2YO Maiden Special Weight ‘Picks, Plays and Pontification’ – Saratoga, 08/19/2023

August 18, 2023

Saratoga, Race 1 & 2 – Saturday, August 19, 2023

By 2YO EdgeMan

SAR1:081923 – Six furlongs on the dirt.  The big dogs will be bangin heads in this one as we’ve got nine exciting colts entered to run.  All but two will be racing for the first time and the two that have raced have only done it previously on one occasion each.  It’s an excellent field with a couple of our runners having some very famous siblings.  The sire list is outstanding – two from Spendthrift Farm’s All World stallion, Into Mischief and one each from Gun Runner, Maclean’s Music, Tapiture, and Quality Road.  And not to be outdone, we’ve got two exciting debut sires – the mighty Mitole (Spendthrift) and Copper Bullet.  Bill Mott will saddle two and the following will tighten the girth on one apiece – Asmussen, Handal, Brown, Moquett, Shug and Motion.  I cannot wait for the gates to spring open for this one…

#1 – Risk It (4/1) – Right out of the gate comes a colt by Gun Runner, owned by Winchell & Three Chimney Farms and of course he’s trained by Asmussen.  They plunked down $500K to pick up this guy as a yearling at Keeneland September last fall (17/66).  His Broken Vow dam was two for nine on the track and earned $39,000 in purses, but she did score as a two-year-old in her third start in August at Monmouth.  She’s also thrown a filly who is now a 3YO that was victorious last year at two in her four attempts at Turfway Park (Equibase Speed Fig = 86).  This dude will be making his first attempt in the afternoon today and he’s got a total of 14 works posted – his first seven were clicked off at Keeneland, his next four were done at Churchill and his most recent three have been completed here at Saratoga.  These workouts have proven that he can motor – on 5/27/23 his last work at KEE, he rifled off a strong bullet – 47.2 seconds for a half mile (1/60) and the only time over the main SAR strip he ticked off 48.77 seconds for 4f on 8/2/23 (2/26).  Tyler will tickle the reins.

#3 – Hunt Ball (3/1) – If you are simply looking for the best-bred horse in this race, you don’t need to read any farther.  This colt is sired by the incredible Into Mischief and is out of a Tapit mare, Dance Card.  All she’s done is win north of $1/2 million, going 4 for 7, and she won a Grade 1 and also threw two horses that need no introduction – Cody’s Wish and Endorsed.  Today’s runner will be making his first start and he is a homebred from the powerful Godolphin outfit.  Prepping him is the Hall of Famer, Bill Mott, and he’s put ten workouts into this fella, all across Union Ave at the Oklahoma oval.  His times are not stellar, but he does have two, four furlong moves that were done in 12 seconds and change, per furlong.  No surprise, Junior Alvarado is entrusted to ride.

#4 – Middle Market (6/1) – Claiborne Farms and partners brings us this FTS Maclean’s Music colt, from a Mineshaft mare who banked $62,000 by going 2 for 16 while racing.  He was a $250K weanling purchase at the 2021 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale.  Like the three above, he’ll be making his debut today and his manager is Chad Brown.  He’s put in a dozen works, all right here at Saratoga – his first seven came on the training strip and the last five have been done over the main track (the last three have been moves of 5/8th of a mile).  This guy’s times have not been off the charts fast, but certainly solid and he does show potential.  Javier Castellano will get the leg up on this colt.

#6 – Act of Mutiny (5/1) – Quality Road is the proud papa of this colt and his mom won over $100K on the track, sporting a record of 2 for 15.  Where she’s done her real work is in the breeding shed as she claims the excellent Catalina Cruiser as one of her foals.  She also has two other dandies that she’s responsible for – one colt who won over $750K by going 7 for 24, including a G3 win and also a victory at first asking in July of his 2YO year at Ellis Park.  And if that ain’t enough, she had a filly who won both a G2 and a G3, $673K and also took home the top prize in her second race while two at AQU (EBSF = 90).  Today’s competitor is a W.S. Farish homebred and he’ll be giving racing a go for the first time today.  Conditioner McGaughey started his workout regime with eight sessions at Fair Hill, shipped him to Belmont for three more before coming west to Saratoga for five half mile drills over the Oklahoma dirt.  His last two works have been quite solid – both finished up right at 48 ½ seconds over 4f and both rank in the top 15% for the day at the distance.  Jose will be in the saddle.

#7 – Special Element (7/2) – Mott’s other runner is one of the two that has a run under his belt.  On 7/15/23 here at SAR, this colt ran third to the precocious TAP-trained ‘Pirate’, but was beaten by 7+ lengths.  He sold for $260K at the OBS Spring 2YO sale, which was the second highest selling in his crop from his sire, Copper Bullet, from the 11 that have sold as babies.  Mom put up an 88 EBSF to win at first asking in May of her 2YO campaign at Gulfstream Park and then backed that up two races later, in August, with a stakes score at GP, while still a juvenile.  Mott shipped him over to Belmont for three works – 4f, 5f and 4f – since his last race.  Jose Lezcano will be atop him for today’s affair.

#8 – Gypsy Mischief (8/1) – Into Mischief’s second son in this one is a firster who has never gone through a public auction sales ring.  His winless mom did, however, toss a gelding who snatched $269K in purses by winning eight times from the 35 tries that he made.  Graham Motion has been prepping him for this race by giving him ten workouts, half at Fair Hill and the other half at the SAR training track.  His last outing, just this past Wednesday, was a bullet – 48.44 seconds for a half mile breeze (1/17).  Manny Franco will be his captain.

