Happy Holidays


I am going to be out of town for the holidays, so there will be no Maiden Watch updates for the next week. So, I thought I would leave you with some questions to ponder and comment about.

1. What was the most impressive performance by a 2-year old in 2008? Any 2-year old, not restricted to Maiden Watch Horses.

To me, the most impressive performance by a 2-year old was Congo Kaye's victory in the Juan Gonzalez Memorial Stakes on July 6. She was making her first start that day and came out of the gate like many debut runners, slowly. She was so far back that she was out of the picture for much of the race. Once she did appear on the screen, she began picking off opponents one by one. She then ran down the 1-5 favorite Broadway Hennessey for the win. It's not that uncommon for maiden 2-year olds to win stakes races, but a debut stakes winner is a little more rare. She came back a couple weeks later and faced Broadway Hennessey again in the Wine Country Juvenile Filly Stakes, finishing 2nd. Broadway Hennessey would go on to finish 5th in the Arlington-Washington Lassie (gr. III). Congo Kaye has been off since the Wine Country, but she's recently returned to the worktab and it will be interesting to see her run back.

2. What horse or horses have the most potential, in your opinion, to become good 3-year olds. Again, this is any 2-year old, not just Maiden Watch horses.

I thought I'd stick with Maiden Watch horses, and pick one for each sire.

Birdstone: I can't resist going with Resplendently here. I'm a sucker for a closer and the ground he made up in his debut was very impressive.

Congaree: After going on about Congo Kaye, it would be easy to pick her here, but I think I'll go with Presents for Berti. Even though he finished 7th last time out in the Grand Canyon Stakes, I think he'll bounce back.

Medaglia d'Oro: I love Rachel Alexandra, but this is about potential and she's already a grade II winner. So, I'll go with Gabby's Golden Gal, who was one of our first workers. She finished 3rd in her debut at Hollywood on June 15, and then disappeared. She started working again at the end of November and I'm hopeful for a good 3-year old season.

Peace Rules: With 2 wins and 2 seconds already, I'll take Missunitednations. What I really like about this one is her toughness, which she showed in winning an allowance race at Aqueduct in her most recent start on December 12.

Pleasantly Perfect: I was debating a couple of Pleasantly Perfect's, but I think I'm going with Pitched Perfectly. I like that this one has been making steady progress, from 5th first time out, to 2nd, to finally getting his maiden win on December 13. He definitely seemed to improve as the distances increased.

Saarland: Saar Treaty hasn't run a bad one since switching to turf, as her maiden win on September 12, was followed by a 2nd in the Missy Moo I Love You Stakes.

Smarty Jones: Rockland showed potential from his first race where he was third. He has been very professional in his races, and it's easy to see him continue to move forward. Now that he's got a victory on the turf, it will be interesting to see what route they take with him.

Speightstown: Greer Lynn, who won at the Fair Grounds on December 18, looks like one that will go on, but I think I'll go with Mullins Beach. She broke her maiden nicely on the turf on August 31, before finishing 8th in the Mazarine Stakes. She rebounded, however, on October 30, winning a 6 furlong allowance race.

3. Which is your favorite Maiden Watch horse? Note that this is favorite, not which one you think is the best.

This one is hard for me because I have a lot of favorites, after watching them so closely. But the horse I root the hardest for is Precious Beans. Yes, I was first attracted to this horse because of his name. It's a clever name, and nice to see among all the golds and d'oros among the Medaglia d'Oro offspring. He's also one of those horses who always seems to be involved, but just can't get that final push. I'm also becoming fond of Footcandles, who looks so good in the post parade, but so far hasn't run to those looks. And there is something about Texas Birdstone that I can't explain. And hard not to like Valid Rule, who first time out dropped his rider and went back to the barn, and second time out romped. Saarlandisourland is a favorite at the Bloodhorse. Again, it's the name. But, she has shown some ability. I think the fact that she has stayed in Maiden Special Weight races says something about what her connections think of her. Into My Soul is another favorite, I think because he seems to get no respect. Run Smart One has to be my favorite Smarty. It sounds so philosophical. Persian is another one that gives you hope for victory (he's finished 3rd four times), the kind that keep me coming back for more. My favorite among the stakes horses has to be Rachel Alexandra. She's good, has a lot of determination, a great name, and the coolest blaze. What's not to like?


Leave a Comment:


Im really interested in Jordan's Song, but have only seen something about her once, how is she doing? pardon me if the horse is a colt too, the post about them was awhile ago.

22 Dec 2008 10:43 AM

Merry Christmas!

