Catching My Eye: Saratoga, Ellis, and Monmouth

Profile Picture: Kevin Kilroy

August 23rd, 2022

Peaceful Waters ran impressively in three maidens over the winter at Fair Grounds on the biggest days against the best company. His win came when stretching out to two turns for the first time. That effort and the ensuing runs at two turns, including facing Cyberknife on Risen Star day, did not show he was stepping forward.

Al Stall Jr. gave him a break, brought him back sprinting, and the Dialed In colt progressed but went a touch too long and likely needed one first back, then got caught in fast fractions and tired second outing. Saturday at Saratoga, fit as a fiddle, Peaceful Waters came into his own. Luis Saez held back nothing out of the gate and never looked back, putting distance between him and the 3-2 Favorite Outlaw, who was left chasing until the margin grew to double digits.

Earning a 104 Brisnet Speed figure, this fella has a lot of promise, and with the pedigree, I wouldn't be surprised to see him successful sprinting on the turf as well.

Note that Al Stall Jr.’s barn is as hot as they come. His record over the last eight races is four wins, one second, two thirds, and a fourth.

The four-year-old filly Bustin Bay went two turns at Saratoga on Thursday — well, one-and-a-half turns out of the Wilson Chute — for the first time and loved every minute of it. She won convincingly, ran well in the turn, extended through the one-mile wire and earned herself a shot at a true route of ground.

Her last effort came against Remain Anonymous, who has been unstoppable since exiting Wayne Catalano’s barn, winning one with Brad Cox and then beating Chub Wagon at Parx for Robert Falcone Jr. on Monday.

Bustin Bay had a tough trip that day, her first start since being claimed by Antonio Arriaga, who is now 3-for-5 at Saratoga. Liking what he saw in that race, however, he stepped her up in class, and she won the optional claimer going four wide throughout as the bettor’s third choice with Irad Ortiz Jr. taking the reins for the first time.

Bustin Bay is definitely one to keep tabs on, exiting a key race prior to this, showing she can go long, and settling in nicely to a smaller barn who is excelling against Saratoga’s big dogs.

A three-year-old first-time starter at Ellis Park won impressively on Friday. Respectful, the Rodolphe Brisset filly by Frosted, overcame trouble and beat a classy field of more seasoned runners. Amaryllis Kiss, who is out of One True Kiss, a half sister to Shancelot, took a lot of backing for her third start from Steve Asmussen's barn. As did Mitole and Hot Rod Charlie’s half-sister, Indigo Miss, who made her third start for Paulo Lobo.

But even after a slow start losing two lengths in the first strides, Respectful won on debut. She was able to save ground and looked to take over against those two in the turn, passing them on the inside, but they both fought back and headed her. She dug in, building enough of a lead to hold Amaryllis Kiss’ late charge. The half to Independence Hall earned a 90 Brisnet speed figure.

At Monmouth Park on Saturday, a salty, formful field stepped up to bat in the $250,000 Grade 3 Philip H. Iselin Stakes, but it was the seemingly out-of-form longshot Informative who came out on top. The race took a strange shape as five of the six in the field ended up in a dueling stack throughout most of the backstretch. They burned each other out, and the only two left coming home were Informative and the even-money favorite Highly Motivated.

Even after racing five-wide throughout, Informative still had enough to put that foe away and win convincingly. The five-year-old horse trained by Uriah St. Lewis has frequently been slotted ambitiously against the top dirt routers and has come up short, but he won the 2021 Salvator Mile.

His Monmouth Park record might tell the tale (3 2-0-1), including his two top speed figures (100 Brisnet) and two graded stakes wins. Keep tabs on this likely horse for the course.