2YO Maiden Special Weight ‘Picks, Plays and Pontification’ – Churchill Downs, 09/22/2023

September 21, 2023

Churchill Downs, Race 5 – Thursday, September 22, 2023

By 2YO EdgeMan

I’ve made the decision that it’s time to tweak the format of this piece a bit. My goal is to provide you with even more insight on data that you can not typically find in the past performances – in other words, more of the info that would take you some digging to obtain and somewhat less of the info that is readily available, other than to set the table with an overview of the race details (distance, surface, the number of starters, ‘open’ vs fillies only and a breakdown of First-Time Starters vs Non-FTS). We’ll continue to list Morning Line odds and also cover workout history since the horses last outing and also if they are a FTS (since many PP services only show the most recent five or six works). So, the bottom line is that if you use our piece in conjunction with the PPs, you should be loaded for bear. Please provide us with your feedback on our changes – if you like what you see and it works better for you, great!  If you preferred the ‘old format’, that’s fine, too – please just let us know. Our goal is always learn and improve. 

CD5:092223 – Seven furlongs on the dirt. Nine colts – seven firsters and two juveniles that have run one time.

#2 – Top Gun Rocket (5/1) – Trainer Riley Mott will be saddling his first two-year-old in a Maiden Special Weight race under the Twin Spires in September as he has just hung out his own shingle just last fall. Hence, there is not much data to go on for him, but it’s likely that he’ll be quite patient with the babies as the bulk of his education came as the assistant to his Hall of Fame father, Bill Mott. The overall numbers bear that out, as he is 1 for 18 with 2YO MSW firsters, so far in his young career. This colt is a Frank Fletcher homebred sired by Into Mischief. His dam earned $136K by going 4 for 14 on the track, including a win at two in her first asking and also a win at the G3 level while a juvenile. She’s thrown two foals that also won the first time that they ever competed – on did it at Saratoga with an 81 Equibase Speed Figure and the other (a full sibling) accomplished the feat right here at Churchill Downs with a sparkling 92 EBSF. All told, she produced three runners that cashed in for $100K+ in prize money. Mott has put this guy through his morning paces eleven times (the first at Ellis Park on 6/13/23 and the last ten at Churchill’s training facility). More than half of his works have been bullets (6), including his next to last from the gate.

#3 – Blue Line (12/1) – Another first-time starter, this guy comes out of the Asmussen barn who is a surprising low 4 for 35 (11.4%) with debut runners in these 2YO MSW races here at Churchill in September from 2018 thru 2022. This colt hammered for $175K as a yearling at the Fasig-Tipton KY August Sale last year (8/71). He is the only foal so far from his dam who won over a $1/4 million, with a record of 4 for 14, including a stakes victory. He breezed one time back in May at KEE and then started back up under the Twin Spires in late August to bring his workout total to five. 

Todd Pletcher. (Walter Wlodarczyk)

#4 – Muazarah (4/1) – This fella is a Shadwell Farm homebred from a mare that only ran three times but made her way to the Winner’s Circle twice with total purse money of $71,000. TAP trains this colt – he’s only started a total of three babies over the previous five years in these races in September here at Churchill and is 0 for 3. This will be the second start of this juvenile’s young career – his first was on 8/27/23 at Ellis Park, going off at odds of 7.77/1. After starting at the back of the pack, he picked off a few runners to finish third of seven, 2 ¼ lengths shy of the winner, who has yet to run back. He does have two works over today’s strip since his last run and his most recent was 5/8th of a mile in 1:00.6 (5/42). 

Eddie Kenneally. (Keeneland Photo)

#6 – Warheaded (8/1) – By Candy Ride, out of an unraced Animal Kingdom mare who has only foaled one other who is winless, this colt is conditioned by Eddie Kenneally. He is looking for his first win here in September dating back 20 starts – to 2018. This dude went through the auction ring at OBS earlier this year in March as a 2YO when he ended with a bid of $140K (5/13). He’s never seen the track in the afternoon but has put in nine works over in Lexington at Keeneland, racking up a total of 37 furlongs. His swiftest work was 47.2 seconds on 8/12/23 when he traveled a half mile (3/42).

Steve Asmussen. (MJC Photo)

#8 – Informed Patriot (3/1) – This is the second of two colts that Asmussen will saddle in this one and he comes by way of Hard Spun. His mama banked $127K while a race mare, was 3 for 10 lifetime and won in her first attempt during her two-year-old campaign at Saratoga and posted a nifty 88 EBSF. She has also produced a full brother to today’s runner that you’ve likely heard of – Spun to Run. All that he accomplished was a victory in the 2019 G1 Big Ass Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita, along with a Grade 3 score, three other wins and a bankroll of $1.16 million in 12 appearances on the race track. Today will be the second race for this fella who sold as a yearling at KEE Sept for $90,000 (26/69). His first effort was on 8/12/23 up at Saratoga when he faded to fourth in the seven-furlong event, after leading by a half length after a half mile in 45.91 seconds (22.77 seconds for the first quarter). Neither the winner or third place finisher in that one have run back yet, but the runner up did compete at Belmont at the Big A last Saturday where he again was runner up, but posted an outstanding 96 EBSF. Today’s runner has put in three works in upstate NY after his race, one covered four panel and the most recent two covered five. 

Brad Cox. (MJC photo)

#9 – Masmak (9/2) – One of the seven colts making his debut today, this colt is from Spendthrift Farm’s exciting First-Crop Sire – Vino Rosso. His 18YO dam was 1 for 10 with earnings of $85,000, but she has thrown two foals that won big money. One gelding went 7 for 29 and claimed north of a $1/2 million in purse money and a colt – Three Technique – has won six times, including a win as a 2YO in SAR and also at the ALW level at Aqueduct in 31 tries for a total of $808K in earnings. After RNAing for ‘only’ $70,000 as a yearling last September at Keeneland, they brought him to Ocala in April as a two-year-old and he fetched $475K, the second most of any 2YO from his daddy this year in the 59 that have sold. Hometown hero – Brad Cox – will sling the saddle across this guy and he’s won nearly 25% of time (10 for 41) with FTS in these races at CD in September going back to 2018. 

Pick – #2 Top Gun Rocket – this colt has been working fast and I really like the precocity of his dam side – I also am a fan of his owner – Frank Fletcher Racing Operations. His sire – Into Mischief – ain’t too shabby, either. I definitely expect Riley to be patient like his dad, but that does not mean he’ll never win with runners in their debut and I’m hoping that this one may bring a decent price with many betters likely getting too excited about big name trainers such as Asmussen, Pletcher and Cox. This dude is yet another example of an exciting prospect that is just waiting to be minted in the Game of Silks.

@jonathanstettin That was damn near evangelical. You’re one of the few experts a novice like me can depend on. Keep up the good work!

Chris LaPort (@alloutdrive) View testimonials