08/06/2012 11:09AM

Talking 2-Year-Olds


Although Fort Larned, the great Allen Jerkens, and Include Me Out all deserve the spotlight for their weekend exploits – Fort Larned was clearly the best in the Whitney, Jerkens continued his Onion-like work with Emma’s Encore, getting her to win he Prioress, and Include Me Out added to what is becoming an imposing resume winning the Clement L. Hirsch – I want to talk 2-year-olds.

Up to this point, in both New York and California, the 2-year-old fillies have been more impressive than their male counterparts. Executiveprivilege (by First Samurai), winner of her first two starts in runaway fashion, including the Landaluce Stakes most recently, has been labeled the best 2-year-old of either sex seen so far out west. Yet, a surprisingly large group of eight entered against her in Wednesday’s Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar.

At Saratoga, Kauai Katie (by Malibu Moon) and Teen Pauline (by Tapit) were sensational in every sense of the word winning their debuts. Kauai Katie, considered a possible for Sunday’s Adirondack at Saratoga, earned a Beyer of 100 (through Sunday, no juvenile of either sex anywhere has done better) for her 12 length romp after a stumbling start, while Teen Pauline earned a heady 92 Beyer for her decisive score. These two were so brilliant that hardly anyone is talking about So Many Ways(by Sightseeing), who made it 2 for 2 winning the Schuylerville opening day at the Spa.

But the 2-year-old males started to get a little more interesting over the weekend. It started on Friday when Jocosity ran a hole in the wind at Saratoga, continued into Saturday when Fortify and Palace Malice recorded impressive Saratoga maiden victories, and extended into Sunday when Know More won the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar as a first time starter.

Jocosity, second on Woodbine’s Polytrack in his first two career starts, including the Clarendon Stakes, was making his first start on dirt Friday. After being prompted into fast early fractions (21.79, 44.93), Jocosity ran out of the picture, scoring by 7 1-2 lengths in 1:02.85 for 5 1-2 furlongs, and earning a Beyer of 95. I don’t know how far Jocosity will want to go (he’s by Sharp Humor, out of a Stormy Atlantic mare), but he has a bright future as a sprinter, at least.

Fortify, a Darley homebred (soon, I’m sure, to be flying the Godolphin silks) by Distorted Humor, from an A.P. Indy mare, also showed high speed in his successful debut Saturday. After rearing up in the gate, he broke running to prompt a quarter in 21.73 and lead after half in 44.43 (yes, Saratoga’s main track was really fast before Sunday’s rains), and then drew off to win by 5 1-2 lengths in 1:16.34 for 6 1-2 furlongs. Because the track was so fast, Fortify’s winning Beyer was only 79, but his performance felt a lot stronger than that.

Four races later, Palace Malice (by Curlin, out of a Royal Anthem mare) drew off to a 3 1-2 length victory in the second division of this split juvenile maiden. And while he went his 6 1-2 furlongs in 1:16.48, slower than Fortify, he was given a Beyer of 83. I guess the Beyer folks thought the main track must have slowed down with three turf races in between these split divisions.

In any event, Palace Malice’s win was also noteworthy because it boosted the stock of Carried Interest (by Henny Hughes), who narrowly defeated Palace Malice when both made their debuts last month at Belmont in a maiden race I thought was stronger than any 2-year-old male race of any sort run so far. Carried Interest, by the way, goes in Sunday’s Saratoga Special, and is to meet Shanghai Bobby (by Harlan’s Holiday), who last time out at Belmont gamely survived a hot pace to win the overnight Track Barron Stakes to now be 2 for 2.

Finally, there might be a tendency to downgrade Know More’s Best Pal win because he did not beat a strong field, two who finished immediately behind him were fillies, and his winning Beyer after covering 6 1-2 furlongs on Polytrack in 1:16.14 was 82, which is just so-so for a Grade 2 stakes. But I don’t think that would be fair. Know More (by Lion Heart, from a Seattle Slew mare, and no, I’m not usually so hung up on pedigrees, but I thought since we were talking 2-year-olds people might have a greater interest in knowing). Unlike a horse making his debut against horses who have raced, but are still maidens, Know More made his debut against winners, and that is a distinction that should not be underestimated. Moreover, it certainly seemed as though Know More was gawking at the grandstand down the stretch, so it will be interesting to see what he does when he isn’t so green.

