Broodmare Watch: Gemini Dream

Gemini Dream is entered to run for a $4,500 claiming tag in the fourth race on Saturday’s Charles Town Oaks card, and she will be the focus of today’s Broodmare Watch.

Gemini Dream

Gemini Dream – Girolamo x Oscega (Unreal Zeal)

This daughter of Girolamo is a half-sister to Carnival Chrome (by Carnivalay), a multiple stakes winner in WV-bred races, including three wins in the Sadie Hawkins Handicap and a victory in the 2007 WV Cavada Breeders’ Classic Stakes. Carnival Chrome has also produced the multiple WV-bred stakes winner Chrome Mine (by Mineshaft). I believe it’s worth noting that Mineshaft and Girolamo are bred very similarly, both being sons of A.P. Indy out of daughters of Mr. Prospector, and with both of their 2nd dams being by Northern Dancer. Additionally, their 5th dams – So Chic and Glamour – are full sisters by Nasrullah and out of 1961 Broodmare of the Year Striking (herself a granddaughter of La Troienne).

Another sibling, Regal Company (by Langfuhr), earned $185,784 in a 41-start career that included eleven wins from ages 3-8 and two runner-up finishes in the WV Dash For Cash Breeders’ Classic Stakes (at ages 4 and 6).

Gemini Dream shows a very interesting pattern of inbreeding – Mr. Prospector 3×3, with an additional cross of Raise a Native in the fourth generation making her inbred 4x4x4 to that stallion, and the great Buckpasser 5x5x5.

I can’t discuss a daughter of Girolamo without discussing the additional sources of La Troienne that surface in this filly. La Troienne appears five times in Girolamo’s pedigree, and he’s inbred 4×4 to Buckpasser and 5×5 to Glamour, both members of family 1-x themselves. Oscega brings to the table another instance of Buckpasser, as well as Dr. Fager (whose damsire, Better Self, was by La Troienne’s Hall of Fame son Bimelech) and Cohoes (a grandson of La Troienne).

This filly has only won 3 of her 29 starts to date, but she shows a great deal of consistency, having hit the board without a win on 13 occasions, and rounding out the superfecta an additional 5 times. Of course, this is against the lowest level of competition at Charles Town, but I believe she’s shown enough ability that, combined with her pedigree, she has potential as a producer.

Hypothetical Matings

 

Golden Years x Gemini Dream

Golden Years – Not For Love x Sweet Annuity (Oh Say) |  $1,500 LF

I’ve already talked about this stallion’s female family in great detail, and I always love stallions that come from good families. Golden Years himself was a very talented runner, winning three of his five lifetime starts, including the Maryland Million Nursery and Marylander Stakes at age two. The first of his two defeats was a 4th in the James F. Lewis III Stakes to G3 winner Cinco Charlie, eventual MGSP Majestic Affair, and Senor Grits, who would go on to win an AOC and finish third in the G2 Swale in his two subsequent starts. The second was his final start, a third-place effort in the Miracle Wood Stakes, defeating Bodhisattva, who would win the Federico Tesio Stakes in his next outing before being trounced by American Pharoah in the Preakness.

The most alluring part of Golden Years, though, is his sire, Not for Love, who is a full brother to the dam of Girolamo. I love this inbreeding pattern, and it’s one that has long been considered prolific – the crossing of two full siblings of opposite sex.

Golden Years entered stud in 2017 and stood the 2018 season for $1,500 at O’Sullivan Farms in West Virginia. I think that he matches well with Gemini Dream, and could see a pairing like this producing a useful WV-bred runner.

 

Redeemed x Gemini Dream

Redeemed – Include x Early Mass (Pleasant Tap) | $3,000 LFSN

Redeemed only finished off the board once in his 13-race career that was highlighted by wins in the 2012 Brooklyn Handicap (G2) as the highweight, as well as two G3 victories in the Discovery Handicap and Greenwood Cup Stakes. Horses he defeated include the likes of multiple G1 winner To Honor And Serve, MG1W and Preakness winner Shackleford, MG1W Flat Out, Belmont Stakes winner Ruler on Ice, G1W Justin Phillip, MGSW Alternation, MGSW Prayer For Relief, and MGSW Eldaafer, among others. He was a very versatile racehorse, as well, finishing 2nd to eventual Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Caleb’s Posse in the 6 1/2 furlong Amsterdam Stakes in his stakes debut (defeating Wine Police[MGSP], To Honor And Serve[MG1W], Justin Phillip[G1W], Arch Traveler [GSP] and Travelin Man [GSW)), and going on to win the 1 1/2 mile Brooklyn Handicap as a four-year-old the following year.

