Prospect Watch: Check out 5 first-time starters at Churchill

Prospect Watch: Check out 5 first-time starters at Churchill
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

A busy slate of racing at Churchill Downs this week includes numerous maiden special weights for 2-year-olds. Among the notable entrants are siblings to Breeders’ Cup winners Mizdirection and Roy H.

Let’s dive in and explore five of the most promising first-time starters in the fields:


Churchill Downs race 5: Maiden special weight (seven furlongs, 6:56 p.m. EDT)

No. 9 Sippican Shop

Age: 2

Pedigree: Medaglia d’Oro–Sippican Harbor, by Orb

Purchase price: N/A

Trainer: Kenny McPeek

There are plenty of reasons to believe Sippican Shop will mature early enough to compete against good company as a juvenile. Sire Medaglia d’Oro counts champion 2-year-old filly Songbird and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner New Money Honey among his progeny, while dam Sippican Harbor won the Spinaway (G1) at age 2.

Trainer Kenny McPeek has been hot at Churchill, going 4-for-21 (19 percent) to start the September meet, and jockey Julien Leparoux has been even hotter with a 5-for-16 (31 percent) tally. Sippican Shop has put together a respectable work tab over the Saratoga training track and shouldn’t be overlooked.

No. 12 Wild Sean

Age: 2

Pedigree: Cross Traffic–She’s All In, by Include

Purchase price: N/A

Trainer: Donnie K. Von Hemel

Let’s see … Cross Traffic was a talented speedster who wired the Whitney Handicap (G1) over a stellar field that included two Breeders’ Cup Classic winners, and She’s All In was a standout Oklahoma-bred mare who won eight stakes and placed at the Grade 1 level. Clearly Wild Sean has an encouraging pedigree in his corner.

Wild Sean has shown a bit of speed in the mornings, even breezing a bullet half-mile from the Churchill Downs training track starting gate in a bullet 47.8 seconds. Don’t be shocked if this gray juvenile outruns his 15-1 morning-line odds.


Churchill Downs race 7: maiden special weight (seven furlongs, 3:50 p.m.)

No. 7 Methodology

Age: 2

Pedigree: Uncle Mo–Innovative Idea, by Bernardini

Purchase price: N/A

Trainer: Brad Cox

Earlier this year, the Godolphin homebred filly Matareya embarked on an impressive winning streak for trainer Brad Cox, rattling off consecutive victories in the Beaumont (G3), Eight Belles (G2) and Acorn (G1).

Now Cox and Godolphin are back with Matareya’s half-sister Methodology, a daughter of champion 2-year-old male and elite stallion Uncle Mo. Methodology has shown talent in the mornings (most notably breezing five furlongs in a bullet 59.8 seconds from the Ellis Park starting gate) and must be respected on debut, even though her pedigree hints she’ll improve with maturity.


Churchill Downs race 6: maiden special weight (5 1/2 furlongs, 8:30 p.m.)

No. 4 Mislead

Age: 2

Pedigree: Always Dreaming–Deceptive, by Clever Trick

Purchase price: N/A

Trainer: John Ennis

There’s a lot of class in the immediate pedigree of Mislead. Sire Always Dreaming won the Kentucky Derby, while dam Deceptive has foaled a pair of stakes winners led by two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint heroine Mizdirection.

Always Dreaming thrived running long on dirt and Mizdirection was a top-tier grass dasher, so there’s no telling what distance or surface might prove best for Mislead. But if the class in Mislead’s pedigree shines through on Saturday, he’ll be in contention for trainer John Ennis.

No. 15 Devils Red

Age: 2

Pedigree: More Than Ready–Elusive Diva, by Elusive Quality

Purchase price: N/A

Trainer: Doug O’Neill

As the third also-eligible entrant in a large field, Devils Red will need several scratches to compete on Saturday. But if he draws in, Devils Red is worth watching. Conditioned by two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Doug O’Neill, Devils Red is a son of internationally successful stallion More Than Ready out of Elusive Diva, which makes Devils Red a full sibling to two-time Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Roy H.

Devils Red has been training fast at Keeneland, most recently clocking five furlongs from the starting gate in a bullet 1:00.4. It appears this Calumet Farm homebred has talent to accompany his impressive pedigree.

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