The Player’s Edge – November 29th, 2013: Two-Year-Old Stakes

Matt Carter

November 30th, 2013


Photo: Matt Carter

Churchill Downs - Golden Rod Stakes


Churchill Downs - Kentucky Jockey Club


Hollywood Park - Generous Stakes


Hollywood Park - Miesque Stakes

Churchill Downs - Golden Rod Stakes Two-Year-Old Fillies

Saturday at Churchill Downs is all about the two-year-olds and there are two stake races on the card. First up is the Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes for the fillies. A field of ten was drawn for the eight and one-half furlong race with only one graded stake winner in the field.

Madly Truly won the Grade 3 Mazarine on the polytrack in October and has run her last four starts in Canada at Woodbine, but she made her debut on the Churchill dirt back in June. In that race she finished fourth behind Untapable, who went on to win the Grade 2 Pocahontas Stakes over the Churchill track in September. Madly Truly has been off since the Mazarine and has been stabled at the track for the last month. Judging by her morning workouts, the daughter of Malibu Moon is ready to go.

Stonetastic was second behind Untapable in the Pocahontas and is also entered in the Golden Rod. Trainer Kelly Breen gave his two-year-old a break after that race and came back to finish fourth in the Grade 3 Tempted 27 days ago. Improvement is expected in her second start off the layoff, but she must overcome the far outside post.

The top two choices are going to need their top race as there appear to be some other talented fillies in the race; led by the rail filly, Daddy's Memory.

Daddy's Memory started her career off well with a third place finish at Churchill in September then finished fifth as the favorite in a turf race at Keeneland. Once again she was entered in a turf race, this time at Churchill, but rains forced a main track start and boy did Daddy's Memory respond, drawing off to win by ten and three-quarter lengths. Once again, Miguel Mena has the mount.

Naive Enough has won two of her first three career starts, both of which coming in Maryland at Laurel Park. She broke her maiden by seven and three-quarter lengths then took an allowance race with ease as the odds-on favorite. She can run and comes in with a bullet five furlong drill. Do not dismiss at what could be a decent price.

Vexed was third in her debut over the Polytrack at Arlington Park in July then broke her maiden at Churchill in September before finishing second in the Rags to Riches Stakes last month. The third place finisher in that race, Tepin, came back to win the Delta Princess last weekend. Vexed is a half-sister to Sign, who won the Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill last year.

Others to consider are Bird Maker and Playful Love, both breaking their maiden in their second career start at Churchill Downs within the last month.

First post on Saturday at Churchill Downs is 12:40 pm ET with the Golden Rod off at 4:35. The Golden Rod is the first leg of the late pick-4, which also includes the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.


Churchill Downs - Kentucky Jockey Club Ten Two-Year-Olds

Two races after the Golden Rod is the 87th running of the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club for the two-year-old colts and geldings. While the Golden Rod had one graded stakes winner in the field, the Jockey Club has none. In fact, there is not one stakes winner in the field.

The morning line favorite for the race at 6-5 is the Unbridled's Son colt, Almost Famous. The $500,000 two-year-old in training purchase has only started at Churchill Downs with two wins and a fourth, which came in the Street Sense Stakes in October. The second place finisher in that race, Ichiban Warrior, came back to win an allowance race on Friday. Almost Famous is fast and should be out winging on the front end from the rail.

Finishing second to Almost Famous in his last race, albeit by six lengths, was Dobra Historia, who is also entered in the Jockey Club. Dobra Historia is also by Unbridled's Son and is out of Miss Lodi, who was Grade 1 stakes place at Churchill Downs in her career. Dobra Historia only has one win in three starts to date and may not find the pace scenario to his liking as on paper, it could be pretty slow early.

Culprit, Notability and Tapiture are exiting a one-two-three finish in a maiden special weight race over the track earlier this month and are expected to improve.

Culprit sat in the middle of the pace early, two lengths off the pace, and when given his cue by the jockey, the Street Sense colt responded and just got up by a half-length. From first to third, only a length and one-quarter separated the three.

Notability was making his career debut in that race and ran very well considering it was at one mile. The English Channel colt may be better suited for the turf down the road, but he proved that dirt will not be a problem.

Tapiture did the dirty work in that race and just could not hold on late. It was the third start of his career and every single time he has gave ground late. Almost Famous is a faster horse early so jockey Ricardo Santana could sit just off his flank. Whether or not he saves enough for the stretch drive, that is the question.

The long shot in the field is Awesome Sky for trainer Mark Casse and owner John Oxley. Awesome Sky is still a maiden after two starts, but he comes in with a bullet four furlong drill and for the first time, he will not be breaking from the rail. Off the pace and into the winner's circle?

Post time for the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes is 5:35 pm ET.


Hollywood Park - Generous Stakes Six Go Eight

The first of the graded stakes races on Saturday at Hollywood Park is the Grade 3 Generous Stakes for two-year-olds going one mile on the turf. The morning line favorite for the race is Pablo Monte, who is making his first start outside of Keeneland.

