2YO Maiden Special Weight ‘Picks, Plays and Pontification’ – Kentucky Downs, 08/31/2023

August 30, 2023

Kentucky Downs, Race 1 – Thursday, August 31, 2023

By 2YO EdgeMan

KD1:083123 – Six and a half furlongs (on the grass, of course since there is no dirt here at KD).  Anxious to get this meet rolling.  However, if you blink you’ll miss it as it only lasts for seven days.  They are offering a purse of $150K for our Two-Year-Old MSW races this year and the Condition’s Book indicates they’ve got 15 of them on tap.  This meet is sure to be a lot of fun and this first race of 2023 at KD certainly should be, too.  We’ve got an entry box that was filled to the brim with 16 filly’s names.  Four will sit tight on the sidelines and hope to get into the field via the AE list.  We’ve got five gals who will be trying their hand (er, hoof) at racing for the first time in their lives, four that have been out once, two that have done this twice and one wily veteran whose already put in four afternoon runs.  Did any good trainers find their way to Franklin, KY?  Indeed, they did – M. Casse, McPeek, Walsh, Maker, Sharp, N. Casse, DeVaux.  And how bout good sires?  We’ve got them, too – two from Twirling Candy and one apiece from Mendelssohn, Gun Runner, Kitten’s Joy, Frosted, Hard Spun, More Than Ready and Uncle Mo.  I can’t wait!  Let’s get this done…

#1 – Saltwater Taffy (4/1) – This filly has already been out in the afternoon twice and her last race at Ellis Park over their turf course was a big improvement from her first effort on dirt.  In her most recent on 8/1/23, she didn’t break well, but moved quickly into contention, just a few lengths behind the pacesetter.  She slowly lost ground on the leader, but still stayed on for a runner up finish, four+ lengths behind.  This gal is the first of the two in here from Twirling Candy and she is the first foal from an unraced War Front mare.  At the Keeneland September Sale last fall, this filly brought $165K as a yearling (27/82).  Trainer Mark Casse has pumped two half mile works into her, both at ELP, since her last run – both were done in 48.6 seconds.  Adam Beschizza will get the mount for the first time on this juvenile.

#5 – Bundchen (5/2) – The Morning Line favorite is a heavy hitter from the Wesley Ward barn.  This filly’s proud papa is the excellent sire – Gun Runner – and her broodmare sire is WinStar Farm’s, Speightstown.  She was unraced and she’s only had one other offspring – a 3YO filly by Candy Ride who is winless in her young career.  Conditioner Wesley Ward signed the ticket on today’s runner for the tidy sum of $700K (11/66) at the Fasig Tipton October Yearling sale with her ownership then moving to Three Chimney’s Farm.  She’s got two runs under her belt – the first was all the way back in late April at Keeneland when she ran second with an excellent 82 Equibase Speed Figure.  This race gave WW the confidence to ship her over to Royal Ascot for the Queen Mary Stakes (Group 2), however, that race didn’t go well – she finished 22nd of 26 runners.  After the race, she was shipped back to Lexington where she put in two drills in July and then shipped up to Saratoga.  While on the grounds at the Spa, this gal put in two five furlong works over the turf training track and one on the dirt strip at Oklahoma.  Her latest spin over the grass on 8/13/23 was done in 1:00.8 (5/23).  Tyler Gaffalione has been tapped to be in the saddle for the first time.

#7 – Buttercream Babe (6/1) – The second of the Twirling Candy fillies is a firster from the yard of Mike Maker.  Her dam, by Mr. Greeley, banked $162K on the racetrack with a 4 for 27 record.  Today’s runner was put up for auction at OBS Spring as a 2YO and demanded $180K ( ).  To prep, Maker has had her out a total of 11 times – the first five at KEE and then six more up at Saratoga.  She’s definitely flashed speed on a few occasions, with probably her best coming on 6/4/23 at KEE when she breezed a half mile in 47.6 seconds (3/65).  Geroux will be aboard for her debut.

#9 – Sarah’s Dream (12/1) – Norm Casse trains this filly by Hard Spun and she’s raced once, at Ellis Park on the dirt back on 7/30/23.  On that day, she chased the leader from the inside, but failed to run down the front runner, ultimately finishing third beaten by three lengths.  Going back to the sales ring, this gal sold for the reasonable sum of $30,000 as a yearling at Keeneland September (56/69).  Since her race, she’s worked twice at Churchill Downs, both at four furlongs.  Her most recent was brisk – on 8/17/23 she covered the ground in 47.6 seconds (2/27).  Martin Garcia gets the opportunity to pilot, again.

#12 – Auraculous (10/1) – This daughter of Uncle Mo is prepped by Cherie DeVaux.  She, too, has been to battle one time at Ellis Park back on 7/31/23.  That was a six furlong dirt affair, but she didn’t break well and never really got rolling, finishing 6th of 10 – maybe the move to the lawn will help her today?  As you would expect being by Uncle Mo, she sold well as a yearling, bringing $370K last September at KEE (30/95).  DeVaux has put her back to work one time since her afternoon run, when she went four poles at ELP in 49 seconds flat (3/12).  Christian Torres will be back in the saddle for a chance to ride her for the second time.

Pick – #5 Bundchen – Ward has the highest number of winners in our 2YO MSW races at Kentucky Downs going back to 2018 (8) – he’s started 20 juveniles for a strike rate of 20% and a positive ROI of $2.08.  Specifically, with Non First-Time Starters, he’s 5 for 21 (23.8%) with an ROI of $2.42.  Maker has had seven wins in ‘our races’ over the same time period.  Hopefully, the experience that this filly got over at Royal A will help her in this one.  WW appears to have been training her up to this race and I like that he’s going with Tyler.  This girl is still available in the pool at the Game of Silks.

Lots more action right around the corner, so stay tuned.  We appreciate your support and please let me know how we can continue to add value to you in these maiden juvie affairs.  Take Care.

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