Prospect Watch: Here are 9 newcomers to start February

Prospect Watch: Here are 9 newcomers to start February
Photo: Carson Dennis / Eclipse Sportswire

The first week of February is packed with competitive maiden special weights at racetracks across the country. There are so many well-bred horses slated to debut, it’s hard to keep track of them all.

But that’s what Prospect Watch is for. We’ve analyzed the entries and identified nine newcomers you need to know.

See entries and results: Gulfstream Park | Tampa Bay Downs


Gulfstream Park race 4: Maiden special weight (six furlongs, 1:38 p.m. EST)

No. 1 A La Carte

5-year-old horse

Pedigree: Uncle Mo–Leigh Court, by Grand Slam

Purchase price: N/A

Trainer: Bill Mott

It’s taken a long time for A La Carte to reach the races, but the wait may prove worthwhile. The son of champion and successful sire Uncle Mo was produced by Leigh Court, a talented and remarkably versatile mare who won graded stakes from six furlongs to one mile on dirt, turf and synthetic. A La Carte breezed a bullet five furlongs over the slow track at Payson Park in 1:01.6 last month and is worth watching for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.

No. 4 Lakota Territory

4-year-old colt

Pedigree: Quality Road–Akron Moon, by Malibu Moon

Purchase price: N/A

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Talk about a classy pedigree. Four-time Grade 1 winner Quality Road has proven abundantly successful at stud, with Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile hero City of Light and Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Abel Tasman among his best runners. Meanwhile, Malibu Moon is the sire of Kentucky Derby winner Orb, and Akron Moon has foaled three-time Grade 1 winner Bellafina and multiple stakes winner Diamond King. Lakota Territory has put together a respectable work tab and has four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Irad Ortiz Jr. named to ride, so this late-starting 4-year-old has every chance to factor for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher.


Gulfstream Park race 5: Maiden special weight (one mile on turf, 1:46 p.m.)

No. 1 Just So

3-year-old colt

Pedigree: Justify–Turbulent Descent, by Congrats

Purchase price: N/A

Trainer: Chad Brown

Here’s another elite pedigree. Just So is a son of Triple Crown winner Justify out of Turbulent Descent, a four-time Grade 1 winner over distances from seven furlongs to 1 1/16 miles. As a broodmare, Turbulent Descent has produced Spanish Steps, winner of the Ballyroan (G3) racing 1 1/2 miles on turf in Ireland. The success of Spanish Steps on grass explains at least in part why Just So is debuting in a one-mile turf test for four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown, who is well known for his success training grass horses. The fact Justify’s runners are enjoying significant success on turf is surely another factor.

No. 8 Windsor Park

3-year-old colt

Pedigree: Mastery–Carraige Trail, by Giant’s Causeway

Purchase price: N/A

Trainer: Shug McGaughey

Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey is unveiling Windsor Park, a son of Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) winner Mastery out of Spinster (G1) winner Carriage Trail. Only time will tell whether Windsor Park can achieve the same level of success as his sire and dam, but he’s put together a lengthy work tab highlighted by several fast half-mile moves, so this Stuart Janney III homebred appears to have some talent.

Tampa Bay Downs race 8: maiden special weight (six furlongs, 4:25 p.m.)

No. 2 Reinvest

3-year-old gelding

Pedigree: Quality Road–Rule One, by Street Cry

Purchase price: N/A

Trainer: Timothy Hamm

At Tampa Bay Downs, Timothy Hamm is debuting Reinvest, a gelded son of Quality Road out of the Street Cry mare Rule One. This classy pedigree is made even more noteworthy by the fact Rule One is the dam of Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) and Whitney (G1) winner Diversify. Reinvest’s work tab isn’t overly eye-catching, but he warrants watching on pedigree alone.


Fair Grounds race 6: Maiden special weight (six furlongs, 4:45 p.m.)

No. 5 Charging

3-year-old colt

Pedigree: Candy Ride–Electric, by Smart Strike

Purchase price: $125,000

Trainer: Brad Cox

Trainer Brad Cox has been on fire at Fair Grounds this meet, going 20-for-49 (41 percent), and he’s debuting a couple of promising sophomores in this maiden sprint. The first is Charging, a son of Candy Ride, the sire of champions Gun Runner, Shared Belief and Game Winner. Charging’s dam sire is Smart Strike, whose daughters have foaled Kentucky Derby winners Mine That Bird and Rich Strike, so Charging has the pedigree for success over classic distances. Under hot jockey Florent Geroux, a 33 percent winner at Fair Grounds this meet, Charging looks ready to vie for victory.

No. 6 Classic Dancer

3-year-old colt

Pedigree: Collected–Duchess Dancer, by Congrats

Purchase price: $110,000

Trainer: Mark Casse

Classic Dancer is debuting on dirt at Fair Grounds, but don’t be surprised if this Canadian-bred colt eventually turns up in the King’s Plate on Tapeta at Woodbine. Trainer Mark Casse has won the King’s Plate twice, when it was known as the Queen’s Plate, and Classic Dancer’s dam previously foaled 2021 Queen’s Plate winner Safe Conduct. But in the meantime, Classic Dancer has shown speed training on dirt at Fair Grounds, so don’t count him out of the mix on Sunday. Casse has gone 4-for-14 (29 percent) at Fair Grounds this meet.

No. 7 Demolition Duke

3-year-old colt

Pedigree: Good Magic–Media Madness, by Empire Maker

Purchase price: $130,000

Trainer: Brad Cox

The second Cox trainee in this field is Demolition Duke, a son of champion and hot young sire Good Magic out of a mare by Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker. This is a pedigree geared strongly toward success over classic distances, and Demolition Duke’s encouraging work tab, highlighted by five furlongs from the Fair Grounds starting gate in 1:00.2 seconds, insists we keep an eye on him.

No. 9 Dreamboat

3-year-old colt

Pedigree: Uncle Mo–Supreme, by Empire Maker

Purchase price: N/A

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Speaking of horses bred to success over classic distances, Dreamboat brings a beautiful pedigree to the table. Uncle Mo is the sire of Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, Supreme is the dam of Metropolitan Handicap (G1) winner Silver State, and Empire Maker is the sire of Kentucky Derby runners-up Pioneerof the Nile and Bodemeister as well as the grandsire of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming. Dreamboat breezed a fast half-mile from the Fair Grounds starting gate in 47.6 seconds last Saturday and looks like a possible star in the making for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.

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