03/10/2008 12:00AM

Johannesburg runner rallies to win turf stakes


Santa Anita

Ten Meropa, a 3-year-old colt by Johannesburg, rallied from eighth and last to score a stunning victory in the Baldwin Stakes on March 2. While Johannesburg does get quality winners on dirt, such as Teuflesberg, his offspring are dramatically more effective on grass. Ten Meropa is out of a mare by Danehill, the late son of Danzig who was the Northern Dancer of Australia. In addition, his fourth dam, Foolish One, is a half-sister to Bold Ruler.

Bay Meadows

Tail Spin Topper won a six-furlong optional claiming race on Feb. 29 and the 3-year-old filly has a strong SP2 pedigree, getting brilliance (speed) from both her sire, Old Topper (Gilded Time), and her damsire, Jolie's Halo. In addition, her dam, Senority, is an RF (Rasmussen Factor), as she is inbred 5x4 to Somethingroyal, through her best two sons, Secretariat and Sir Gaylord - the same pedigree pattern as Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Charismatic.

* Cactus Ridge (Hennessy) only raced at age 2 and was undefeated in four starts, including victories in the Arlington-Washington Futurity, James C. Ellis Juvenile, and Canterbury Park Juvenile stakes. His first crop of foals showed well last year at 2 and they continue to win as young 3-year-olds. On March 1, Desert Cowboy won a 1 1/16-mile maiden race by 3 1/2 lengths at 12-1. Out of the Relaunch mare Quarry Hill, Desert Cowboy should be able to stretch his speed to 1 1/8 miles, but the 3-year-old is a big question at anything beyond that middle distance. With Cactus Ridge and Relaunch, Desert Cowboy should relish wet tracks, and should also be competitive on grass.

Fair Grounds

Tensas Why Gin wired five other colts in a one mile and 40-yard allowance on Feb. 28. From the first crop of Futurity Stakes winner Whywhywhy (Mr. Greeley), Tensas Why Gin won by 13 3/4 lengths as the 4-5 favorite. Whywhywhy is also the sire of Nownownow, the winner of the inaugural Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. Tensas Why Gin is out of the Go for Gin mare Tensas Gin, and is from the immediate female family that produced stakes winners Watch Your Pennies, How Bout Now, and Leelanau.

* Macho Again, a 3-year-old colt from the first crop of juvenile champion Macho Uno, rebounded from a sixth-place finish in his 3-year-old debut to win a six-furlong allowance by 4 1/2 lengths on Feb. 28. Macho Again is out of the Wild Again mare Go Donna Go, a half-sister to stakes winner Kiwi Mint. His second dam is stakes winner Proud Nova.


Contentious, who started her career in Europe, won a 1 1/16-mile grass allowance on Feb. 27 for owner-breeder Ogden M. "Dinny" Phipps at 7-2. A 4-year-old filly by Giant's Causeway, she is out of the unraced Mr. Prospector mare Illicit, a daughter of champion Inside Information. Illicit also has an unraced 3-year-old filly by Forestry named Legality and an unraced 2-year-old colt named Gone Astray.

* It's not often that you see a Todd Pletcher-trained first-time starter ridden by stable rider John Velasquez go off at nearly 9-1, but on Feb. 29, Fujita, a 3-year-old colt by Lion Hearted (Storm Cat-Cadillacing, by Alydar) out of the Opening Verse mare Merriweather, won a six-furlong maiden race, paying $19.40. Fujita hails from the same female family as stakes winner Rose's Cantina and Montreal Red.

* Barreling Home, a 3-year-old colt by Awesome Again, won a seven-furlong maiden race by 5 1/4 lengths on March 1. A half-brother to stakes-winning sprinter Super Fuse, he is out of the D'Accord mare Season's Flair, who is bred along the same cross as multiple stakes winner Warfie.

* It would be a first if Hey Byrn, a son of stakes-winning sprinter and speed influence Put It Back (sire of Smokey Stover), wins at 1 1/4 miles. But the 3-year-old colt was sensational winning at 1 1/8 miles by six lengths in an allowance on March 2 and there's no telling if he'll be just as brilliant going further. Could he be another War Emblem or Smarty Jones, whose sires Our Emblem and Elusive Quality, never sired a horse of quality who won at 1 1/4 miles again? There is nothing in Hey Byrn's female family to suggest high quality, but racing is famous for such aberrations, including John Henry, Carry Back, and War Emblem.


Broad Impact made quite an impression in his career debut on Feb. 29. A 3-year-old colt by the underrated Include, Broad Impact won a seven-furlong maiden race by 2 1/2 lengths and there is much more to his pedigree than it may initially suggest. Broad Impact is out of the Major Impact mare Mattie Kate, who happens to be a half-sister to Baby Zip, the dam of Horse of the Year Ghostzapper and stakes-winning sprinter and sire City Zip.