2YO Maiden Special Weight ‘Picks, Plays and Pontification’ – Churchill Downs, 05/24/2024

May 22, 2024

Churchill Downs, Races 2 & 5 – Thursday, May 24, 2024

By The 2YO EdgeMan

CD2:052424 – 5f on the Dirt.  Five colts, two geldings, and one filly make up the eight horse field in this unrestricted 2YO MSW event under the Twin Spires.  Ennis will saddle two and Asmussen, Ward, Mark Casse,  Chapman, and Jack Hancock will prepare one each.  Not This Time, Mineshaft, Munnings, and Street Sense are four interesting sires, along with First-Crop sires Echo Town and Game Winner.  Five of the eight in here are First-Time Starters, two have started once, and one has done battle on two occasions. This should be an interesting affair, so let’s take a look at four of these…

#1 – Three Echoes (4/1) – Asmussen will send out this firster from newby sire, Echo Town, who’s looking for his first winner.  This colt’s mom is by Dixie Union and she won two of the 16 races that she ran and earned $65,000.  She’s produced seven other foals of racing age with two first-time starter winners of two-year-old events (one at BEL in November who earned an 85 Equibase Speed Figure and one who won a Maiden Claiming race at Hastings in September).  Today’s runner has been through the auction ring three times – the first time, when he was a weanling, he sold for $37,000 (2/10).  Then, as a yearling, he went for $40,000 (17/43), and finally, earlier this year in March down in Ocala he hammered for $130K (1/9).  Steve has worked this guy five times, all at Keeneland, for a total of 18 furlongs.  His last was impressive – he went a half mile on 5/12/24 in 47.8 seconds from the gate for a fine bullet move (1/69).  Keith will get the leg up into the saddle.

#4 – Clock Tower (2/1) – Not surprisingly, the Morning Line favorite is from the Wes Ward barn.  He hails from Not This Time and was thrown by a successful Bustin Stones mare who banked over $1/2 million by winning eight of her 19 starts.  She’s produced three other foals of racing age, one gelding was three for 16 with earnings of $349K.  Today’s competitor demanded $100,000 when he went through the sales ring last year as a yearling (48/62).  This gelding has also had five works over at Keeneland (16 total furlongs) with his best being a bullet effort on 5/5/24 when he covered three poles in 35.2 seconds (1/26).  Ward will entrust the reins to Joel Rosario. 

#6 – Art Fair (5/1) – Munnings is the stallion responsible for this colt who comes from an Into Mischief mare that only won once in 19 outings, but the lone score was in her 5th try at Kentucky Downs in September of her 2YO campaigned and she logged lifetime earnings of $178K.  This is her first foal.  This cross has produced only one 2YO who started for $30,000 in a MSW race and that horse won on their third effort in September at Churchill.  Today’s runner has never been sold at public auction. Trainer Mark Casse has put her through a total of four morning drills (16 furlongs), the first at his training facility and then three here at Churchill.  His next to last work, on 5/11/24, he traveled five furlongs.  Tyler gets the mount for this firster.

#8 – Charlie Tolu (5/2) – Under the tutelage of conditioner Jack Hancock, this colt has run in two previous races, one at KEE and one here at CD.  In his last, he finished only ½ length behind the winner and settled for a solid second place showing at 30/1.  He is a homebred son of Cinco Charlie and his mom is by Big Surf.  She was two for nine on the track, with a paltry earnings of $15,000, and has produced two others of racing age, but nothing of note.  He does not show any morning work since his previous race and Mitchell Murrill is listed as the new rider, replacing the services of Rogeilo Miranda. 

Pick – #1 Three Echoes – I’m really anxious to see this guy compete, even if it is from the one hole.  His last work was ultra impressive, especially for an Asmussen baby.  He sold for 26 times his stud fee as a two-year-old and we know that his daddy was a speedball.  Dixie Union is a somewhat underrated Broodmare Sire and I especially like the fact that his mom has thrown two first-out juvenile winners, with one scoring at Belmont and earning a high EBSF of 85.  

CD5:052424 – 5f on the Dirt.  Nine fillies have passed through the entry box and will face off in this one that includes five newby racers and four that have been out in the afternoon one time.  Conditioners include Mark Casse, Asmussen, Ennis, Stewart, and Norm Casse.  On the sire side, look for youngsters from Vino Rosso (Spendthrift Farm), Union Rags, and Street Boss.  Additionally, keep an eye peeled for Debut sires War of Will, Authentic (Spendthrift), Tiz the Law, and Instagrand.  Here are the five that interest me in this competitive affair…

#1 – Flip Flops (3/1) – This filly is the Morning Line favorite and one of the four ‘veterans’ having started one time previously – she’s sired by Freshman sire War of Will.  Her dam comes from Munnings and she only raced once and did not find the Winner’s Circle that day.  This is her first foal.  This filly’s prior race came at KEE on 4/26/24.  On that day she was jostled a bit at the gate, but then ran a sold race reaching second, only a ½ length back at the head of the stretch before finally settling for show money, 4+ lengths behind.  She was an $85,000 yearling (33/67) last year.  Mark has injected one half mile work into her since her race and she completed that in 48 seconds flat (30/134).  Jose gets the opportunity to ride her again today.