By Giant's Causeway, Pablo Monte has won the first two starts of his career by a combined 12 and one-half lengths. He broke his maiden back in April at Keeneland then won an allowance race over the track in October. No telling how good the two-year-old is. Expect him to be setting the pace from post six.

After the favorite, four of the remaining five horses are either 5-2 or 5-1 on the morning line. Co-second choices are Global View and Aotearoa.

Global View is coming off a maiden score down the hill at Santa Anita and is making his two-turn debut. The son of the Irish-bred Galileo cost $500,000 as a yearling at the Keeneland September sale and is owned by the Glen Fill Farm. Joe Talamo has the mount for Gary Stevens, who is riding in Japan.

Aotearoa upset the talented Diamond Bachelor in the Zuma Beach Stakes in October at Santa Anita then found the waters too deep in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf where he finished seventh. Down in class, Aotearoa can win if the favorite does not get loose on the lead, which on paper, appears likely.

Royal Breaker and the maiden Ontology are next at 5-1 on the line with Royal Breaker making his U.S. debut. Trained in Britain by Jedd O'Keeffe, Royal Banker is now in the barn of Eoin Harty. Harty is not having a good start to the meet with only one win from his 11 starts. Royal Banker ran two races across the pond, one where he was last and one where he was near the lead. Best guess is he will be mid-pack or farther back on Saturday.

Ontology is still a maiden after six starts even though he has come with high praise. Earlier this year he cost $210,000 at the OBS March sale, but may find the waters too deep here. He was 10th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf and eighth in the Grade 1 Front Runner, which was on the dirt. The best races of his career came on the Cushion track at Hollywood Park. Perhaps a run in the CashCall Futurity is up next.

Persisting is the longest shot on the board and would be an absolute shock if he even hits the board.

Scheduled as race two on Saturday, post time for the Generous is 4:00 pm ET. It is the second leg of the pick-4.


Hollywood Park - Miesque Stakes Clenor Looks to Rebound

Two races after the Generous for the colts, the two-year-old fillies get their chance to shine in the Grade 3 Miesque Stakes. At 8-5 on the line, Clenor will be tough if she runs back to her Del Mar races.

The Irish-bred Clenor was a good prospect in her native country, finishing third in a Group 1 race at the Curragh in June. She was then purchased by Great Friends Stable and she quickly paid dividends, winning three races straight including the Juvenile Fillies Turf at Del Mar and the Surfer Girl at Santa Anita.

Clenor is exiting a disappointing eighth place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, but from post ten against top European competition, that may have been the best the connections could have hoped for. Back down in class may just be what the doctor ordered.

Nesso also exits the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, finishing tenth, beaten seven and one-quarter lengths. She set the pace that day and is likely to be setting it again on Saturday. Trainer Vann Belvoir takes the blinkers off, hoping that will do the trick.

Nesso should have some company on the front end with Full Ransom drawn to her outside in post six. the daughter of Full Mandate broke her maiden at Santa Anita in her last start in wire-to-wire fashion and never was threatened. She looks to be a good one for trainer James Cassidy.

Savings Account and Sushi Empire are coming out of a one-two finish, separated by a nose, in a maiden special weight race over the Hollywood Park turf course earlier this month and both could jump up into the exotics. The pair ran their last quarter mile; however, in a slow 25 seconds and must pick it up against graded stakes quality fillies.

Simon Callaghan's Love In The Desert is the upsetter. The British-bred, Lemon Drop Kid filly won one of four races in England prior to coming to the U.S. Her lone win was against the boys then she went on to be fourth in a Group 3 race at Ascot in late July. Callaghan gave her a good prep for the Generous, running her against the boys in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.

Love In The Desert earned a 92 and 91 Racing Post Rating in her last two starts in England. Clenor's best RPR, 89.

Post time for the Miesque is 5:00 pm ET.


Thoroughbred Racing Action

Great racing action from across the country this weekend. Watch these races all on

Saturday – November 30
  • Churchill Downs:  Golden Rod Stakes - G2, $175,000, 2yo f, 8.5f
  • Churchill Downs:  Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes - G2, $175,000, 2yo, 8.5f
  • Hollywood Park:  Miesque Stakes - G3, $100,000, 2yo f, 8f turf
  • Hollywood Park:  Generous Stakes - G3, $100,000, 2yo, 8f turf
  • Golden Gate:  Golden Gate Debutante Stakes, $50,000, 2yo f, 6f
  • Woodbine:  Kennedy Road Stakes - G2, $150,000, 3yo & up, 6f
  • Fair Grounds:  Woodchopper Stakes, $75,000, 3yo, 8f turf
  • Gulfstream Park:  Pulpit Stakes, $100,000, 2yo, 8f turf
  • Gulfstream Park:  Wait A While Stakes, $100,000, 2yo f, 8f turf
  • Charles Town:  West Virginia Futurity, $50,000, 2yo, 7f
Sunday – December 1
  • Woodbine:  Bessarabian Stakes - G2, $150,000, 3yo & up, 7f
  • Hollywood Park:  Matriarch Stakes - G1, $250,000, 3yo & up f&m, 8f turf
  • Hollywood Park:  Hollywood Derby - G1, $250,000, 3yo, 10f turf