Ten horses to watch for in the second half of 2021
The once-beaten son of Kingman was a fine sophomore, but he has raised his game this season for Chad Brown. The superb gelding has notched Grade 1 wins in three straight overall, and he was super impressive when registering a 109 Brisnet Speed number in his Manhattan S. (G1) romp most recently. He’s the top grass horse in the country in my opinion.
The multiple champion is among the most exciting horses to have graced us with her presence in recent years. The genuine Tapizar mare has recently been given some time off, but is fully expected to return to training in the near future. She is a must-watch every time she goes to post.
The arguable first half Horse of the Year is a head shy from owning five straight graded wins in 2021, led by triumphs in the Apple Blossom (G1) and Ogden Phipps (G1). The Super Saver mare is no longer headstrong since having blinkers removed, and her game tally over Monomoy Girl three-back proves just how classy the Mexican champion is. She is the feel-good story of the season.
The Wesley Ward trainee has blitzed three fields in succession, and will head overseas to show off his skills against his European counterparts. The recent Coolmore acquisition, who dominated the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2), is lightly raced with additional room for improvement. It’s a pleasure to watch the son of Uncle Mo dashing on the lawn.
The sensational four-year-old has led at every call in a trio of facile victories this season, winning by a combined 16 1/2 lengths along the way. The Into Mischief superstar is untouchable at one turn, to the point where it seems difficult for her to find any real competition, and route racing could be in her future according to her conditioner. Wherever the filly lands, she will be the one to catch and beat.
The Kentucky Oaks (G1) starlet is perfect from five outings and gives the impression that there is much more in the tank, too. The well-bred daughter of Curlin doesn’t dominate her foes by wide margins, but she always wins, and the classy lass has plenty of room to move forward as she develops. I would not be surprised to see the brilliant Kentucky-bred face the boys this campaign.
The Shug McGaughey trainee is unlikely to make an appearance at Saratoga, and will reportedly be targeted for the Belmont Fall meeting instead. The Tapit colt was a force to be reckoned with in Florida in the first half of the season, and I assume he will be better off the layoff. If that’s the case, the bay sophomore will make plenty of noise in the Empire State in the fall and through his four-year-old season.
The reigning Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) champ is winless in 2021, but has delivered a trio of fine performances this year, with two seconds and a third to his credit. The ageless Pleasantly Perfect gelding is a fan favorite who is still near the top of his division, and his recent works hint that a race at Saratoga is upcoming for the seven-year-old. The durable chestnut is easy to root for.
Godolphin homebred has seven wins from eight lifetime outings, and is coming off daylight tallies in both the Alysheba S. (G2) and Stephen Foster S. (G2) at Churchill Downs. Walsh trainee has impressed since his juvenile campaign, and it appears that the four-year-old has reached a new gear in 2021. The colt has been patiently handled throughout his career, and I still hold the opinion that we haven’t seen his best yet. Maxfield could evolve into the clear-cut division leader with another daylight tally in his next assignment.
The Phil D’Amato pupil has been perfect from four tries since arriving in the states. The Mehmas filly ran a powerful race to crush her foes in the recent Honeymoon S. (G3) at Santa Anita, and if she wins again over the weekend in the San Clemente S. (G2), then it’s time to take the sophomore for real. The bay has proven to be too good for her California competition at this stage of her development, and a trek outside of the Golden State might be in order to cement her status as a star. I am curious to know just how good she is.