Well-bred 2-Year-Olds to Watch following Weekend Winners
It was a huge racing weekend at Saratoga, where four more winners stamped their ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Saturday, and one more at Del Mar – host of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships Nov. 3-4. But the under cards had some strong 2-year old debut weekend winners from significant sires, including at other tracks of note.
Saturday’s opening race at Saratoga on Travers Day was a salty group of maidens going 6 ½ furlongs. Unfortunately, three were scratched including Victory Lane, a Tiznow colt trained by Shug McGaughey. But the winner was Hazit, a bay colt by War Front who was let go at 3-1 odds but went wire-to-wire in 1:16.40 to pay $8.60. Trainer Todd Pletcher has a strong colt in Hazit, but all the tote board attention was focused on $1 million Keeneland yearling Good Magic, a Curlin colt who went off as the 3-5 favorite for trainer Chad Brown but was stiff-armed in the stretch to finish 2nd by a length.
North of the border, Count Alexander (Scat Daddy) won his turf debut at Woodbine at 14-1 odds, sprinting home to win the six furlong maiden special weight by 4 lengths in 1:09.06. Count Alexander paid $30.80 to win, and the chestnut colt by Scat Daddy will make his next start for trainer Mary Lightner in the Summer Stakes Sept. 17 at Woodbine – a ‘Win and You’re In’ Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race for the BC Juvenile Turf.
Also on Saturday at Woodbine, 2-year-old fillies took to the turf going 7 furlongs and Wonder Gadot was an impressive debut winner by 4 lengths as the 8-5 favorite. The dark bay filly by Madaglio d’Oro drew clear and finished under a hand ride to win for trainer Mark Casse, who also saddled the runner-up Mo Big Cat. The race was a prep for the Sept. 17 Natalma Stakes, a ‘Win and You’re In’ Breeders’ Cup Challenge race to the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Sunday at Del Mar saw an upset in race 7 in a photo finish, but the two top finishers are both worth watching moving forward. A 5 ½ furlong sprint for 2-year-olds, Beautiful Shot (Trappe Shot) came from well off the pace and rallied along the rail with rider Kent Desormeaux urging him on to nip the heavy favorite Nero at the wire. Off at 7-1, Beautiful Shot paid $16.40 to win, and the bay colt by Trappe Shot trained by Keith Desormeaux may try the Frontrunner Stakes Sept. 30 at Santa Anita for a ‘Win and You’re In’ shot to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Trainer Bob Baffert may have second thoughts about riding Martin Garcia aboard Nero again, as the Pioneer of the Nile colt was cruising along on the front end and 2 ½ lengths clear in the stretch. Garcia practically quit riding, not asking his horse for run until Beautiful Shot came alongside him, and then Garcia gave him vigorous handling late but lost by a nose. A poor ride for a superstar in the making, as Nero galloped out six lengths in front of the others.