Redeemed’s pedigree is an appealing match for Gemini Dream primarily by virtue of his dam’s family. Both the sire and damsire of Early Mass are by stallions from family 1-x. Additionally. though, she is inbred 3×4 to the full brothers His Majesty and Graustark. Redeemed’s sire Include is inbred to the excellent producer Hidden Talent 4×5. While the only inbreeding in the first five generations of his pedigree is Turn-To’s appearance 5x5x5 on his sire’s side. However, the great Ribot appears 6x6x5x6, and the blue hen mare Pocahontas appears 6×6, as the dam of both Tom Rolfe (by Ribot) and Chieftain (by Bold Ruler).

A foal from this pairing only shows inbreeding to Mr. Prospector 4Dx4D, Northern Dancer 5Sx5D, and Raise a Native 5Dx5Dx5D. Further back, however, quite a few more emerge – Rough N Tumble, the sire of Dr. Fager, is 6Sx6Dx7D. Hail to Reason is 5Sx7D; Tom Fool 6Sx7Dx7Dx7D; Nasrullah 7Sx7Dx7Dx7D; Bold Ruler is 7Sx7Dx6D. I really think like the linebreeding in this pedigree, with a number of excellent mares appearing multiple times on both sides of the pedigree.

 

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Broodmare Watch: Clem Gem

For over a year now, I’ve casually perused claiming races with an eye on the pedigrees of claiming-level mares that I think have broodmare potential. I’ve decided to share these mares with the public, along with a few hypothetical matings that I find interesting. The first edition of this will be focusing on the mare Clem Gem: a Maryland-bred mare whose earned over $100,000 competing in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Yesterday, her 4th dam Lady Winborne had another descendant become a graded stakes winner with Fashion Business’ impressive win in the G2 Del Mar Handicap.

Clem Gem – 2012 Flatter x Debbie’s Diamond (Silver Charm)

  •  3/4 to SW Debbie’s Tude (Aptitude), SP If I Was A Boy (Jump Start)
  •  dam 1/2 SW Flower Lady (Flower Alley), SW Crosscheck Carlos (Custom For Carlos)
  •  2nd dam SP Weepnomoremylady (Summer Squall)
  •  4th dam GSP/multiple graded stakes producer Lady Winborne (ancestress of Lost Soldier, Al Mamoon, Icon Project, Munnings, Master Command, et al)

This 6-year-old Maryland-bred mare is owned and trained by Mitchell Rappaport, who claimed her back in February of 2016. Her most recent win came in June of last year, when she won a $7,500 waiver claiming race at Presque Isle Downs. Subsequently, she was noncompetitive in two allowance races at Laurel Park, and was not seen again until July 8th of 2018, where she returned to finish last in an allowance N1X as Presque Isle, a performance she replicated on August 2nd at the same level. Despite these poor efforts in 2018, this mare has respectable earnings of $112,852 in her 36-start career, and she has hit the board in a third of those races (with four wins), and she is competitive when she’s spotted correctly.

Clem Gem’s performance on the track is obviously not what draws me to her; it’s her pedigree. She is a daughter of Flatter and out of a mare by Silver Charm, and her second dam was by Summer Squall, which means that she has the half-siblings A.P. Indy and Summer Squall (both out of Weekend Surprise) 2×3. Weekend Surprise was by Secretariat and out of a Buckpasser mare, and both of those stallions make additional appearances in Clem Gem’s pedigree – Buckpasser as the grandsire of Silver Charm, and Secretariat as the sire of Clem Gem’s fourth dam, Lady Winborne.

Clem Gem is a member of La Troienne’s family 1-x, and Lady Winborne is a great example of the kind of producers this family is known for, as the dam of five graded stakes winners (including Australian champion Born Wild) and five stakes producers. She’s the second dam of four multiple graded stakes winners (including the likes of G1 winner Icon Project and MGSW millionaire Master Command), and the third dam of an additional five graded stakes winners (including millionaire and G1 winner Honor In War).