I think Obligingly's win at Calder was very impressive.  I think Idl Maker, Uno Mas, Into My Soul, and American Dace will develop into great horses next year.  My favorite Maiden Watch horse is either Munnings. Quite the Lady, Da Bear Facts, or Mullins Beach.

22 Dec 2008 12:40 PM
Pleasantly Perfect Fan

Great minds think alike, because I also think Into My Soul doesnt seem to get any respect, and I think he is going to make a very nice horse.I was also looking forward to seeing Quite a Lady and Rapid Redux run this winter but both must have big problems because I havent seen them work in quite a while.I think the Pleasantly Perfects are just going to get better there 3 yr old year, so watch out!!! ;)

22 Dec 2008 1:32 PM

I must say Precious Beans is a cool name. My nickname in High School and beyond has been Bean from many...lol

22 Dec 2008 1:34 PM
Frank J.

I have to agree with PP Fan here, Rapid Redux does look very good, as well as Into My Soul. Pitched Perfectly can make some noise as well and they will get better with age and distance. Rockland is very good as well and is obviously turning heads. But am I wrong in thinking the best performance by a 2 year old was Stardom Bound or am I crazy here??

22 Dec 2008 2:52 PM
C Bea

I'll be looking forward to a new set of Freshman sires in 2009. Your miss of Tapit as the No. 1 Freshman sire this year left out a number of exciting runners. Maybe next year my friend.

22 Dec 2008 9:08 PM

The single most impressive 2 year old race I saw was firster Elusive Heat's maiden win. She was amazing and demolished the field.

For an overall 2 year old campaign - Stardom Bound has my vote.

22 Dec 2008 9:53 PM

I know you love some of the Medaglia d'Oro names...I have a 2yo that begins training in Jan...named DOUBLESHOTESPRESSO

23 Dec 2008 12:22 AM
Pleasantly Perfect Fan

I dont know Frank J., I am going to withhold my judgement on Stardom Bound till she runs on good old fashion dirt. I love Old Fashioned!! And I love Larry Jones, so I hope he gets a super horse, and would love to see him win the Derby.Racing needs men like him in this sport.

23 Dec 2008 12:52 AM
Pleasantly Perfect Fan

I dont know about Stardom Bound, while she has crushed so far, I want to see what she does on real dirt.MajorMotionPicture is one that I hope does well also. I love Old Fashioned and I hope he turns into a monster! That is my early Derby pick....Unless a Pleasantly Perfect baby is running of course!;)

23 Dec 2008 11:10 AM

Most impressive this year as a 2yr old for me was WELL POSITIONED  i think he won by like 18 lengths owned by Paul Pompa who owned BIG BROWN..

23 Dec 2008 11:35 AM

Precious Beans is an excellent name.  I can see a future of Jack and the Beanstalk themed names for his get:  Magic Beans, Jack's Beans, etc.

23 Dec 2008 11:51 AM

I still think its too soon for derby picks. Remember War Pass everyone? There is a lot of racing to be done before May. Anything can happen, its horse racing. Big Brown had one race under his belt this time last year. Happy Holidays.

23 Dec 2008 12:01 PM

I remember warpass especially when i watched him run live at tampa bay downs. The crowd crowned him before the race even started they were cheering him like he had allready won the derby boy were they disappointed and for that matter so was i he cost me the pick 4. Go birdstone and as for tappit he wont be a first year sire next year so your out of luck sorry c bea tappit did have a few good runners this year but birdstone had more. Merry Christmass...

24 Dec 2008 2:31 PM
Blood-Horse Staff

GregC - thanks for the info about Doubleshotespresso. Yes, I love the Medaglia d'Oro coffee names. Please keep us updated on his progress.

27 Dec 2008 12:31 PM
Blood-Horse Staff

AnneM & Frank J - I certainly agree that Stardom Bound is the best 2-year old of 2006, of any gender. It will be interesting to see if she continues to progress and how she takes to the conventional dirt.

27 Dec 2008 12:34 PM
Blood-Horse Staff

Meg - Jordan's Song (filly; Unbridled's Song - Jordanesque by Mr. Prospector) has run 3 times, finishing 9th on the Saratoga turf on August 25, 3rd at Keeneland on October 9, and 8th at Churchill Downs on November 5.

27 Dec 2008 12:37 PM
Blood-Horse Staff

Persian hits the board again - 2nd this time at Fair Grounds race 3 on December 27.

27 Dec 2008 2:37 PM
Silky Sullivan

I thought Mr. Fantasy was tremendously impressive in his win Dec 28th at the Big A, earning a 97 beyer in his debut. A half to Tin Cup Chalice but by the much more prominent E. Dubai, this late May foal has a very similar style to his younger brother and looks like he can sprint or stretch out.

30 Dec 2008 12:42 PM

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