Iron Maidens Thoroughbreds
Saratoga Special (G-2)
August 16, 2010
Kantharos, the current top-rated colt in the east takes on a suspect group of youngsters in the Saratoga Special. There are only five betting interests including the coupled entry of Bail Out The Cat and Sovereign Default, so payout prices will likely be chalky.
The stronger of the two entries by Richard Violette, Bail Out The Cat (Tale of the Cat – Golden Gazelle, by Meadowlake) had a horrible start in the Sanford Stakes and that race should be considered a throw-out. He's a half brother to JB’s Golden Regret, a juvenile stakes winner. Bail Out The Cat shows one decent work since that race and the Violette barn is winning at 21% with two year olds.
Wetzel (Successful Appeal – Lady Carman, by Yankee Victor) is the first foal out of a stakes placed sprinter who is a half sister to a stakes placed runner. He tired to fourth in his second start, the Kentucky Juvenile, which was his first start for the Dutrow barn. Wetzel’s works are consistent but on the slow side.
Richard Violette’s second entry, Sovereign Default (Northern Afleet – She Is Raging, by Aggressive Chief) was flattered by the spectacular win on August 14 by Stay Thirsty, who put away a well-bred group of maidens by 5 ½ lengths, getting six furlongs in 1:11. Sovereign Default trumped that rival by two lengths when they met in July at Belmont. Sovereign Default has a miler’s pedigree. His damsire, a son of Chief’s Crown, placed in a couple of stakes races. Sovereign Default’s distaff family is durable and while not immediately evident, has some class. His dam placed in two stakes during her 31 race career and she is inbred to the great stamina influence Ribot through the full brothers Graustark (damsire of Aggressive Chief) and His Majesty (Grandsire of Pleasant Tap, who is She Is Raging’s damsire). Since his winning debut, Sovereign Default has posted to excellent works.
Manchurian High (The Daddy – Corredor’s Wind, by El Corredor) is by freshman sire The Daddy, who has one winner from one starter. The Daddy was unraced at two and his promising career was cut short after winning the 10F Super Derby. Manchurian High’s dam was unraced and neither half sibling won at two. His second dam Ka Le was a stakes winning turf mare. Manchurian High carries no Northern Dancer or Bold Ruler and only one instance of Mr. Prospector blood, which is uncommon in modern day breeding. He is making his debut in the Saratoga Special.
The likely favorite and top two year old on the east coast is Kantharos, (Lion Heart – Contessa Halo, by Southern Halo) who has won his two starts by over 21 lengths. He is a half brother to Ikigai, a stakes winner. The immediate distaff family is modest, however can claim juvenile Grade 1 winner First Samurai as a member. Kantharos has continued to work well and represents the team of Rachel Alexandra.
Blue Right By (Bluegrass Cat – Shades of Grace, by Seeking the Gold) is by leading freshman sire Bluegrass Cat, out of a Seeking the Gold mare. His pedigree suggests he’ll enjoy going long. His dam is a half sister to G-3 winner Fortitude and his third dam is Champion two year old filly Outstandingly. Blue Right By has one win from four starts and has been whipped by a combined 29 lengths in his three out of the money finishes, including the Sanford Stakes (G-2).
How the track is playing: The track is playing overwhelmingly to speed, as either pace setters or pressers have won all of the races this week. There is a 40% chance of thunderstorms, likely late in the day.
Kantharos will be the overwhelming favorite and has won over a sloppy track, so something untoward would have to happen for the blazing chestnut colt not to tower over this group. Bail Out The Cat had a major regression after posting a triple digit speed figure in his debut. He dominated over a sloppy track that day and could bounce back here. Wetzel has strong breeding for an off track and showed some ability in his debut. Sovereign Default should handle the mud without too much difficulty and has strong works. Manchurian High also has strong breeding for the mud, but is giving up experience. Blue Right By’s pedigree suggests he should have no excuse running over an off track and should appreciate the longer distance. It is possible that only one of the two entrymates, Bail Out The Cat or Sovereign Default will run in the Saratoga Special. Should one scratch, Wetzel will be come the third choice and Manchurian High will become our longshot selection.
Bail Out The Cat
Wetzel – Longshot selection