The crystal ball: Analyzing Saratoga, Del Mar maidens

July 23, 2019 09:32am

Summer is in full swing, with seven 2-year-old fillies and colts counted among strong maiden runners in the summer's featured meets at Saratoga and Del Mar, including the first winner for freshman sire Liam’s Map.

January WonJANUARY WON (New Year's Day - Timezone, by Pulpit) In last Thursday’s second race at Saratoga, Jose Ortiz settled January Won between horses in the second flight of the six-horse field. The Ken McPeek trainee faced a wall of horses around the turn and through the stretch. A hole on the inside opened late, and the brave son of New Year’s Day didn’t hesitate as he dove through. He lengthened stride and won by a measured length over stablemate Beyond Gone. January Won stopped the clock in 1:04.35 for the 5 1/2-furlong main track event. 

 Cleverly named January Won may be best as a sprinter/miler, and turf could be a possibility down the road. He runs with his head held up and has high knee action. Both of his full siblings are winners, one on dirt and mud, the other on turf. January Won’s distaff line is modest, but the third generation has several blacktype earners, including multiple graded stakes-winning miler Remind, and graded stakes-winning turf mare War Thief.


Sweet KissesSWEET KISSES (Carpe Diem - True Kiss, by Is It True) In last Friday’s fifth race, seven fillies raced six furlongs over Saratoga’s main track. After finishing second in her debut, Sweet Kisses was ready for prime time. She and jockey Jose Ortiz pressed the pace three-wide, grabbed the lead at the 1/8-pole, and drew off to win by 2 1/4-lengths in 1:09.78.

Sweet Kisses has a sprinter/miler pedigree. She was a little green in the stretch, swishing her tail and shifting out, not happy with the aggressive handling by Ortiz. However, she runs correctly with no wasted leg motion. Freshman sire Carpe Diem, a precocious son of Giant’s Causeway, has two winners from eight starters. His offspring should handle all surfaces from sprints to middle distances. Sweet Kisses is a half-sister to Grade 3 stakes-placed miler Tiz Kissable and to Grade 3 stakes-placed sprinter One True Kiss, who also placed in the Sorrento Stakes as a juvenile. Their dam is a restricted stakes-winning sprinter. She’s a half to Grade 1 stakes-winning miler Silver Max. The third generation includes multiple graded stakes winner and sire, Yes It’s True, Canadian Champion 3-year-old Kiss a Native and Haskell Invitational (G1) winner Girvin.


Fly so PrettyFLY SO PRETTY (Sky Mesa - La Rambla, by City Zip) had a wide trip in her debut. In her next start in Sunday’s seventh race facing maidens at 5 1/2 furlongs over the Saratoga turf, the Mark Casse trainee had every right to lose after being in tight and repeatedly checked down the back stretch by Javier Castellano. After getting running room on the outside, Fly So Pretty gained ground with every step and nailed the pace-setter Sequin on the wire. Sharing finished third in a thrilling blanket finish.

Despite her sprinter/miler breeding, the chestnut filly has the conformation and running style of a horse that should appreciate two turns. She’s the first foal out of a stakes-placed 2-year-old turf miler. The third generation includes Grade 1 stakes-winning 2-yaer-old Adieu and her descendants stakes-winning sprinters Greeley's Rocket and Laurie's Rocket.


SEQUIN (Bayern - Hot Roots, by Indian Charlie) bounced out of the gate and immediately grabbed the lead. She led every step of the way, but couldn’t hold off the furious charge of Fly So Pretty.

  Sequin attracted the winning $500,000 bid at the Fasig-Tipton sale of 2-year-olds in training. She has a miler’s pedigree. Freshman sire Bayern has four winners from 13 starters. His foals’ conformation varies from sprint to classic types. Sequin’s dam is a stakes-placed sprinter, and she’s a half-sister to two blacktype earners: Mother Mother, a stakes-winning miler who was also multiple graded stakes-placed, and Commanding Curve, who placed second in the 2014 Kentucky Derby.


SHARING (Speightstown - Shared Account, by Pleasantly Perfect) settled off the pace, ran into traffic trouble on the turn, and put in a late rush down the stretch. She missed the victory by only a neck and nose.

Pedigree: Sharing has a miler’s pedigree. Two of her three half siblings own blacktype; Riley's Choice is a restricted stakes-winning miler, and I’m Pretty Strong is a stakes-placed miler. Their dam won the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.  


BasinBASIN (Liam's Map - Appenzell, by Johannesburg) finished second in his debut to eventual Sanford Stakes winner By Your Side after a wide trip. The second time around showed Basin’s versatility. In Sunday’s eighth race, Basin inherited the lead in the stretch after the pace setter faltered. He lost focus for a moment, but after a few taps from Ricardo Santana, Jr.’s whip, the lightbulb clicked on. Basin lengthened stride and galloped under the wire a length in front. He stopped the clock in 1:09.77 for six furlongs.  

  Basin has a miler's pedigree and may handle all surfaces, especially turf. Freshman sire Liam’s Map, winner of the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, has six starters, and Basin is his first winner. Basin is a half-brother to Grade 3 stakes-winning juvenile Rise Up. Their dam is a half-sister to multiple stakes-winning sprinter Bourbon County, and her half-sister bore multiple stakes-winning turf miler In The Rough.


COLLUSION ILLUSION (Twirling Candy - Natalie Grace, by First Dude) chased a hot pace, then made a run down the center of the track to win by a half-length Sunday at Del Mar.

Collusion Illusion has a miler’s conformation and pedigree. He’s the first foal out of an unraced half-sister to multiple stakes winners. The second generation includes multiple graded stakes winning sprinters Bahamian Squall and Apriority, plus Big Tiz, who was second in the Hollywood Starlet (G1) and placed in three other stakes.


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Through hands-on work at barns, I learned valuable lessons about Thoroughbred conformation, gait, and temperament and later worked withThoroughbred rescue/re-train organizations. I have committed my passion for horses to the intensive study of pedigree and breeding theory for the last 20 years. 

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