, Anak Nakal and Beethoven, stretch runners an average of more than five lengths back at the first two calls. Only two other winners of the race during that span – Private Vow (2005) and Tiz Wonderful (2006) – were on or near the pace, and Super Saver ran nearly two lengths faster than both at the first call. Private Vow’s paceline was 79-83-90-91 and Tiz Wonderful’s was 79-86-90-93.

Thus Super Saver would appear to be as relevant as those other Kentucky Jockey Club winners, perhaps even slightly more so, although – and this is a big “although” – we don’t know yet whether he’s a one-dimensional frontrunner.

Pedigree-wise, Super Saver is super solid. Maria’s Mon has already sired a Kentucky Derby winner in Monarchos. Supercharger once was a part of the Phipps breeding empire, and was purchased at auction carrying Super Saver in utero. Super Saver is Supercharger’s third foal and first stakes winner, but Supercharger is a full-sister to three graded winners: Godolphin’s brilliant Jerome winner Girolamo; Daydreaming, who competed in six Grade 1 stakes races and placed in two of them; and Accelerator, second in Captain Bodgit’s Wood Memorial and third in Wild Rush’s Metropolitan. Beneath those horses on the pedigree page are the expected assortment of Phipps stakes stars.

Four or five more Churchill Downs 2-year-old are to come. Presumably before the Derby. Just kidding.