2YO Maiden Special Weight ‘Picks, Plays and Pontification’ – Churchill Downs, 09/30/2023

September 29, 2023

Churchill Downs, Race 5 – Saturday, September 30, 2023

By 2YO EdgeMan

CD5:093023 – One Mile on the dirt.  Twelve fillies.  Half of the field has never previously run in the afternoon.  Two have raced once, two have been out twice, one has done it three times and one has already competed four times.  It feels like it’s a somewhat wide-open field, so we are gonna break down eight of these young ladies…

#1 – Bump in the Night (15/1) – One of the six FTSers, this filly was a $70,000 RNA last fall at the Keeneland September Yearling sale.  She has a 4YO full bro, also by Ghostzapper, that has been victorious in three of his seven starts, with earnings of $163K.  Trainer John Alexander Ortiz (winless in 12 starts at this level in September at Churchill dating back to 2018) has put her through her morning paces twelve times – eight at Ellis Park and four here at Churchill Downs.  Four of her last five breezes have covered 5/8th of a mile, but none of this gal’s drills have lit up the stopwatch.

#3 – Noriskit Nobiscuit (5/1) – Conditioner Tom Amoss (his only winner in 22 starts at this level at CD in Sept since 2018 was last year when Hoosier Philly won) started her twice this summer up at the Spa, but she wasn’t close to the money in either event and she went off at elevated odds in both (17/1 and 36/1).  Joel Politi picked up this gal last September at Keeneland when he plunked down $200K on her as a yearling (30/87).  Amoss shipped her into CD after her last start on 9/3/23 and has given her two more works – her most recent was done in 1:00.4 for five panels (5/31).

#5 – Thorny (12/1) – This Violence filly was originally purchased for only $80,000 as a weanling back in the fall of 2021 at Keeneland (4/9), but when she went through the ring this past September at KEE, she demanded $325K – the most of the 37 total yearlings sold in 2022 by her dad.  She’ll be making her first start today, but Anthony Hamilton, Jr. (2 for 19, 10.5%) has prepped her with eleven total works – the first two over three furlongs at Silverleaf Hills Training Center, then six more at Keeneland and most recently, three under the majestic Twin Spires (all four at a half mile).  The first time that she saw the Keeneland strip (on 7/29/23), she went three poles in 36 seconds flat for a nice bullet move (1/33).  

#7 – Starina (10/1) – Yet another firster, this one is by Candy Ride and is trained by Wayne Catalano (0 for 14).  She’s a homebred from Coffee Pot stables that is out of a 23-year-old mare who was a fine runner but truly shined in the breeding shed.  Her record on the track was 4 for 20 with earnings of $134K, including a win as a 2YO in her third start at Fair Grounds.  And if my count is right, she’s produced six offspring that won north of $100K, with two of them winning more than a million.  One of those two huge earners was Carpe Diem, who obviously has gone on to a successful career as a stallion.  Today’s filly should know the CD oval well, as she has worked over it 16 times.  Four of her last six moves have been five furlongs, but her times have not been overly fast.  

#8 – Pursuit of Liberty (7/2) – Brad Cox (13 for 60, 21.7%) will tighten the girth on this filly for the second time in the afternoon as she debuted on 8/18/23 at Ellis Park.  On that day, she led for the first half mile in that 7-furlong event before tiring a bit late to finish third in the 11-horse field, beaten by five lengths.  She is by Constitution and her dam, by Empire Maker, won $79,000 on the track, with a record of 2 for 8.  She is responsible for one runner who banked more than $100K.  The sharp ownership group (who also own impressive recent 2YO MSW winner, Alpine Princess) went to $170K earlier this spring for her as a 2YO at Ocala’s March baby sale (9/29) after she sold for ‘only’ $50,000 as a yearling at KEE Sept (91/105).  Cox has sent this gal out for three, 4f works – all at ELP – since her race and she picks up this meet’s leading rider, Tyler Gaffalione.  

#9 – Murphy’s Gift (12/1) – Yet another one who will be making her first-ever start, this filly is trained by Brendan Walsh (3 for 42, 7.1%) and sired by Street Sense.  Mom pulled down $271K in purse money on the track, fashioned a 5 for 22 record, and finished in bold type by winning a stakes event.  Today’s filly was a $235K pickup at the April OBS Sale for two-year-olds (6/13).  She boasts 13 total works, with her first three coming in Lexington at Keeneland followed by ten more here at CD.  She’s put up a few nice clockings, including a five-panel bullet move on 8/25/23 when she went in 1:00.6 (1/28).

#10 – My Favorite Girl (4/1) – Trainer Kenny McPeek (9 for 49, 18.4%) sends filly right back into action after completing her initial race just over two weeks ago under the Twin Spires.  That one was done around two turns – 1 1/16 miles – and she ran a game race, coming up only 1 ¾ lengths short for a third-place showing at odds of 5/2.  On the breeding side, Connect is her proud papa and her mom could only muster one win from six tries and $49,000.  In the auction ring, she hammered for $75,000 as a yearling at the Fasig-Tipton October sale in KY (8/53).  No time for workouts since her last run.

#12 – Lady Moscato (3/1) – The Morning Line favorite is also the most experienced runner in this field having been out on four previous occasions.  In fact, her last was in Grade 1 company at Saratoga when she faced off on 9/3/23 against eight other runners in the Spinaway where she finished well back at odds of 24/1 in 7th place.  Quality Road is her sire.  Her Dixie Union dam won twice in ten efforts and cashed in for $52,000 of prize money.  In addition to a winner of over $100K, she has also foaled a filly who went 4 for 11 and earned $688K, including both a G1 and G2 score.  BC Stables shelled out the big bucks for this filly when they went to $800K to secure her out of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.  Conditioner D. Wayne Lukas (2 for 34, 5.9%) has found time to drill two more 5/8th of a mile breezes into her here at Churchill since her stakes appearance.  

Pick – #8 Pursuit of Liberty – It’s a challenging field, but I think that this gal will likely have benefited from her debut and I really appreciate the fact that Cox is putting Tyler in the saddle.  The three works that she’s had since her last run will surely help put some additional base under her and she may just wire the field today.  One mile is a tricky distance at this level, but I think Cox has her ready to roll.  Lastly, you loyal Edgies know that I’m a big fan of Constitution and he’s having a dynamite year with the babies.  Best of luck to the proud owners of this gal in the Game of Silks – Tropical Stables.

Nice Pick at the Big A. Thanks!

Jon Bercher @JBercher View testimonials