2YO Maiden Special Weight ‘Picks, Plays and Pontification’ – 11/04/2023

November 3, 2023

Churchill Downs, Race 7 – Saturday, November 4, 2023

By 2YO EdgeMan

CD7:110423 – Seven furlongs over the dirt.  Ten colts are locked in and ready to go.  Half of the field has never started before, three have only been out in the afternoon one time, one has raced twice and one has already competed four times.  A number of them catch my eye, so let’s break this thing down and see if we can come up with the winnah…

#1 – Give Me a Reason (7/2) – The Morning Line fav is one of the newbies and is trained by Steve Asmussen.  He’s a son of Justify and his 24YO mom was a monster on the track.  She won half of her 20 starts and bank rolled $1.19 million – and remember, that is back when the purses were nowhere near as big as they are today.  One of her foals was 4 for 24 with $738K in earnings, including a score second out as a two-year-old at DMR when she posted an 81 Equibase Speed Fig.  She’s also produced a filly who won her debut race in June of her 2YO year with an 83 EBSF.  Today’s racer sold well as a yearling when the hammer fell at $1/2 million (11/78).  He’s trained by Steve Asmussen and has had ten workouts, starting on 8/8/23 with four here at Churchill, then three at Ellis Park before coming back under the Twin Spires for three more.  His best was when he flashed a bullet at ELP on 9/23/23 going a half mile handily in 48 seconds flat (1/49).

#3 – Knightsbridge (9/2) – Hall of Famer Bill Mott will tighten the girth on this First-Time starter by Nyquist.  He’s a Godolphin homebred and is out of an unraced Bernardini mare who’s had some success with her foals from her three others of racing age.  Two have won north of $100K and one of those was 6 for 13 with purses totaling $739K, including a win second time out in October of her 2YO campaign at Belmont Park, when she flashed an 86 EBSF (this colt also won a G2 event).  Bill has pumped a dozen works into this colt – all on the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga.  His first was back in late May, but after his fourth breeze on 6/19/23, he had to be shut down for two and a half months.  Since starting back up in early September, he has posted three small bullets.  

#4 – Sharp Shot (6/1) – The first of two Brad Cox entries, this colt is a Sharp Azteca homebred from Calumet Farms.  His A.P. Indy mare could not find the Winner’s Circle in seven tries.  This dude has been out one time, running a well beaten second to a more seasoned – Cats By Five – in his effort over 5 ½ furlongs on the dirt about three weeks ago at IND when he went off at odds of 9/2.  Brad has been able to get one half work into him since his last run.

#6 – Left Tackle (4/1) – This is the second colt that Brad will saddle for this event.  He’s by Spendthrift’s excellent First-Crop sire – Vino Rosso – who now has 17 winners.  He sold for $75,000 as a yearling (55/128), after going for $85,000 as a weanling in late 2021 (14/31).  He will make his debut today and in prep for that he has worked a total of fourteen times – five at Keeneland and then nine more at Ellis Park.  He’s posted two bullets in his last four works – on 10/7/23 he went a half mile (handily) in 48.2 seconds (1/24) and then on 10/21/23 he traveled five panels in 1:01 flat (1/18).

#8 – McQueen (5/1) – Gun Runner is the stallion that is responsible for this FTS colt who comes by way of a dam by Tapizar who was 1 for 13 and prize money of $53,000.  The one score that she made, however, was her second race while a two-year-old over Churchill’s strip in November when she earned a 92 EBSF.  She’s only foaled one other of racing age – a 3YO filly by American Pharoah who has yet to win in four tries.  This colt sold has sold twice already in his young life – most recently as a yearling for $300K (34/66) and originally as a weaning for $100K (13/16).  Conditioner Todd Pletcher started his work regimen at WinStar’s training facility in mid-late July where he put in four morning breezes.  Then TAP vanned him west on I-64 to Churchill where he has logged nine more efforts, including three at 5/8th of a mile.  Other than a small bullet while at WinStar, his times have not been overly impressive.

#9 – Promissio (6/1) – Trainer Doug O’Neill is in charge of this Mitole (another fine Spendthrift Farm debut sire) colt and his mom is by Street Cry, however, she was winless in four races.  She has thrown 2 of 6 foals of racing age that eclipsed the $100K mark in earnings.  This guy demanded a solid $190K last year when he went through the auction ring as a yearling (15/116).  He’s raced one time previously – on 10/7/23 at Keeneland, he got pinched at the start and lost several lengths, breaking last and was not able to get going at all for quite some time.  Ultimately, he got rollin and finshed fifth of 12, just over six lengths behind the winner.  Doug kept him in Lexington for two half mile drills at Keeneland after his race.  

Pick – #8 McQueen – TAP has only started two debut juveniles in MSW races here at Churchill in the fall over the five previous meets (2018 thru 2022) and has yet to find the Winner’s Circle, but today may just be the day.  It feels like he’s been pointing this colt for Churchill since this dude has been training here since mid-August.  Nine spins around the Churchill oval has certainly acclimated him to this strip.  I also like the fact that his workmate in his most recent effort was a 4YO winner from Todd’s barn.  Mom was victorious as a 2YO right here under the Twin Spires in this very month with a big EBSF – ya gotta like that.  Additionally, the ownership group of Siena Farm and WinStar Farm is definitely first class.  The jockey choice of Cristian Torres is an interesting one – certainly not because he isn’t a skilled rider – but because this will be the first two-year-old in a MSW event that this combo has teamed up on, at least looking back to 2018. 

Contributing Authors

The 2YO Edge Man, Past The Wire

The 2YO EdgeMan

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