Clem Gem’s sire, Flatter, is also a member of family 1-x hailing from La Troienne’s Hall of Fame granddaughter Searching, who appears twice in the 6th generation of Clem Gem’s pedigree. As previously mentioned, Buckpasser appears three times in Clem Gem’s pedigree, himself a great-grandson of La Troienne. Additionally, the stallion Poker appears 5×4 in her pedigree, as the broodmare sire of both Seattle Slew and Silver Charm. Poker’s 4th dam was La Troienne. Overall, the great matriarch of family 1-x appears eight times in Clem Gem’s pedigree.

If you’re looking for proven performance a bit closer up in the female family, Debbie’s Diamond has also produced stakes winner Debbie’s Tude (by Aptitude) and stakes-placed winner If I Was A Boy (by Jump Start) – who is actually entered today in Laurel Park’s Jameela Stakes, and is herself a half sister to two stakes winners. Her second dam, Weepnomoremylady, was stakes placed as well.

Hypothetical Matings

If I owned Clem Gem, there are a few different stallions I would be looking at as potential mates for her. I’ll discuss three possibilities here – two stallions at the mid-range price of $25,000 and one bargain option for under $10,000.

Liam’s Map – Unbridled’s Song – Miss Macy Sue, by Trippi | $25,000 LFSN

A “20×20” mating according to G1 Goldmine, the hypothetical foal from this mating would be bred similarly to the likes of Eight Belles and Forever Unbridled – Eight Belles (from this same female family 1-x) was a daughter of Unbridled’s Song and out of Away, who was by Dixieland Band (a son of Northern Dancer) and out of a Mr. Prospector mare. Therefore, those two superior stallions appear 3×3 in the bottom half of Eight Belles’ pedigree. This foal would have Mr. Prospector in the fourth generation and Northern Dancer in the 5th and 6th generations on the damside. Both Eight Belles and Clem Gem trace tail-female to La Troienne’s daughter Big Hurry; Clem Gem descends from her daughter Searching (by War Admiral), whereas Eight Belles descends from her daughter No Fiddling (by King Cole).

Forever Unbridled’s pedigree mirrors this hypothetical foal in a different way. Also by the sire of Liam’s Map, Forever Unbridled was out of the Lemon Drop Kid mare Lemons Forever. There are some interesting parallels between the pedigrees of Lemon Drop Kid and Flatter. Lemon Drop Kid is by Kingmambo and out of the mare Charming Lassie. Charming Lassie was by Seattle Slew and out of the Buckpasser mare Lassie Dear. A.P. Indy, the sire of Flatter, was by Seattle Slew and out of Lassie Dear’s daughter Weekend Surprise (by Secretariat).

Going back to Kingmambo, he was a son of Mr. Prospector and out of the great Miesque, herself by Northern Dancer’s son Nureyev. Praise, the dam of Flatter, is by Mr. Prospector and out of a Northern Dancer mare. This creates an interesting mirrored effect between the pedigrees of the two stallions – Flatter’s sire comes from crossing Seattle Slew with Lassie Dear, whereas that is the pedigree of the dam of Lemon Drop Kid. The opposite holds true as well – Flatter’s dam comes from the prolific Mr. Prospector x Northern Dancer cross, as does the sire of Lemon Drop Kid.

Liam’s Map himself is also a great source of additional strains of La Troienne, with her appearing six times in his pedigree, most notably perhaps via the great racemare Ta Wee, who is the 5th dam of Liam’s Map, as well as the dam of Great Above, who sired Liam’s Map’s 2nd dam Yada Yada. Thus, she appears 4×5 on the dam side of Liam’s Map’s pedigree. She is a source of La Troienne via her damsire, Better Self, a rare male line influence of La Troienne (being by her champion and Hall of Fame son Bimelech)

Maclean’s Music – Distorted Humor – Forest Music, by Unbridled’s Song | $25,000 LFSN

Another “20×20” rated mating, Maclean’s Music would be my top choice of mates for Clem Gem. Distorted Humor has had 3 stakes winners from 8 runners carrying Admiring in their tail-female line. Multiple graded stakes winner Ironicus is by Distorted Humor and out of Meghan’s Joy, an A.P. Indy mare out of a daughter of Wild Applause. Flatter, of course, is also by A.P. Indy and out of a daughter of Wild Applause. Meghan’s Joy has also produced G3 winner Hunting by Coronado’s Quest, a son of Distorted Humor’s sire Forty Niner. G2 winner Dramedy and G3 winner Brethren are also sons of Distorted Humor from family 1-x, being out of the full siblings She’s a Winner and Supercharger, respectively. They come from the branch of the family descending from La Troienne’s daughter Baby League, but both are bred on the same exact pattern as Flatter: by A.P. Indy, with their dams being by Mr. Prospector and second dams by Northern Dancer.

