Prospect Watch: Grace Hall’s first foal set for his debut

By Keeler Johnson/Special to HRN
December 05, 2019 09:52am

Racing at Churchill Downs came to a close last weekend, which means we’re about to dive deep into the winter season of racing on the way to the 2020 Kentucky Derby.

Fortunately, Aqueduct and Los Alamitos are ready to fill the void. The two tracks on opposite coasts will host the Remsen Stakes (G2) and Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) on Saturday, with Aqueduct and Los Alamitos also carding a handful of competitive maiden special weights that could reveal future Derby trail players.

This week’s Prospect Watch hones in on a half dozen promising colts worth noting Saturday.

Aqueduct Race 5: Maiden Special Weight (1 mile)

#9 Or’effice

Grace Hall was a classy filly, winning the 2011 Spinaway Stakes (G1) while placing in such important events as the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies 2012 Kentucky Oaks, and 2014 Vanity Stakes (G1). Sold for $3.2 million halfway through her career, Grace Hall is now a broodmare, and Or’effice will be her first foal to race. A son of acclaimed stallion and noted stamina influence Medaglia d’Oro, Or’effice brought $725,000 as a yearling, a testament to his classy pedigree. He’s shown speed during morning workouts (including a bullet half-mile from the starting gate on Nov. 29) and is trained by Mark Hennig, who strikes at a 50% rate with runners debuting at a mile or farther. Or’effice can certainly win on Saturday and looms as an exciting prospect.

Aqueduct Race 7: Maiden Special Weight (6 furlongs)

#3 Quixotic

A son of Quality Road out of a Tiznow mare, Quixotic is bred to be at his best running long, so this six-furlong dash might be more of a starting point. Then again, Quixotic sold for $300,000 as a yearling and is conditioned by trainer Jonathan Thomas, who is 2-for-7 at Aqueduct so far this meet. Quixotic’s recent workouts haven’t been overly eye-catching from a time perspective, but back in September he rocketed a half-mile from the Belmont starting gate in :47 3/5, suggesting this colt has some speed to go along with his classy pedigree.

Los Alamitos Race 8: Maiden Special Weight (6 furlongs)

#1 War Path

Produced from the Unbridled’s Song mare Good Vibes, War Path is a full-brother to Round Tower Stakes (G3) winner Intelligence Cross, who competed in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. As a result, you can argue War Path has a grass-leaning pedigree, but the progeny of sire War Front have been successful on all surfaces, and half-brother Bay of Biscay (by Giant’s Causeway) ran second in the 2014 Oklahoma Derby (G3) on dirt. In any case, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert sees fit to debut War Path on the main track, and the colt will receive a five-pound weight break courtesy of apprentice jockey J.C. Diaz, Jr.

#3 Hallowed Gift

Purchased for $250,000 as a 2-year-old in training, Hallowed Gift boasts a Kentucky Derby-oriented pedigree. Sire Bodemeister ran second in the 2012 Derby and sired 2017 Derby winner Always Dreaming, while dam sire Holy Bull sired 2005 Derby winner Giacomo. It could thus be considered ironic that Hallowed Gift’s half-sister, Fiesta, was a stakes winner sprinting five furlongs on grass, but she’s a daughter of champion sprinter Speightstown, which adds more speed to her pedigree. Hallowed Gift figures to be a more long-winded type for trainer John Sadler, who wins at a respectable 18% rate with first-timers. A lengthy work tab with plenty of five-furlong breezes suggests Hallowed Gift can fire a big effort on debut, but improve while stretching out down the road.

#7 My Sunshine

My Sunshine’s dam, Shine Again, was a talented five-time graded stakes winner during the early 2000s, most notably scoring back-to-back victories in the Ballerina Handicap (G1) at Saratoga. Shine Again did her best work as a sprinter, but her son, My Sunshine, could inherit some stamina from his stoutly-bred sire Giant’s Causeway. This January foal brings a light work tab to his debut and probably isn’t cranked to win, as trainer Patrick Gallagher strikes at just a 2% rate with first-time starters, but My Sunshine has the breeding to be a capable runner down the road. 

#8 Moonlight Beach

Fresh off of winning the Del Mar meet title, jockey Abel Cedillo will partner with Moonlight Beach at Los Alamitos. Trained by Doug O’Neill, Moonlight Beach is bred to excel in the classics considering his sire (Malibu Moon) and dam sire (Elusive Quality) have both produced Kentucky Derby winners. Moonlight Beach’s dam, Havenlass, has already produced some capable two-turn dirt runners, including Fight On (winner of the 1 1/16-mile Fifth Season Stakes) and Two Weeks Off (third in the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes). Moonlight Beach sold for just $30,000 as a 2-year-old, and his work tab isn’t particularly eye-catching, but from a pedigree perspective this colt bears watching.


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