08/20/2007 11:00PM

Three special 2-year-olds unveiled


LAS VEGAS - Two-year-olds snared the spotlight last weekend at Saratoga and Del Mar with some impressive maiden victories.

The cleverly named Grace Anatomy won a maiden race at Del Mar, while Prussian and Sabooh, winners at Saratoga, could be major players by year's end.

Grace Anatomy, from the first crop of champion sprinter-miler Aldebaran, was third in her career debut on July 21 at 5 1/2 furlongs behind More Happy, who came back to win the Adirondack Stakes for trainer Bob Baffert. On Sunday, Grace Anatomy won a six-furlong maiden race by two lengths after rallying from seventh in the field of 10 fillies.

When I compiled the list of 2-year-olds for the Del Mar Players Guide, I noted that Grace Anatomy was trainer Doug O'Neill's best-bred filly. In addition to being by Aldebaran, who has gotten off to a fast start as a young stallion, Grace Anatomy gets her racing class from her Darby Dan female family.

Her dam, Propriety (by Storm Cat), was a winner at 3, but Grace Anatomy's quality is revealed through her extended female line. Her second dam, Plenty of Grace (Roberto), won the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon Invitational Handicap and Grade 2 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, Diana, and New York handicaps on turf. Her third dam, Wings of Grace (Key to the Mint), won the Grade 3 Boiling Springs Handicap. In addition to Plenty of Grace, Wings of Grace also produced champion Soaring Softly (Kris S.), winner of the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf. Grace Anatomy's fourth dam, Far Beyond (Nijinsky II), was not a major winner, but like so many well-bred fillies who did not achieve great success on the track, she was a prized broodmare. In addition to Wings of Grace, she produced Battle Creek Girl (His Majesty), a stakes-placed filly who became a stakes-producing machine who established her own highly successful branch of this female family.

From 20 foals, Battle Creek Girl produced 15 winners. Six were stakes winners and two others were stakes-placed. Her stakes winners included Canadian champion Wavering Girl (Wavering Monarch), Tricky Creek (Clever Trick), Parade Ground (Kingmambo), Parade Leader (Kingmambo), Speed Dialer (Phone Trick), and Everhope (Danzig).

Grace Anatomy's fifth dam, Soaring (Swaps), is also the dam of Miss Swapsco, a foal of 1965 that still appears in pedigrees today. Winner of the Ashland Stakes, Miss Swapsco is the dam of Ballade (Herbager), who is one of the most important producers of the last century.

Ballade produced champions Devil's Bag and Glorious Song (dam of champion Singspiel and multiple stakes winner Rahy), as well as stakes winner and very successful sire Saint Ballado. Another full sister, Angelic Song, is the dam of stakes winner Sligo Bay.

Sabooh related to Rags to Riches

The same day that Grace Anatomy won at Del Mar, Sabooh won a maiden race at Saratoga, possibly adding a new entry to the remarkable female family of Best in Show. Among her descendants are Rags to Riches, this year's outstanding 3-year-old filly, and Europe's best 3-year-old filly Peeping Fawn.

Sabooh had an inauspicious debut, finishing sixth, beaten 9 3/4 lengths in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race at Belmont on July 19. But a line could easily be drawn through that non-effort, and the $500,000 yearling has a pedigree to drool over.

By A.P. Indy, she is out of the Danzig mare Smolensk, who was a Group 3 winner and is a half-sister to Demoiselle Stakes winner Better Than Honour (Deputy Minister). Better Than Honour is the dam of the past two winners of the Belmont Stakes - Rags to Riches and Jazil. Smolensk is also a half-sister to Maryinsky (Sadler's Wells), the dam of Peeping Fawn, winner of three Group 1 races this year - the Nassau, Pretty Polly, and Irish Oaks.

Prussian from Danzig's final crop

Prussian, making his career debut for trainer Bill Mott last Friday at Saratoga, won a 1 1/16-mile maiden race on turf by 6 3/4 lengths. He is from the last crop (24 foals) of the late Danzig, one of the most prolific stallions over the last 25 years, who died in 2006.

Prussian is out of a mare by Alleged, two-time winner of the Prix l'Arc de Triomphe, and the Danzig-Alleged cross is all turf. In addition, Prussian's dam, Crystal Downs, was second in the 1998 Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac and is a half-sister to Mubtaker (Silver Hawk), a multiple stakes winner who was second in the 2003 Prix l'Arc de Triomphe behind Dalakhani, finishing ahead of High Chaparral.

Prussian is the type of 2-year-old that should benefit from one of the new Breeders' Cup races this year, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, which is for 2-year-olds on the grass. This is a race that was sorely missing from the Breeders' Cup lineup for years. Past 2-year-olds such as Artie Schiller and Marcavelly, who showed high promise on the turf at 2, had no BC event to showcase their specific talent.

The majority of Danzig's final crop were bought by foreign investors and were sent to Europe and Dubai, making Prussian one of the few Danzigs that will race in the U.S.