Distorted Humor’s Kentucky Derby-winning son Funny Cide was out of a mare named Belle’s Good Cide, by Slewacide (a son of Seattle Slew) and out of a mare by Little Current, the sire of Clem Gem’s 3rd dam, Lady Lady. G1 winners Any Given Saturday, Joking, Luke’s Alley, and Cloud Computing are all by Distorted Hunor or his sons and out of mares by A.P. Indy, and Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Mongolian Saturday is by Any Given Saturday and out of a mare by Houston, another son of Seattle Slew.

Holy Boss – Street Boss – Holy Grace, by Holy Bull | $4,000 LFSN

Also “20×20” according to G1 Goldmine, this cross is probably the most realistic, and it’s surprisingly interesting. Holy Boss is out of a mare by Holy Bull, who was by the previously mentioned Great Above and out of a mare by Al Hattab, himself a son of The Axe, whose third dam was La Troienne. Buckpasser appears as the sire of his 3rd dam, Sooni. Holy Boss has one more source of La Troienne from his sire Street Boss. Street Boss was out of a mare by Ogygian, who was out of a mare by Francis S, who is also a fourth-generation descendant of family 1-x.

The foal resulting from this mating would be bred on a similar cross to Callback, a G1 winner by Street Sense and out of a daughter of the aforementioned Supercharger. Street Boss’ multiple graded stakes winning son Hence was out of mare by A.P. Indy whose dam was by Mr. Prospector and second dam was by Northern Dancer. Street Boss’s daughter Catherine Sophia was out of a Mineshaft mare. Mineshaft was by A.P. Indy and out of a Mr. Prospector mare, and he is also a stallion that descends directily from La Troienne, making him similarly bred to Flatter.

Kentucky Derby Day 2018 – Pick 6 Sequence Analysis (races 6-11)

Race 7: The Churchill Distaff Turf Mile – 11-2-9

This race is #11 La Coronel’s race to lose. She’s winless in three starts since the Queen Elizabeth II at the Keeneland fall meet, but has not embarrassed herself in those races, finishing second by four lengths, third by 3/4 of a length, and fourth by three lengths. Even so, her speed figures are the best in the field and she is a classy filly with the tactical speed to position herself well behind expected pacesetter #10 Psycho Sister. However, she’s far from invincible in a race with plenty of other talented fillies and mares, and my top pick to upset her is #2 Thundering Sky. She hasn’t been off the board in her three 2018 starts so far, and is another filly in this race with enough speed to secure decent position in the early stages of this mile on the turf. In her first race of the year, she finished third behind Madame Stripes and Insta Erma in the G3 Megahertz Stakes. She will be facing both of those rivals again in here, but she was most recently seen getting the better of Madame Stripes by half a length when finishing second in the G2 Royal Heroine at Santa Anita, despite being in tight quarters and steadying at the eighth pole. #9 On Leave, for Stuart Janney and Shug McGaughey, is coming off a close defeat in the G3 Honey Fox at Gulfstream Park behind Lull and Res Ipsa. She has never been off the board at the distance of one mile. She’s an incredibly consistent five-year-old daughter of War Front, and can be counted on to run her race. She won’t let the speed get too far away from her, and Jose Ortiz will have options from the nine post.

