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Juveniles begin to show their class
LAS VEGAS - Here is a look at some of the more impressive 2-year-olds who started recently.
By virtue of his authoritative victory over Ready's Dream and Maimonides in the Hopeful Stakes, Majestic Warrior catapulted into position of the pro-tem leader of the juvenile colt division. Like last year when Circular Quay came from the clouds like a locomotive, Majestic Warrior inhaled Ready's Image in deep stretch and won going away. This is the time of year when the 2-year-olds begin to separate themselves because of the increase in distances.
Majestic Warrior is by leading sire A.P. Indy and is out of Dream Supreme (by Seeking the Gold). Dream Supreme won the Test Stakes and Ballerina and Gallant Bloom handicaps at 3, and the Distaff BC Stakes, Humana Distaff, and Princess Rooney handicaps at 4. Majestic Warrior is a full brother to stakes winner Crystal Current, and his second dam, Spinning Round (Dixieland Band), also won the Ballerina Handicap and other graded stakes.
There is no doubt that with his pedigree and running style, Majestic Warrior should only get better with distance and maturity, and he clearly should relish the 1 1/16 miles of the BC Juvenile.
The much-hyped Maimonides, a $4.6 million sales purchase who is a half-brother to graded stakes winners El Corredor and Roman Ruler, was, like Majestic Warrior, making just the second start of his career. He posted the most impressive maiden victory this year at Saratoga, romping home by 11-plus lengths. Blessed with dazzling speed like his siblings, he is from the first crop of 2-year-old champion Vindication. With more experience, Maimonides should be able to at least get 1 1/16 miles, the distance of the BC Juvenile.
As for Ready's Image, he is strikingly similar to his sire, More Than Ready (Southern Halo), who won four sprint stakes as a 2-year-old - the Sanford, Tremont, WHAS-11, and Tremont - and also was third in the Futurity. As expected, More Than Ready is a speed influence whose runners can sometimes win beyond one mile, and he has become a rock-solid sire of grass runners.
In the Spinaway Stakes, Irish Smoke went from maiden winner to Grade 1 winner in just two starts, like Majestic Warrior. She stamped herself as the leader of the juvenile filly division with a strong performance in the Spinaway, rallying in the stretch to draw away from eight other fillies.
Irish Smoke is by champion sprinter Smoke Glacken, who also showed his brilliance at 2, winning the Hopeful, Sapling, and Tyro stakes. His offspring have often won at 1 1/16 miles, and while they are not bred for the classics at age 3, Irish Smoke should have no problem with the BC Juvenile Fillies distance, especially with her running style. Irish Smoke is out of a mare by Gilded Time, an undefeated 2-year-old champion also known for imparting speed to his offspring. Irish Smoke's dam, Added Time, is out of Forward Gal stakes winner Added Elegance, who also produced Black-Eyed Susan Stakes winner Added Gold, a full sister to Added Time. Added Elegance also is the dam of stakes winners Added Asset (Lord at War).
A to the Croft, a filly by Menifee who is a serious threat to improve in the BC Juvenile, closed well to finish second in the Spinaway, as she did in the Adirondack Stakes.
Yonagucci, bred for speed top and bottom (Yonaguska out of a Pentelicus mare), surprised to get third at 54-1 but was 6 1/2 lengths behind the winner.
The disappointments in the Spinaway were Adirondack winner More Happy and Phantom Income. More Happy once again displayed high speed, but the Vindication filly had nothing left in the final furlong, finishing fifth.
Phantom Income won her maiden debut by daylight but was declared a non-starter in the Adirondack when she got tangled up in the gate and fell hopelessly far behind the field. By speed influence Montbrook, Phantom Income is out of a half-sister to Horse of the Year Ghsotzapper and City Zip (winner of the Hopeful, Saratoga Special, Sanford, and Tremont stakes).
On Labor Day, Big Brown, a 2-year-old colt by Boundary out of the Nureyev mare Mien, put himself on a path to the BC Juvenile Turf by scoring an impressive maiden victory in his career debut.