Pick – #1 Risk It – How’d I land on him, you ask?  I threw a dart at the board.  Well, not quite, but I gotta tell you, picking just one of these fellas was hard work.  Gun Runner, Winchell / Three Chimneys, Asmussen and Tyler is a serious one, two, three, four, punch.  Add to that his mom won at two, as did his 3YO half sis.  I also love that he has so much base under him with 14 works.  And, judging by his works, he can clearly rock n’ roll – so, I’m going with him.  He’s been picked up in the Game of Silks, but his owner doesn’t show as it appears he/she has yet to register him.

SAR2:081923 – One Mile and 1/16th on the turf.  The race above is almost impossible to follow, but these colts are no slouches.  15 of them when into the entry hat, but five will have to hope for scratches.  Of the main field, half the field has experience and half does not – two have raced twice prior to today, three have done it once and five will be making their debut performance.  Maker (2), Shug, Bill Mott, Chad Brown, DeVaux and Kimmel all some of the standout trainers.  On the sire side, check out two from More Than Ready, American Pharoah, Frosted, Classic Empire and Lope de Vega.  Add to that list First-Crop Sires Flameaway and Spendthrift’s own Vino Rosso.  Let’s start breaking this thing down…

#2 – Tom Collins (4/1) – Owned and bred by Stuart Janney and the Philpps Stable, this colt is by Frosted and was thrown by a $164K winning dam by Tiznow who was 3 for 8 – she has also foaled two other runners that earned over $100K.  I’m sure that you guessed it already, but Shug trains this guy who started with four May workouts at Fair Hill, moved to Belmont for four more (two 1/7 bullets) and then vanned over here to The Spa for four more drills.  Joel Rosario will saddle up on this dude.

#4 – Buffoon (10/1) – His sire Lope de Vega put a juvenile in the Winner’s Circle over this distance on this surface here at SAR on 8/6/23.  His Irish bred mama only ran one time (unsuccessfully), but was originally sold for more than $1 million dollars as a yearling.  Today’s combatant brought $179,480 as a yearling at the Arqana August sale last summer (29/56).  He was bred in France and he’s yet to try his racing acumen, but he’s got a solid trainer in Mike Maker.  He’s put up ten total works, the first five coming in Lexington (two at The Thoroughbred Center and three at Keeneland), before shipping the short way to the All-Weather surface at Turfway Park for five more drills.  Timewise, he has a couple small bullets, both over 5/8th at TP – 1:00.8 and 1:01.4.  Ruben Silvera has been tapped to guide him.

#5 – Dancing Groom (6/1) – This is one of the three in the main field that has raced one time before.  It was not an impressive outing – he was 6 of 10 on the dirt here at SAR back on 7/22/23.  He is by the wonderful 1CS – Vino Rosso – and from a mare by Bernardini who never found the Winner’s Circle.  Today’s dude was sold at OBS March as a 2YO for $60,000 (26/59).  He’s worked five furlongs here on the main strip twice since his run.  Trainer Antonio Sano has secured the services of Irad, which is quite interesting.

#6 – Walley World (7/2) – The M/L favorite is a firster from the barn of Chad Brown and he’s by the late More Than Ready.  His Uncle Mo dam was 0 for 3 on the track and this is her first foal.  He demanded $220K at the KEE Sept Yearling sale last year.  After two breezes at a local facility, this guy put down roots here in Saratoga in late May / early June and has been out for ten morning prep sessions – the first seven across the street at Oklahoma and the most recent three on the main track.  For the most part, his times have been reasonable, but not flashy – other than a strong bullet back on 6/12/23 when he zipped three poles in 36.84 seconds (1/58).  Flavien Prat will be in charge when the gates open.

#8 – Blast Furnace (5/1) – Cherie DeVaux sends out this colt for his third race of his young career.  He started in late April on Keeneland’s turf with a second place finish to the fine juvenile – Fandom.  He then traveled to south Florida and ran at GP in May on their grass oval.  On that day he ran a pretty flat fourth, only beaten by 4+ lengths.  Since then, he has worked six times at The Spa’s training course – the first four on the lawn and the last two over the dirt.  His most recent work, last Sunday, was pretty swift.  He traveled a half mile in 48.66 seconds, good for 6 of 46 workers at that distance there that day.  Tyler has committed to slip his boots into the irons.

Pick – #4 Buffoon – Honestly, nothing is jumping off the page at me screaming, ‘Pick me, pick me’, but I do like his dad – and his mama, although a bust on the track, she was obviously highly thought of to sell for north of a million bucks.  Maker is only 1 for 26 with these babies in MSW races here at this year’s Saratoga meet, however, I think he’s due for another ‘W’.  No disrespect, but I think his selection of riders is a bit odd today – but I’ll be cheering.  He’s another one that is still in the pool at the Game of Silks – just think, you could mint a horse and end up with this dandy. 

Two really good races today, but the first is a ‘can’t miss’.  I’m confident that you’ll see some of these guys competing at the stakes level this fall and who knows, you may even see one or two at Santa Anita in early November in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile or Juvie Turf.  Enjoy – and stay safe and well.  Thanks for your devotion to our articles and to this great website, my Edgie Partisans.

Contributing Authors

The 2YO Edge Man, Past The Wire

The 2YO EdgeMan

The 2YO EdgeMan started following horse racing when his family moved to Louisville, KY when he was 9 years old.  The story goes that he...

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@jonathanstettin Your article re reading when a horse dead on board made me some $ just now. Untapable was, IMO, odds-on, but dead. TY!

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