Race 8: The Churchill Downs Stakes – 10-3-1

#10 Awesome Slew ran his first race off a five-month layoff on April 7th, 2018, following up his third-place finish in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile with a runner-up effort behind budding star Army Mule in the G1 Carter Handicap. While his closing style may not be condusive to the way the Churchill Downs main track has been playing the last two days, I believe that he is the best horse in the race and the horse that everyone will need to be looking out for late. He’s never been worse than second in five tries at seven furlongs, a distance that should suit this son of Awesome Again beautifully. #3 Imperial Hint is the 9-5 morning line favorite, and with the way that speed has been holding over this track, he deserves favoritism. He is wickedly fast, and even if he is outsprinted to the early lead by the speedball #2 Chief Cicatriz, he has shown the ability to rate and close in the past, though it hasn’t been necessary as of late. Imperial Hint’s only loss since December 17th, 2016 came in the G1 Breeders Cup Sprint where he was second defeated only a length by Roy H. He won a $100k race for Florida-breds at Tampa Bay Downs in his comeback, receiving a rather inferior Beyer of 92 compared to his six straight triple digit Beyer figures, but the race was so easy for him that it’s hard to gauge what, if anything, he got out of the race. He has two quick works since, though – a bullet four furlongs in :47 1/5 at Tampa Bay Downs and five furlongs in :59 2/5 over this track on April 26th, a move that was the second fastest of 32 on the day. He is the most likely winner of this race due to his style and the way the track has been playing, but I’m willing to give the edge to the classy Awesome Slew in the hopes that a fairly fresh Imperial Hint gets at least a little weakened by the other speed in the race. #1 Whitmore has been off the board only once since cutting back to sprint races following a 19th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. That single poor effort came in the Breeders Cup Sprint, but he has been victories in both of his 2018 starts, posting Beyer figures of 102 in each. He is as consistent as they come at the sprint distance, and while he is known for his big finishing moves, he is plenty capable of getting involved in the race and not allowing the early speed to get away from him.

Race 9: The American Turf Stakes – 1-6-11-3

#1 Speed Franco should be the controlling speed in here, something I think is often underestimated in turf races. His last three Beyer figures have been 90-88-89, and no other horse has posted anything over an 88. I don’t think there’s a horse in here with more talent than him, and the fact that he will likely get an easy lead make him doubly tough in this race. If he is anywhere near the 6-1 morning line price, he is a must-play across the board. Next to him, I think the most likely winner is #6 River Boyne, another horse that I believe has a big future. After three unsuccessful starts in Europe, he ran second in his American racing debut to Blended Citizen, and while he was only an also-eligible in the Derby field, I believe he is a colt with a lot of potential. Following that, River Boyne broke his maiden by five lengths in December of his two-year-old career. He hasn’t lost in his two starts since, including his most recent win in a $200k stakes race at Santa Anita.

#11 Untamed Domain was beaten 2 3/4 lengths by Speed Franco in his most recent turf race on February 3rd – he most recently tried the dirt to no avail in the Tampa Bay Derby. However, he was beaten only a length when finishing second to Mendelssohn in his race prior to that. I’m willing to believe that this colt has improved for Graham Motion since February, and even the slightest improvement puts him right there in this race. #3 Threeandfourpence is making his first start in the United States for trainer Aiden O’Brien, and this colt was only beaten 3/4 of a length by Mendelssohn two starts back on a synthetic surface (he, like Untamed Domain, experimented with dirt in his most recent start; for Threeandfourpence, that was in the UAE Derby, where he was never involved). This son of War Front was fourth behind U S Navy Flag and Mendelssohn in the G1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes, which was his last turf effort. He is a horse to be taken seriously, but a major unknown factor in here.

Race 10: The Pat Day Mile – 7-1-8-3

This race promises to be a competitive affair, and I think it’s a tough race to handicap. I ended up with #7 Madison’s Luna on top. I am looking forward to seeing this 2-for-2 son of Tapit go two turns for the first time. He’s a half brother to two G1 winners and he was very impressive in his score in the G3 Hutcheson last time out, receiving a 92 Beyer in the process. #1 National Flag is another horse that must be respected. After an uninspiring debut as an odds-on favorite, National Flag broke his maiden in his second start in a race where he showed some courage after getting bumped around some in the stretch. He was disappointing in the G1 Hopeful, but returned as a three-year-old to win an Allowance at Gulfstream Park – where he got an exceptional 100 Beyer, – and then took the Bay Shore at Aqueduct in his most recent race. He showed a new dimension in that race, being forced to rate after getting squeezed at the start but making a big move to win by a widening four lengths. He’s by Speightstown, who was himself a sprinter but whose offspring prove exceptionally versatile time and time again, and his dam is by Bernardini and a half-sister to Eddington, who was competitive in graded stakes at up to ten furlongs, so I think the added distance will only help him.

