Churchill Downs, Race 1 – Thursday, June 1, 2023
By 2YO EdgeMan
CD1:060123 – 5 1/2 furlongs on the dirt. Nine boys (including one that’s been gelded) will tangle in this one that stretches out a half furlong more than what the youngsters had been running in May. Four of these guys are racing newbies, two have been out once and three have two experiences competing with others in the afternoon. Steve Asmussen will saddle two in here, along with other top trainers: Walsh, McPeek, Maker, Amoss and Monday’s baby race winner, John Ennis. This is also setting up to be a dandy from a sire perspective with the likes of Midshipman (two entered), Liam’s Map and Gun Runner. Add to that list the exciting First-Crop sire, Omaha Beach. I’m really excited about this one! Alright already, let’s get crackin’…
#3 – Call Me Andy (5/1) – This FTS is the first of the two Midshipman colts and he’s trained by Brendan Walsh who is 2 for 7 (28.6%) at CD in his previous five spring meets with the 2YO MSWs. In fact, one of those two winners paid $36.20 back in June 2021. This guy sold for $260K at the Keeneland September Yearling sale which made him the most expensive yearling by his sire in 2022 out of the 42 that sold. His dam is now 23 years old and back in her day she won $166K racing, going 5 for 34. She’s thrown 11 other foals, two that have earned over $100K, plus one G1 winner who went 6/18 ($395K) and another that scored at the G2 level and earned nearly a half million dollars going 7/25. He worked four times over the synthetic at Turfway Park and then has put in two solid moves at CD, the last being a 47.8 second effort going 4f (4/53). Interestingly, Tyler Gaffalione picks up the mount after having ridden #5 Sonofaship in his two previous races.
#5 – Sonofaship (7/2) – This dude returns to afternoon competition after running second in both of his two previous tries (we picked him in both of his races). Conditioner Mike Maker is 2/13 (15.4%) in 2YO MSW events at CD’s Spring Meet during the period of 2018 to 2022 with one of the two wins coming last June. This colt is the second one in here by Midshipman out of an Elusive Quality mare. He has a ½ brother that went 3/15 earning $172K (including a runner up finish in a G2), while winning as a FTS at GP, posting a roasting fast 102 EBSF (although it was in December in his 2YO season1). Today’s runner sold down at the 2022 Texas Thoroughbred Association Yearling Sale for $80,000, which was in the top quarter of his sire’s yearlings that sold last year (9/42). Maker has put one work into him since his last race – a decent ½ mile breeze at CD’s Training facility. Maker taps Jareth Loveberry to replace Gaffalione.
#6 – Card Trick (8/1) – This colt will make his debut today as the first one in this affair to be trained by Asmussen. Liam’s Map is the sire of this KEE Sept Yearling sales grad who hammered down for $180K (21/64). His mom is by The Factor and she was 0 for 3 as a race mare. He has both a 3YO and 4YO half brother that are a combined 1 for 22. The work tab shows six moves over at KEE with both of his last two at four furlongs from the gate clocking in at sub 48 seconds, including a bullet in his last (47.2 – 1/40). Isaac Castillo will be his guide.
#7 – Higgins Boat (3/1) – Omaha Beach will be looking for his third juvenile winner with the morning line favorite. Conditioner Tom Amoss sports a gaudy record here for the previous five years in the spring at CD with debuting babies at the MSW level, having gone 8 for 21 (38.1%). In fact, his ROI in these 21 races is a ridiculous $7.09. His Street Cry dam was 2 for 10 on track, banking $59,000. Tom sent this dude out for five works at KEE and two came back as bullets, both at 4f – 48.2 seconds on 4/26/23 (1/49) and then on 5/18/23 he clocked in at 47.8 seconds from the gate (1/57). Since then, he’s been out one time over the CD strip covering 5/8 of a mile in 1:01.6 (15/21). Edgar Morales will be entrusted in the irons.
#8 – Hailstorm (5/1) – Steve Asmussen will tighten the girth on his second colt in here – he’s by Gun Runner and was home-bred by the Winchells. I find it very interesting that they had bred this guy’s dam to Gun Runner on two previous occasions, but sold both of them (a filly and a gelding – who are a combined 1/15 on the track, so far), before deciding to keep today’s runner. Mom is black-type and was 3 for 12 as a runner, earning almost a quarter million dollars and sporting a win at first asking (although it was a Mdn Claiming event at Laurel in August of her two-year old campaign). This guy has put forth a pretty typical workout pattern for Steve, having started his morning work efforts with three at Keeneland prior to vanning west on I-64 to work six more times at Churchill. His next to last drill on 5/21/23 was pretty brisk – 48 flat for 4f (9/107) before Asmussen turned him back to three panels for his most recent work (as he so often does). ‘Ole Reliable’, Ricardo Santana, Jr. will handle the reins.
Pick – #3 Call Me Andy – Wow, I feel like the proverbial ‘kid in the candy store’ with so many good choices. But, as I hope that you know by now, I make one pick and stick to it (well, I at least try to keep my ‘belly-aching’ to a minimum). Walsh does well at Churchill in the spring and I’m really excited that he’s been able to get Tyler Gaffalione to commit to be his rider. Add to that, as we talked about above, this Maryland bred was the highest selling yearling by Midshipmen in his crop of the 42 that hammered down in a public auction last year. In his last work he flashed some real potential and I can see him winning this one at a nice price. As of this writing, we show that he is not yet owned in the Game of Silks.
Belmont has a 2YO MSW race scheduled for Friday, but it only drew six entries. We’ll take a peek at it to determine whether or not it meets the demanding standards that we set for you, our wonderful readers. We’ll definitely be dropping a ‘Sum Up and Learnings’ piece to cover the post-race details of the event that we’ve teed up above, so don’t miss out on that. Thank you all for reading our ramblings and for also continuing to check out the great content that Jon and the fabulous team at ‘Past the Wire’ puts out. Take care, have fun and remember – Edgies Rule!