On Friday, Nownownow stamped his ticket to the BC Juvenile Turf with a victory in the With Anticipation Stakes. Out of the first-crop sire Whywhywhy (Mr. Greeley), Nownownow is perfectly suited for grass.
Namaste's Wish, who ran poorly in two dirt races, woke up on the turf to win a maiden race for trainer Bill Mott. By hidden turf sire Pulpit, Namaste's Wish is a full sister to stakes winner Purge.
Prussian, a 2-year-old colt from the last crop of Danzig, won his career debut by a pole on turf at Saratoga for Mott, looking like a future turf star.
Looking like she will enjoy the added distance of the BC Juvenile Fillies, Set Play rallied to win the Del Mar Debutante Stakes over Spring Awakening and Izarra. Set Play is from the first crop of Van Nistelrooy (Storm Cat), who has 12 winners from 44 starters. His offspring are winning major stakes around the globe on turf and dirt.
Set Play is out of the Bold Ruckus mare Boldy's Reflection, and her second dam is a half-sister to the multiple stakes winner With a Twist.
Spring Awakening has a pedigree top-heavy with speed influences, but she is bolstered by a prolific female family of stakes producers. By In Excess, she is out of a Carson City mare, but her second dam, Catnip, is a half-sister to Editor's Note and Hold That Tiger.
Keep an eye on third-place finisher Izarra, who was making just her second start in the Debutante. She made a sustained rally, weaving between fillies after running next-to-last early. By the increasingly successful Distorted Humor (sire of Any Given Saturday), she is out of a Broad Brush mare and her second dam is champion Bayakoa. Izarra should be at her best at 1 1/16 miles with plenty of pace in the BC Juvenile Fillies.
Wicked Style won the Arlington-Washington Futurity by a head over Riley Tucker with Sebastian County two lengths farther back in third. From the first crop of 2-year-old champion Macho Uno, Wicked Style is out of a Trempolino mare and should enjoy stretching out in distance. Exquisitely bred for turf top and bottom, he relished the Polytrack surface to outlast Riley Tucker, who hit the gate at the start. Riley Tucker, a stablemate of Hopeful winner Majestic Warrior, just missed giving Mott two major juvenile stakes on the weekend.
Riley Tucker is from the first crop of Harlan's Holiday and his dam is a half-sister to multiple stakes winner Hey Hazel. Riley Tucker has the Rasmussen Factor as he is inbred 5x4 to Alanesian, the dam of Princessnesian (Princequillo) and Boldnesian (Bold Ruler).
Sebastian County, a full brother to freshman sire Cactus Ridge, rallied to finish third and has plenty of upside as well.
Lantana Mob, who won the Tyro Stakes earlier in the meet, looked good rallying in the stretch to win the Sapling Stakes. From the leading freshman sire Posse (Silver Deputy) and out of a mare by Copelan, he is not a candidate for the Kentucky Derby but he could perform well at one mile.
The Sorority Stakes, for 2-year-old fillies, was won by A Little Gem, who is by speed sire Yonaguska. Finishing second was Bold Child, who is from the first crop of the A. P. Indy stallion Flatter and out of a Housebuster mare.
Old Man Buck, from first-crop sire Hold That Tiger, won the Cradle Stakes, run for the first time on turf in order to serve as a prep for the new BC race.
Kadira and Dreabons Legacy, fillies from the first crops of Kafwain and Proud Citizen, put on a ding-dong battle to finish one-two in the Bassinet Stakes.
Saoirse Abu, who previously won the Groupo1 Phoenix Stakes, added another Groupo1 by winning the Moyglare Stakes on Sunday at the Curragh. The Mr. Greeley filly would be a huge threat if she ships to Monmouth for the inaugural running of the BC Juvenile Turf.
Norman Invader, a son of BC Mile winner War Chant, won the Group 3 Round Tower Stakes and is out of the Group 2 Seeking the Gold mare Enthused. His second dam is Coronation Stakes winner Magic of Life, and this female family produced champion Miss Oceana.