Prospect Watch: Strike Power's sibling set to sprint at Aqueduct

By Keeler Johnson/Special to HRN
November 14, 2019 09:03am

It’s going to be a big week for juvenile sprints at racetracks throughout the country.

Across Friday and Saturday, Aqueduct, Churchill Downs, and Del Mar have all scheduled competitive dashes for 2-year-old males, with the $100,000 Bob Hope Stakes (G3) out west leading the way. In New York, look for the brother of graded stakes-winning sprinter Promises Fulfilled to shine before some of his distance-oriented rivals make the stretch out.

During this lull period on the Road to the 2020 Kentucky Derby, let’s add eight more up-and-coming youngsters to our watch lists:

Friday

Churchill Downs Race 8: Maiden Special Weight (6 ½ furlongs)

#4 Ghost Game

Purchased for $325,000 as a yearling, Ghost Game has the pedigree of a classy miler, being a son of Ghostzapper out of an Indian Charlie mare. While Ghost Game’s own distance proclivities are still unclear — he’ll make his debut on Friday — you can bet trainer Dale Romans will give this promising prospect every chance to develop into a Kentucky Derby contender.

#6 Approved

A homebred racing for Gary and Mary West, Approved is a son of 1998 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Awesome Again out of a mare by Deputy Minister, sire of 2003 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Funny Cide. With this classic-oriented pedigree, Approved is an intriguing young prospect conditioned by Wayne Catalano, who wins at a solid 15% rate with first-time starters. The colt has posted some swift workouts in recent weeks, including a bullet half-mile in :46 4/5 on Oct. 25 at Churchill Downs, suggesting a strong debut performance is on the horizon.

#11 Lautrec

The second foal out of Gifted Girl, runner-up in the 2013 Beverly D. Stakes (G1), Lautrec is a daughter of 2006 Preakness Stakes winner Bernardini. Sold for $270,000 as a yearling, Lautrec is set to debut for the high-profile team of trainer Steve Asmussen and owners Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis D. Horton. His work tab isn’t particularly eye catching, but leading jockey Corey Lanerie has accepted the mount. Now Lautrec just needs to avoid a wide trip while breaking from post 11, and that's Lanerie's speciality.

Saturday

Aqueduct Race 4: Maiden Special Weight (6 furlongs)

#3 Obsessed

As a son of More Than Ready out of a Smart Strike mare, Obsessed is arguably bred more for grass than dirt, so it’s hard to know what to expect in his debut. Purchased for $330,000 as a yearling by Barry Schwartz, Obsessed’s work tab has been a little inconsistent, but some of his moves have been solid, including a half-mile from the Saratoga starting gate in :47 3/5 on August 17. In any case, trainer Todd Pletcher is winning at a 23% rate with first-time starters this year and Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez has accepted the mount, making Obsessed a colt to watch on Saturday.

#5 Kingmeister

Bred and owned by Courtlandt Farms, Kingmeister is a son of Bodemeister out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Gold d’Oro, making him a half-brother to the graded stakes-winning sprinter Strike Power. Conditioned by Mark Hennig, Kingmeister has compiled a steady series of workouts dating back to September, including a pair of bullet five-furlong moves. Bred for both speed and stamina, Kingmeister should fire a nice effort on debut.

Churchill Downs Race 8: Maiden Special Weight (6 ½ furlongs)

#3 Fulfill

A son of Congrats, Fulfill was produced from the Prized mare Ponderway, already the dam of stakes winners Toasting and Riversrunrylee. Considering Fulfill’s accomplished siblings both secured major victories running a mile or farther on dirt, Fulfill has the pedigree to stretch out in distance. But before he runs long, trainer Asmussen will debut the colt over six furlongs at Churchill Downs. Sharp recent workouts from the starting gate hint at ability, and Lanerie has taken the mount here, too.

#5 Tiz Rye Time

Trainer Ian Wilkes rarely wins with first-time starters, but you can add Tiz Rye Time to your list of horses to watch down the road. The first foal out of Wilkes’ 2014 Remington Park Oaks winner Shanon Nicole, Tiz Rye Time is a son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow. This stamina-oriented pedigree suggests Tiz Rye Time will improve with maturity, so anything resembling a promising effort on Saturday could be taken as a sign of good things to come.

Del Mar Race 8: Bob Hope Stakes (7 furlongs)

#3 Thousand Words

We featured Thousand Words prior to his Oct. 26 debut at Santa Anita, and this $1 million yearling purchase lived up to expectations with a determined triumph. At first glance, his half-length margin of victory could be considered disappointing, but the runner-up was John Shirreffs’ promising colt Thunder Code, who finished 6 ¼ lengths clear of the third-place horse. It should also be noted Thousand Words posted solid numbers, earning an 88 Beyer and an 89 Brisnet Speed Rating. A sharp effort in the Bob Hope will be widely expected from this exciting Bob Baffert-trained youngster.

 

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