Saturday's notable 2-year-old maidens: 2nd at Saratoga
Saratoga's 2ND race, 6 furlongs (1:35 p.m. EDT)
Conquest Nitro was a fast-finishing second in his Woodbine debut to Riker, subsequently the winner of the Colin. The Mark Casse trainee is by High Cotton, sire of such noted Spa juveniles as Currency Swap and Spurious Precision. His female line churns out a steady stream of black-type performers, although you have to look a bit deeper to find one as interesting as champion Honest Pleasure.
Abbot closed well when runner-up to Paynes Prairie (a Sanford [G3] scratch) first time out at Belmont. Trained by Christophe Clement, the Stone Farm homebred is by Langfuhr and out of a Saint Liam half-sister to Grade 2-winning juvenile Dixie City. This is the family of champion two-year-old colt Dehere.
Todd Pletcher's Ready Dancer tired to third, overtaken by Abbot in that mutual debut. A $325,000 Keeneland September yearling, the aptly named son of More Than Ready may ultimately prefer turf, like his multiple stakes-winning dam, Sweettrickydancer. Her best offspring is synthetic/turf performer Middie, winner of the 2012 Washington Park (G3) in track-record time on Arlington's Polytrack. Note that Ready Dancer recently worked a bullet half on the Oklahoma training turf, so connections may be plotting a surface switch sooner rather than later.
Sawyers Mickey, whose $280,000 purchase price at OBS April dwarfed his yearling price of $87,000, debuts for Steve Asmussen. The son of Flatter is bred along similar lines to Grade 3-placed stakes scorer Omniscient. Both are by A.P. Indy-line sires, and the juvenile is out of a multiple stakes-placed half-sister to Omniscient. Further back in the family are past Asmussen alums Little Sister and Valid Expectations.
Remarkable Tale was second as the 3-5 favorite in his Monmouth debut, won by Awesome Slew, the subsequent fourth in the Sanford. The Tale of Ekati colt hails from the barn of Kelly Breen, a 30% trainer with second-timers. Out of a full sister to German stakes winner Mr. Woodman, he descends from the family of such Irish performers as classic winner Kings Lake and champion Cloonlara. It wouldn't be a shock if turf is in his future at some point. Sticksstatelydude was second in his unveiling at Churchill to Mayor Mac, the 6-5 favorite in Saturday's Mountaineer Juvenile. The third-placer, Unbridled Outlaw, came back to win at Ellis. By freshman sire First Dude, he has since transferred to Kiaran McLaughlin, who has a 26% strike rate with second-time starters. His female line is responsible for top sprinters Slade Power (in Europe) and The Big Beast, the reigning King's Bishop (G1) hero who runs later Saturday in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G1).
Tricky Citizen is a full brother to multiple stakes winner and Grade 2-placed Trickmeister, who scored a blowout win in the 2010 Pleasant Colony at the Spa. He was then trained by Richard Dutrow, so it's appropriate that baby brother is trained by former Dutrow assistant Michelle Nevin. The $100,000 Keeneland September yearling has drawn the rail. Czarmo is from the first crop of Uncle Mo. As the champion two-year-old colt of 2010, Uncle Mo figured to sire quick juveniles, and the Coolmore freshman is indeed off to a fine start (even if his Sanford winner Uncle Vinny benefited from a controversial disqualification to earn that laurel). His dam, the stakes-placed American Czarina, has produced five winners, including Puerto Rican stakes-placed Bagration. The mare is herself a half-sister to Grade 2 hero Redding Colliery. This could be a nature-versus-nurture question, since trainer Gary Contessa isn't known for winning with his firsters.
Giant Run brought $200,000 at Keeneland September, as the son of Giant's Causeway and Grade 2 heroine Who Did It and Run. That makes him a half-brother to stakes winner American Victory and Grade 3-placed Who's Cozy (dam of Who's in Town, demoted to fourth after being first-past-the-post in the 2013 Adirondack [G2]). The Tom Albertrani trainee likely needs this first run to bring him on. Isotherm is from the first Northern Hemisphere crop of Australian superstar Lonhro. Produced by the multiple stakes-placed More Than Ready mare Game for More, the $120,000 Keeneland September yearling is training forwardly for George Weaver. Yet as a May 9 foal, he stands to benefit from more time.