#2 – Quinquela (5/1) – This Texas-bred filly is a firster for conditioner Asmussen and she was sired by Vino Rosso.  Mom is from Acclamation and she was one for ten in her racing career, ‘amassing’ $40,000 in purse money.  She’s tossed one other foal of racing age, a 3YO gelding who did score last year at two, but had to be dropped into a race for a tag on the next to the last day of 2023 at Santa Anita to make it out of the maiden ranks.  Today’s combatant sold for a relatively conservative $32,000 as a yearling (47/79) but was then pinhooked and sold back earlier this year in April as a two-year-old and he demanded $170K (4/13) as AsmussenEquine.com signed the ticket for Mr. & Mrs. Heiligbrodt.  She started her work tab down at Lone Star on 4/14/24 and has since put in four morning spins over in Lexington at Keeneland for a total of 17 furlongs.  The last two were paired 48.8 second efforts over 4f (15/88 and 19/101, respectively).  Steve looks to his son Keith to guide her home.

#3 – Miss Makenna (4/1) – The cross of newby Sire Authentic and a Lemon Drop Kid mare is the combo behind this filly who hammered for $140K last year as a yearling (63/92).  Mama was unraced, but of her five foals of racing age, three won during their 2YO campaigns, one FTS at KEE in April, one FTS at the Fair Grounds in December, and one in his second out at Laurel in July.  Today’s runner has started once – back on 5/2/24 at Churchill she didn’t get the best of breaks, but still finished third, beaten by 7+ lengths at nearly 22/1.  She has been able to sneak one half mile breeze in since her last afternoon run.  Trainer Val Brinkerhoff has tapped Reylu Gutierrez to be her pilot for the first time.

#7 – Tizntshelovely (12/1) – As you may have guessed, this FTS filly is by Debut sire Tiz The Law.  Her 5YO mama is sired by Street Sense, but she was unraced and this is her first foal.  Originally, this gal sold for $45,000 as a weanling (11/16), but then pinhooked and sold back last year as a yearling for $85,000 (26/77).  Dallas Stewart (‘only’ four for six in 2YO MSW races here at CD in the spring over the previous five years) preps her and he’s had her working nicely.  All four of her drills have been here under the Twin Spires and have totaled 13 furlongs.  Last out she went a half mile in 47.8 seconds (23/134) and next to last out, on 5/10/24, she completed three panels from the gate in 35.8 seconds (6/32).  Derby champ, Brian Hernandez will have his boots in the irons.

#9 – Troubler (8/1) – Another filly who will be making her initial start comes from the barn of Norm Casse (six for 15, 40%, in his 2YO MSW races here at CD in the spring from 2019 thru 2023).  First-Crop sire Instagrand, one for one with his lone runner, looks to crown his second winner who was thrown by a now 21 YO Mr. Greeley mare who was winless in five tries on the track.  She has thrown eight foals of racing age in addition to today’s runner but never produced a winner at the age of two.  This filly went for $60,000 as a yearling (13/77) and was then brought back to sell down in Ocala this past March where she demanded $250K as a two-year-old (1/24).  Ricardo Santana, Jr. will tickle the leather on this gal.

Pick – #7 Tizntshelovely – Stewart clearly has a way with these babies in the spring at Churchill and he’s now part of the ownership group behind this filly.  Her last two works were rock solid and I’m still cheering on Brian after his huge Derby victory.  I like the fact that her mom is young and the 12/1 ML odds are so juicy – let’s roll the dice and she what she’s got.  Note – this filly is owned by ‘2024 Hundred’ in the fantastic Game of Silks – I gotta say, I’m just a tad jealous.  So, good luck to that stable in this race today!

Good luck with these two events.  There is also an unrestricted baby race at Belmont today, so be on the lookout at www.pastthewire.com for my preview of that event.  Until then, all the best – thank you and stay well, my Edgie Besties. 

Contributing Authors

The 2YO Edge Man, Past The Wire

The 2YO EdgeMan

The 2YO EdgeMan started following horse racing when his family moved to Louisville, KY when he was 9 years old.  The story goes that he...

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