#8 Mask is a very exciting Chad Brown trainee making only his third start after a debut win by 3 and a win in the mile $100k Mucho Macho Man Stakes by over 6 lengths. He is another son of Tapit whose ceiling we have yet to see, and he also comes from a strong female family – while his dam was a stakes winner at 5 1/2 furlongs and is by sprinter Yonaguska, a mile shouldn’t be out of his wheelhouse thanks to the influence of his sire. His dams siblings include Bullsbay (a G1 winner at 9f) and Our Khrysty (a G3 winner at 8.5f). He’s another horse in here who could be any kind, and he showed in his 6 1/2 furlong debut that he is fully capable of rating if another horse wants to gun for the lead, but Javier Castellano will be able to keep him close. It’s worth noting that, while I don’t give him a big shot at the win, there is another well-bred Tapit colt in the race – #3 New York Central for Todd Pletcher is a half-brother to Kentucky Oaks winner Princess of Sylmar, and if you throw out his Sunland Park Derby at 1 1/8 miles, he fits perfectly with these. This is a horse with a 12-1 shot at winning this race, not a 30-1 shot (as he is on the morning line), and is worth using underneath in exotics.

Race 11: The Turf Classic – 10-7-2-1

I like #10 Beach Patrol on top in this race. He was last seen being defeated only half a length in the G1 Breeders Cup Turf, and he was second in this race last year. Between then, he has been off the board only once – when he was beaten 1 1/2 lengths finishing fourth in the G1 Manhattan. He has run seven consecutive 100+ Beyer speed figures, and as long as he can relax in his first race since last November, I think he’ll be hard to beat in here. #7 Synchrony is two-for-two in 2018 after knocking on the door in stakes company at the end of last year, and while this is a bit of a step up in class after winning in G3 and G2 company in his first two starts of the year, I think he’s the “now” horse, and his Beyers of 102 and 103 in 2018 put him right in this mix. If Beach Patrol doesn’t relax though, the horse that will give him the most trouble is #2 Shining Copper, a horse who used to be simply a rabbit for Ken and Sarah Ramsey, but has really come into his own in his own right. #1 Deauville was beaten 3/4 of a length by Beach Patrol in the Arlington Million last year. In his most recent start on April 18th, he was beaten only half a length in a G3 race in Europe. He needs to have improved since last August, as I believe Beach Patrol has, but he does have the edge of a start in 2018. He’s a very good horse but I think he is likely to be overbet as a European contender.

2018 Dubai World Cup Picks

As usual, I was last minute typing this up, but here are my picks for the rest of the Dubai World Cup card today:

UAE Derby

The two favorites look tough again in here – Gold Town won both the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial and the Guineas itself, the latter by over ten lengths, and his main competition seems to be from Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Mendelssohn, who has won both starts since over synthetic at Dundalk. His breeding suggests he should handle the dirt fine, and I think he has a lot of natural ability as well. UAE Oaks winner Rayya will take on the colts in this race, and she’s never been worse than second in four lifetime starts. The UAE Oaks is at this distance, so she has already proven her ability to stay 1 3/16 miles. The American Reride is interesting to me in this spot. Winner of the Mine That Bird Derby for Steve Assmussen in his last start, his only career loss was in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club at age two. The son of Candy Ride ran a 91 Beyer in that race, defeating Runaway Ghost, who would return to win the Sunland Derby in his following start. Being out of a Tapit mare, I think he will be suited to the distance. Yulong Warrior is another worth mentioning, having won the 1 3/16 mile Al Bastakiya at Meydan on March 10th by 11 1/2 lengths.