UPDATE, Monday, 1:16, pm - I would be remiss not to mention Dreaming of Julia, who absolutely wowed winning her debut in Monday's opener at Saratoga by almost 11 lengths, going 6 1-2 furlongs in 1:16.48. The daughter of A.P. Indy is, like Kauai Kate and Teen Pauline, owned by Stonestreet Stables, and while it's difficult to really tell at this point, it wouldn't surprise me if Dreaming of Julia was the best of the three.

Keith More than 1 year ago
Only 1 reason for Palace Malice to have received a BSF 4 points higher than Fortify, 83 to 79, the scorers were more impressed by the connections of Palice Malice, rather than concentrating on the horses and their respective races. run on the same track just two hours apart with no intervening weather conditions to change the surface, at equal distance and in equal class races. won in similar manner, the horse with the faster internals, faster come home time, and faster finish time in two races on the same tract should have received the higher Beyer. Just goes to show you just how subjective the Beyer system is, and not to be trusted as a handicapping tool. Keith L..
Kim Noble More than 1 year ago
What about Winding Way?
John More than 1 year ago
Handicappers are drooling all over about Executiveprivilege. I don't see much seperation, and neither do the trainers of the 8 entered against her today at Delmar. Switch to the lead and the Miller horses will give her all she can,t handle. Ruffian has not arrived
mikey More than 1 year ago
Give PLETCHER time and see how many make it to be 3 year old's and still racing.What percent of these expensive babie's will be around by may next year.With the way they drop off the radar he could hit clean up for the METS
Jerry Sabo More than 1 year ago
No doubt, the man has over a 100 2yo's most years and where do they end up, broke down. What happened to all the big name 3yo's from the start of this year? He wins a lot of races but at what cost.
richard montgomery More than 1 year ago
Fortify ran an 83 Beyer or better.
25 More than 1 year ago
What about the Indiana Bred Seal Beach? (August 2 race 3 at Hoosier Park) Broke last made a huge sweeping move got checked a few times in mid stretch and finished up well..IMPRESSIVE for a 2 year old firster
peter k More than 1 year ago
Given the Palace Malice - Fortify beyer discrepancy , am wondering if you know what Summer Front got for his win at Saratoga on july 22 ? The reason I ask is that on that day Summer Front , at a mile on the inner turf in the second race , ran 134.90. Later in the card at the same course and distance ,Temper in Command , a 3yo nysb filly won her first race in 134.86 for a 78 . The pace of the two races was decidely different but am wondering the number for SF was Thank you peter k
Michael Watchmaker More than 1 year ago
Summer Front received an 86 for that win.
HorseRacingNJ More than 1 year ago
Fortify ran faster, was more visually impressive, and did it on the same day. No noticeable weather event between races 3 and 7 too. Unless Andy Beyer personally came down and ran a mile barefoot on the track prior to each race, I don't see how they can make that kind of judgment about the condition of the surface. I'd be interested to see whether other makers of speed figures (Equibase, BRIS, etc) feel the same way.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Fortify seems to me the best 2 yr old colt right now. He seemed to play with that field. The beyer numbers a very strange considering everything you mentioned. However, When Belmont opens I believe next years derby winner may be revealed by Mr. Mott.. maybe later at the spa's route races for juveniles. Sprints at Saratoga aren't wowing anyone. And Tonny Dutrow's filly is very impresssive.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Ya know, I can't think of one Trainer who likes people spouting off about his stock, or his intentions...
Yuwipi More than 1 year ago
Always good to get excited about 2 yr olds when Spa time rolls around Mike. Think Pletcher has enough good 2 yr olds??? This will probably happen as soon as I'm done typing, but I haven't seen any of those NW1 baby races the restricted field size was supposed to engender. Everybody seems to be going right from MSP to Stakes, as usual. We shall see. I am extremely skeptical but hope I'm dead wrong. Hail the Chief!!! Really special to see him get the Prioress.