Churchill Downs, Race 2 – Friday, November 10, 2023
By 2YO EdgeMan
CD2:111023 – Five furlongs on the turf. Sixteen names have filled the entry hat and twelve will ultimately head to the post. Within the main field, we’ve got nine colts and three geldings. Seven will be racing for the first time ever, four have been out one time previously and one experienced veteran will already be making his sixth start. Let’s peel this onion back and see what’s underneath…
#1 – Trap Line (12/1) – This FTS colt comes from Mendelssohn and an Irish bred mare who appears to be unraced. She’s produced four other foals of racing age and one has earned north of $100K. Today’s competitor originally sold for $70,000 as a weanling in late 2021 (10/18) and then hammered for $125K when he went back through the sales ring as a yearling (22/105). Trainer Dale Romans only began putting this guy to work on the last day of July and he’s breezed a total of eight times (just total 26 furlongs), all here at CD. His fastest was on 10/1/23 when he earned a small bullet – 35.8 seconds over three panels (1/9).
#3 – Irish Ransom (10/1) – Another firster, this gelding is trained by Brett Calhoun and is sired by Gormley. His mama is a 23YO mare who was 3 for 16 with $52,000 in earnings on the track. She’s produced ten foals other than today’s runner who are of racing age. The standout gelding that she threw was Stilleto Boy who fashioned a record of 4 for 25, with one of those wins coming at the Grade 1 level, and he banked $1.8 million. Irish Random has never been sold at public auction. He started his prep work for today’s debut back in early July and has had a baker’s dozen (13) drills in total, all under the Twin Spires. None of his times have been anything to write home about.
#5 – Geno’s Myth (12/1) – This Uncle Mo colt is owned in partnership by Mike Pegram. He was sold to his trainer – Mike Puhich – as an agent at the Keeneland September Yearling sale for $80,000 (81/95). His Smart Strike dam was unraced – she only has one other of racing age and that 3YO filly is still looking for her first wins after having started five times. This guy will be making his career debut and Puhich begin his workout regime at Pegasus Thoroughbred Training Center in mid-June and he stayed there for about a month and a half, getting in six works. He then logged two spins at Churchill’s Training Center after a nearly two month rest. Then it was on to Keeneland for four breezes before landing at Churchill where he’s had a chance to drill twice. He’s never worked more than a half mile and his times have been just OK.
#6 – In a Jam (9/2) – Mark Casse has put this colt through his paces as he’s already started in five races – two on the turf and three on the dirt – from Ellis Park, to Kentucky Downs to Keeneland. He is sired by Preservationist and his Yankee Gentleman mare won 3 of 14 starts and $164K. One of her four foals of racing age was Taxed – a winner of $439K with a 2 for 11 record, finishing 2nd once in a G3 event. Today’s runner has been sold at public auction twice this year – in July he went for $50,000 (11/55) and then was sold back in a digital sale for $75,000 in August. Casse has found time to squeeze in one work over the CD strip. Tyler will ride him for the four time.
#8 – Norwich (4/1) – Munnings is the proud papa of this colt who is the tepid Morning Line fav and he is out of a mare by Discreetly Mine. She was 2 for 15 and banked only $36,000 and has only foaled one other of racing age – a 3YO filly who is yet to start. The hammer fell heavy for this guy as a yearling – $385K (8/91). He’s raced one time – back on 9/29/23, here at CD going five furlongs on the lawn. In that start – at off odds of 5/2 – he was traveling nicely down the back stretch, a few lengths off the lead, but was in between rivals in tight quarters. At about the 3/8th pole he was cut off and had to check hard, losing all chance of a good finish. Trainer Cherie Devaux has put three half mile works into him here at Churchill since his last race.
#9 – Crash the Gate (8/1) – Mike Maker conditions this colt who is a son of Constitution. His unraced More than Ready mare has thrown two (from three of racing age) that won at first asking (one at DMR and one at WO). One of those two also ran 3rd in a Grade 3 as a baby and the other won a total $269K, including going 3 for 3 as a juvenile (clocking a high Equibase Speed Fig of 96). Today’s dude sold as a ‘short yearling’ back in January for $95,000 (59/105) and then was pinhooked back as a yearling in September for $100K (65/105). He’s been working on the All-Weather surface at Turfway Park where he’s breezed eight times, in addition to his first breeze coming at CD’s Training Center back in mid-August, for a total of nine spins. The stopwatch has flashed some potential – on 9/16/23, he covered three poles in 36 seconds flat for a bullet move (1/30) and his last was 5/8th of a mile in 1:00.2 (2/37). Luis Saez will climb aboard into the saddle.
Pick – #9 Crash the Gate – Although I do think Norwich will be a difficult foe, I really like the fact that two of three of this guy’s half siblings were so precocious. Add to that his daddy who is one of my favorite 2YO sires. He’s worked very well and I think Maker has been targeting a race like this one since his morning efforts has been on the All-Weather surface in northern Kentucky. Add Saez to the equation and I like this colt. All the trip players will be on Norwich, so he may sneak off at decent odds.