Picks

$2 Win #4 Mendelssohn

$1 Exacta Box #1 Rayya / #4 Mendelssohn / #5 Gold Town

$2 Show #3 Reride

Al Quoz Sprint

Okay, I may be completely missing something, and he could prove me wrong and win impressively, but I do not like 4-5 morning line favorite Blue Point in this race. I understand why he is favored, but I do not think he deserves such heavy favoritism, and I think that creates a lot of potential value in this race. I love Holding Gold in this race. The last time he ran six furlongs, he was beaten a length by Disco Partner in that horse’s world record-setting Jaipur at Belmont Park. Holding Gold himself ran sub-1:06 in that race, despite placing third, and no other horse in this race has broken the 1:08 barrier  (at least within the last five races shown on my PPs). Though he was 7th in the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint and 6th in the Turf Monster at Parx, he was beaten less than two lengths in both of those races and didn’t disgrace himself. The Mark Casse trainee is coming off a win in a stakes at Fair Grounds, which should set him up well for this. Jungle Cat would be my second pick, and is the horse to beat in my opinion. He soundly defeated track record holder Ertijaal in the Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint on March 10th, and prior to that he was victorious in the G2 Al Fahidi Fort. Librisia Breeze was last seen in October winning the G1 British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot. He was beaten only 2 1/4 lengths in the G1 Diamond Jubilee behind The Tin Man last June off an eight month layoff, so I don’t think the five months since his last race will be a problem. I believe that Conquest Tsunami is the quickest horse in the race, and he is my preference of the three Peter Miller trainees in here, but I’m not sure he’s good enough to win this. Also worth mentioning is Godolphin’s third entrant, Baccarat, who was 3 1/2 lengths behind Jungle Cat last time but prior to that he was seen winning at the distance earlier in the meet, and all three races the 9-year-old has run this year have been good.

$2 Win #6 Holding Gold

$1 Exacta Box #3 Librisia Breeze / #6 Holding Gold / #10 Jungle Cat

$2 Show #6 Holding Gold

Dubai Golden Shaheen

This race is being billed as a showdown between Americans X Y Jet, who ran admirably in this race as the favorite in 2016 and seems to have come back as good as ever after being off for over a year, and Breeders Cup Sprint winner Roy H. X Y Jet has won all three races since the layoff, and while he hasn’t defeated much in those races, he’s done it stylishly. However, I’ll give the edge to the Breeders Cup winner, who has since won the Palos Verdes in preparation for this race. X Y Jet should go to the lead, and I don’t think Roy H will let him get too far away. Mind Your Biscuits hasn’t won since the July 8th Belmont Sprint, but he is the defending champion in this race and he was third behind Roy H in the Breeders Cup. He’s never been off the board in six starts at six furlongs, and he ran big behind Sharp Azteca in the Cigar Mile two starts back, where he posted a career-best 107 Beyer. His most recent race, a loss in allowance company to Conquest Windycity, is a bit of a concern, but I trust that Chad Summers will have him ready to go this time. Also worth a shoutout is the 12-year-old veteran Reynaldothewizard, who has raced twice since being well-beaten by Mind Your Biscuits in this race last year, finished third in both of those races. He’s a classy horse and while I’m not sure he’s up to defeating the top two in here, I think he has every chance to hit the board at a big price.

Picks

$2 Win #6 Roy H

$1 Exacta Box #1 Mind Your Biscuits / #2 X Y Jet / #6 Roy H

$2 Show #3 Reynaldothewizard

Dubai Turf

Benbatl is favored on the morning line in this race, and he makes a lot of sense off three good races at the meet this year – wins in the G3 Singspiel Stakes and G2 Al Rashidiya, and a narrow defeat to Blair House in the Jebel Hatta last time. He is the horse to beat and a deserving favorite, but I like Japan’s Neorealism on top. If you toss his poor effort in the Tenno Show behind Kitasan Black, he looks to be coming into this race in similar form to he was prior to his victory in the G2 Nakayama Kinen last February. He’s 3-for-6 at the distance and I think he makes a good alternative to the favorite. Real Steel, also based in Japan, was beaten 4 1/2 lengths to Neorealism in the aforementioned Nakayama Kinen, but if he were to repeat his effort in the Mainichi Okan last October, where he ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:45.6, he could have a shot here. I like him cutting back from the 1 1/4 miles of the Tenno Sho – he’s only been off the board once at 1 1/8 miles in seven tries. Blair House, who defeated the favorite in the Jebel Hatta, is in great form recently, not finishing worse than second in four races this year.

Picks

$2 Win #2 Neorealism

$1 Exacta Box #2 Neorealism / #5 Benbatl / #15 Blair House

$2 Show #8 Real Steel

Dubai Sheema Classic

I think this is Godolphin’s best chance to get a win on Dubai World Cup night, as Cloth of Stars looks awfully tough here. The runner-up in the 2017 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe comes into this race off a second-place finish to BC Turf winner Talismanic on March 6th in the Prix Darshaan. He’s only finished off the board once in 14 starts, and really looks like he’ll be hard to beat. However, I do think that there are two main possible upsetters in Rey de Oro and Hawkbill.  Rey de Oro is a G1 winner at 1 1/2 miles, and seems to be a very consistent performer at the highest levels of racing in Japan. He is coming off a defeat as the odds-on favorite in the Kyoto Kinen on February 11th, but I’m willing to give him another chance. Hawkbill, meanwhile, won the G2 Dubai City of Gold Stakes in his prep for this, and the five-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy will likely be well-placed early, which can only help his chances.

