2YO Maiden Special Weight ‘Picks, Plays and Pontification’ – Churchill Downs, 05/26/2023

May 24, 2023

Churchill Downs, Race 3 – Friday, May 26, 2023

By 2YO EdgeMan

CD3:052623 – Five furlongs on the dirt.  Eight young ladies will vie to be wear the crown in this one.  Five will be competing for the first time in their young lives, one has been out once and two have a pair of races under their belt.  Mark Casse will tighten the girth on two of these fillies – Asmussen, Ennis, and Jack Hancock will send out one each.  Frosted, Nyquist, Khozan, Mendelssohn and First-Crop Sire Coal Front lead the list of sires that will be represented.  Let’s jump in and get our hands dirty…

#1 – Sharp Tune (6/1) – Asmussen draws the rail for the third time in a row in these CD baby races with this Douglas Scharbauer home-bred sired by Frosted.  This owner / trainer combo teamed up for a win in a 2YO MSW race here at Churchill back on 5/11/23 when Closing Act scored.  This FTS was foaled by a Maclean’s Music mare who had some success as a runner – 2/11 and $135K.  She’s also produced a half sis to today’s entrant, an unraced three-year-old.  Frosted is only 7 for 94 (7.4%) with his 2YO MSW runners that were FTS at the Top 11 Tracks* from 2012 thru 2022.  Steve had her stabled down in TX at Lone Star where he worked her four times before shipping her up to Louisville for one recent, 4f work over the CD strip.  Her last work down south on 5/10/23 was pretty quick – she went 47.8 for ½ mile from the gate which was 2/27.  Florent Geroux will be in the irons.

#3 – Hockey (6/1) – This is the first of two fillies in this one for Mark Casse and this gal is by Nyquist out of an unraced mare by Tiznow.  She sold for $165K back in March at OBS after zipping a furlong under tack in 10.0 flat.  This made the group that pinhooked her as a yearling some good money as they had picked up at the KEE Sept Yearling sale last fall for a mere $8,000.  Nyquist is 14 of 95 (14.7%) with his babies in MSW races at the Top 11 Tracks in the previous 11 years.  Casse has been putting her through her paces giving her five works under the Twin Spires, none too brisk, but she did go today’s race distance of 5f in her last effort less than a week ago.  Rey Gutierrez will climb into the saddle.

#5 – Krickle (7/2) – She’s one of the three with prior race experience having finished third in both of the events that she competed in – once at Keeneland and once here at Churchill.  Trainer Hutch Holsapple bought this gal (and still owns her) as a yearling last September at KEE for the budget price of $8,000 (7/14).  Hutch had not had any two-year-old MSW starters at CD in the spring from 2018 thru 2022.  Today’s runner is by Carpe Diem out of a Quality Road mare who was 2 for 12 on track with earnings of $29,000 and this is her first foal.  She has not worked out since her last race.  Colby Hernandez gets the return riding engagement.

#7 – Crystal Symphony (8/1) – This is Casse’s second entry in here and she’s a first-time starter by Mendelssohn.  She hammed down for $55K as a yearling (67/105) and was purchased by John Oxley.  Her Curlin dam was winless in four tries in the afternoon and she’s only had one other foal – a 3YO gelding that has started just one time (did not win).  Mark is 7 for 37 (18.9) with 2YO MSW FTS at CD’s Spring Meet over the previous five years.  This filly should know her way around Churchill as Mark has given her seven workouts under the spires (the last five being at four furlongs).  No bullets or super-fast works, but they have been solid.  Adam Beschizza will be the pilot.

#8 Foolish Front Fifi (3/1) – In addition to arguably having the best name in this race, this filly has two races tucked away as experience and is the favorite on the Morning Line.  After a poor first-time showing at KEE on 4/19, she connected some dots and ran her heart out here at CD on 5/11, losing by only a neck to the aforementioned Closing Act after a great charge down the lane at odds of 22/1.  Spendthrift Farms will be looking for their first winner by this 1CS – Coal Front.  She is a home-bred and is trained by Jack Hancock who has not given her any work since her last race.  Rogelio Miranda is entrusted again as the jockey.

Pick – #1 Sharp Tune – The connections of Scharbauer / Asmussen / Geroux are indeed formidable and I like her work tab, especially her effort two back at Lone Star.  I find it interesting, too, that Asmussen didn’t turn her last workout back to 3f, as he often does.  Mom was classy and although Dad’s numbers are less than stellar with FTS, I like the breeding.  M/L odds of 6/1 are encouraging, so it will be important to see how warm or cold she is on the board when the money starts coming in.  

Churchill just posted a 2YO MSW event for Saturday, 5/27/23, but it is restricted to Auction horses of <$50,000 (including RNAs), so we’ll play that one by ear.  At the time of this writing, Belmont Park had not posted their weekend entries, but you know that we’ll keep our eye out for them. In the meantime, drink this one in – it should be a good one.  Til we connect again, all the best to my Edgie partners – I hope we can pick another winner together!

*- When I look at most statistics around sire performance, I want to make sure that we are only considering high quality 2YO MSW races.  Hence, I’ve determined what I believe to be the ‘Top 11 Tracks’ for our level of races.  Certainly, these could be debated, but they are what I use.  They are:  CD, KEE, KD, SAR, BEL, AQU, SA, DMR, GP, WO and OP (note: OP was just added this year to go from the Top 10 to Top 11).

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The 2YO Edge Man, Past The Wire

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