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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Ready or not, it’s juvenile season!

A $420,000 OBS April Sale purchase, it should come as no surprise that Conquest Two Step came out of the gate running for his career debut today at Churchill Downs for trainer Mark Casse. A son of first crop sire, and multiple stakes winner, Two Step Salsa, Conquest Two Step has impressed onlookers for some time now. His new owners spent a lot of money at Ocala, and on the advice of their successful trainer, this one was one of their larger investments. He would not disappoint.

Bet down to even money, the Conquest Racing runner helped set very fast fractions of :21.67 and :44.83 before quickly shaking clear of his early competition. From there the dark bay colt was kept to task, but never looked like anything but a winner under Shaun Bridgmohan as they hit the wire under the famed twin spires two lengths ahead of the only other horse to get into the picture. Bred in Florida by Manuel Andrade, Conquest Two Step finished the 5 1/2 furlong race in an excellent 1:03.63.

The aforementioned second place finisher also ran a strong race. Breaking a beat slow, Ride On Curlin continued to move up on the backstretch, and finished with good energy to be well clear of everyone else at the wire. Also a first-timer, the bay colt is part of two-time Horse of the Year, Curlin’s second crop and is trained by William Gowan. Curlin’s first crop recently gained a measure of excellence with the Belmont Stakes win of Dogwood Stable’s Palace Malice.
 
Speaking of Dogwood, perhaps the most interesting colt to debut today, at least to me, came at Belmont Park, when None Like Nolan rallied strongly to finish second best in the first open juvenile race for males at the New York oval.

Much like Ride On Curlin, None Like Nolan really had no chance to run down the sharp winner, Jake’s Magic Hat, but the way the son of the top sire, Malibu Moon, finished the fast five furlong race makes me believe he has a bright future. Plucked from the Keeneland September Sale for $125,000 by the Cot Campbell partnership group, the good looking bay colt is trained by Todd Pletcher. Showing only enough speed to lead the trailing group of four, he seemed only to hit his best stride in the last sixteenth which carried him to easily nab second-place money.

As for the winner, who went off as the same 2-1 odds as None Like Nolan, Jake’s Magic Hat is a son of successful young sire, Tiz Wonderful. Able to stay in touch with the strong early pace from the get-go, the Eddie Kennealy trained youngster moved up nicely into connection on the outside of the tiring pacesetters, and looked liked a winner throughout the entire stretch. The $90,000 OBS March Sale graduate was driven to the wire by Jose Lezcano as he stopped the timer in a sharp :57.57 for the five panels, while 2 ¼ lengths ahead of None Like Nolan at the wire.

While it was a pair of sharp first-timers in Conquest Two Step and Jake’s Magic Hat who looked very good as they cruised to victory today in Louisville, and New York, don’t look past the two horses who finished full of run to be second, Ride On Curlin and None Like Nolan. All four will likely have stakes racing in their futures, but it might be today’s bridesmaids who become the ones to really look out for when both the distances and the importance of the races increase. 

 

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Older Comments about Ready or not, it’s juvenile season!...

Twang's nice maiden win is further proof of the strength of that June 21 MdSpWt at Churchill Downs.
Curlin had another really good win yesterday, a first time out winner for Bob Baffard- SOCIALBUG a the.
Nice call, Zipse!
Track record ... not bad!
Curlin is becoming a nice sire- which is hardly surprising based on his talent and success on the track. Palace Malice (G1 winner, G1 placed), Stopshoppingdebbie (OK local filly) and Ride on Curlin (nice looking juvenile) all proving his worth as a sire.
This could be a pivotal weekend for Curlin as a sire--daughter in a stakes race tomorrow. Here's the replay. http://www.ellisparkracing.com/racing/live-video-and-replays/
"However, Ride on Curlin (a Curlin progeny, obviously, who should be regarding somewhat highly as a second crop sire because Palace Malice won the Belmont) broke slowly and still came coming at the end. You rarely see non-speedballs, at this stage, make that much ground up....It was expected for the speedballs to win and nothing was eye-popping and nothing was abnormal. However, Ride on Curlin and None like Nolan ran much more sustained in their debuts and THEY are the ones worth keeping an eye on. Obviously, too early to think about what they might become, but were edging closer to the time where it is appropriate to track their progress as they mature from a juvenile to a young 3yr. These are just observations, but in my opinion Ride on Curlin and None like Nolan were the two to keep an eye on." was my post on him/None like Nolan.
Ride on Curlin wins! As posted in my long paragraph, he was one of my two to watch, just like Brian. Anyone know when None like Nolan returns to the track?
One of the colts mentioned in Brian's article is entered this Sat., 7/13, in a MSW at Ellis Park. Ride On Curlin will be ridden again by Calvin Borel, and looks to be the favorite at this time. Just FYI.
Vast majority of early winning babies are also pure speedballs that take abig gulp of air and run until they can't...VERY FEW raters amongst this group...Beaten lengths mean NOTHING without the pace of the race as a yardstick to how fast tht effort actualy was and how the horse distributed its energy throughout...The GOOD ones can either go up to challenge or can hang just off of the pace of race, no matter if the 2nd call (in a sprint for example) is 45.4 or 44.4
You can predict next to nothing about a early winning baby other than they learned their lessons...The maturation ahead of them is so overwhelming that many are never heard from again by the tender age of three.
I for one am very excited c: I know it's maddness to get hyped this early ... but I can not help myself.
I might have time to drop in for a race or two.
We'll miss your input. If you take a break, join in, rafi. Hey, that was kidding anyway--obviously you like the quotes.
Okay, Goblin, I'm tired, so I obviously didn't read very carefully :). @Mary. I did say that tidbit was by tv. I can't make the chat tomorrow, most likely, because I'm going to New York (not looking forward to the drive).
Sorry, amino, our comments crossed.
Uh, rafi, I believe the article says 2 1/4 lengths.
2 1/4 lengths.
Sure, it's copied, but it would be darn right frightening if you were him, so plagiarize away! Don't forget the live chat tomorrow :)
No tension, Amino, I know you were keeding (hopefully). Back to the topic (sorry for going off topic); Y'all know how many lengths Jack's Magic Hat won by?

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing since birth. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 
  
As Managing Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Brian also serves on the the Board of Directors of ReRun Thoroughbred Adoption and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
  
A graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives in Suburban Chicago with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra, where he is a professional golf instructor when he is not following the horses.