Picks

$2 Win #6 Cloth of Stars

$1 Exacta Box #3 Rey de Oro / #6 Cloth of Stars / #7 Hawkbill

$2 Show #7 Hawkbill

Dubai World Cup

I tried and tried to find a way to beat West Coast in this race, and have simply come up empty. He’s simply the best dirt horse in America right now, with the retirement of Gun Runner, and seems to only be getting better. On top of likely being the best horse in the race, he looks to also get a dream trip, with good tactical speed and the ability to rate behind a horse like Mubtaahij, who may be going for the lead here, if needed. His biggest threat comes from Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Talismanic, who won on synthetic in his one race since the Breeders’ Cup, but has never run on natural dirt. However, being by Medaglia d’Oro, dirt isn’t completely out of the question. I think he’s the only horse who may be West Coast’s equal or better on sheer talent, but the surface is a significant question mark. Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Forever Unbridled will be making the final start of her career in this race, and I think the distance could be a big positive for her. She’s a talented horse, but this is by far the toughest race of her life, and I’m afraid her familiarity to American gamblers could cause her to be an underlay. At her morning line odds of 8-1, I think she’s a reasonable bet. North America has improved with each race this year, running in all three rounds of the Al Maktoum Challenge, culminating with a 5 1/4 length win in Round 3 over Thunder Snow. He’s another contender in the race, but again, I’m not sure if any of these horses are going to be able to run with West Coast.

Picks

$2 Win #9 West Coast

$1 Exacta Box #2 North America / #7 Talismanic / #9 West Coast

$2 Show #6 Forever Unbridled

Hall of Fame Bloodlines: A Study of Female Families – Part Two

It’s been quite a while since my post about the information I compiled regarding the 100 distinct female families that account for over 200 Hall of Fame members, but I’m back to talk about Family 1-x, the second-most productive female family in American racing’s Hall of Fame. I’ve talked about Family 1-x before, but today I’m focusing solely on the nine Hall of Fame members who descend from the great matriarch La Troienne.

Continue reading “Hall of Fame Bloodlines: A Study of Female Families – Part Two”

Hall of Fame Bloodlines: A Study of Female Families

In 1895, pedigree researcher Bruce Lowe’s Breeding Horses by the Figure System was published posthumously by his friend and editor William Allison. Lowe had traced the pedigrees of the winners of the English classic races and grouped them by direct lines of tail-female descent. He then tallied the number of classic winners in each female family, and numbered them in declining order, with the family descending from Tregonwell’s Natural Barb Mare as family #1, the Burton Barb Mare as #2, and so on, for a total of forty-three numbered families. Herman Goos later expanded this to fifty families. While most disregard the theory that Lowe proposed as a result of his research, his family numbers are still used as a convenient method of denoting Thoroughbred female families.

It’s no surprise that some female families have proven to be exceptionally prolific – my personal favorite example is La Troienne’s family 1-x, – but I was curious to know to what extent the greatest horses of our sport descend from common female ancestors. So, I looked up the Lowe family numbers of all 206 equine members of the United States Racing Hall of Fame, and came upon some very interesting findings.

Continue reading “Hall of Fame Bloodlines: A Study of Female Families”

Farewell to a Hero

It took me a while to post this, as it is by far the most personal thing I have ever shared on the internet, but I feel it would be an injustice to Blackie to omit the reasons he was such a substantial influence in my life. In reality, this is not a blog post about Better Talk Now – those who knew the horse far more than I have written beautiful tributes to him already,  – this is a blog post about the profound impact he had on me, personally.

I’d like to thank Herringswell Stables for their care of Blackie during and after his racing career, and for their generosity in sharing him with his legions of loyal fans. I’d also like to thank Graham Motion for responding to a letter written years ago by a teenage girl whose life was changed by his superstar gelding. I still treasure the letter (now laminated) and photographs I received in reply.

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A few images from an incredible summer interning at Saratoga, a lifetime high experience born of the passion that Better Talk Now inspired

 


Continue reading “Farewell to a Hero”