The 'Return' of Bluegrass Warrior

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News and Notes

As I complete the last MaidenWatch previews for 2010, I think about the year that got us here. The stallions for 2010 were determined on January 26, with Bernardini, Bluegrass Cat, Bellamy Road, Henny Hughes, and Rockport Harbor getting the nod. The voters chose wisely, with all 5 stallions ranking in the top 20 amongst first-crop sires. And although Congrats appears to have clinched the first-year leading sire crown, Bluegrass Cat and Bernardini both gave him a good battle. It certainly is encouraging to see the top spots occupied by sires whose offspring should improve even more next year.

It's the nature of the blog that every year is filled with firsts. Our first worker was the Bernardini colt Wilburn (Bernardini - Moonlight Sonata by Carson City), who actually recorded his first work on December 31, 2009, going 3 furlongs in :36.00. Wilburn sold for $625,000 at the Keeneland April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale, but has not yet started. He most recently worked at Santa Anita on December 28, going 4 furlongs in :50.40. Our first starter was Speed Demon (Bluegrass Cat - Celestial Legend by City Zip) on April 2 at Keeneland, where he finished 3rd. He broke his maiden in his second start, a 4.5 furlong contest at Churchill Downs, and went on to place in three stakes, including a third in the Bashford Manor (gr. III). Bluegrass Cat's first winner was the filly Bluegrass Phenom (Bluegrass Cat - Reboot by Rubiano), who went gate-to-wire at Keeneland on April 23. The first starter for Bellamy Road was a winner, as Bella Palooza (Bellamy Road - Steal the Show by Cat Thief) won at Hollywood Park on May 19. After a long break, she has returned to make two starts in the Fall at Hollywood Park, winning a 6 furlong Starter Allowance on December 2. Bernardini's first winner was A Z Warrior (Bernardini - Carson Jen by Carson City) on July 15 at Hollywood. She later won the grade I Frizette at Belmont. Dalamar (Henny Hughes - Dutchess Mojo by Deputy Minister) was the first to win for Henny Hughes, as he went right to the lead at Delaware Park on July 21. Rockport Harbor was the last of our stallions to record a winner, when Parvenu (Rockport Harbor - Last Toots by Concern) scored on August 1 at Philadelphia Park.

There were top performers that grabbed the share of the headlines for every sire. In addition to A Z Warrior, Bernardini had group 1 winner Biondetti (Bernardini - Lyphard's Delta by Lyphard), as well as multiple-graded stakes winner To Honor and Serve (Bernardini - Pilfer by Deputy Minister), who is on many early Derby lists, and group III winner Theyskens' Theory (Bernardini - Heat Lightning by Summer Squall). Bluegrass Cat's stakes winners were Grey Stakes (Can-II) winner Blue Laser (Bluegrass Cat - With a Princess by With Approval), and Kathmanblu (Bluegrass Cat - Abba Gold by Devil's Bag), a grade II winner on the dirt (in the Golden Rod), who was also a stakes winner on the turf (JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes), and finished 3rd in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. II). Grade II winner Position Limit (Bellamy Road - Payable On Demand by Out of Place) was the big winner for Bellamy Road, but he also had stakes winners Bellamy Jones (Bellamy Road - Kind Lena by Seneca Jones) and Embellished (Bellamy Road - Birthright by Belong to Me). Henny Hughes had no stakes winners, but he did have two stakes performers in Fort Hughes (Henny Hughes - Forty Greeta (ARG) by Roar) and Wealthy Aviator (Henny Hughes - Jera by Jeblar). Rockport Harbor's two stakes winners are Bear's Future (Rockport Harbor - Prairie Pie by Belong to Me) and May Day Rose (Rockport Harbor - May Day Bluff by Pine Bluff).

There are other MaidenWatch runners who became favorites for whatever reason. For me, I think of Texas Tempest (Bernardini - Copelan's Bid Gal by Copelan), Bernardini's first North American runner, whose debut I saw in person at Churchill Downs. She showed nothing that day, but has since broken her maiden and finished second in allowance company. Another favorite is Cat Sweep (Bluegrass Cat - Nany's Sweep by End Sweep), who won me over when he was forced into the gap in a start at Presque Isle Downs, but still finished second. He was starting to have the look of a career maiden, but his last race was one of his best, when he finished a good second at Woodbine behind impressive winner Queen'splatekitten. And despite myself, I can't help liking Joyous Music (Bellamy Road - Pyrite Queen by Wavering Monarch), who runs as fast as she can for as far as she can. She has a second and two thirds in 10 starts. I'm also rather fond of Peb Hughes (Henny Hughes - Race Artist by Mr. Prospector), who is one of those, gets close, but can't seem to win horses that I am a sucker for. And, Deco Rocks (Rockport Harbor - Decoratedwithonour by Matter of Honor) captured my heart (and helped out my wallet), when she paid $38 for her maiden victory. Who are your favorites among the MaidenWatch horses?

So now, it's time to look to the future. Soon, we will be choosing the sires to follow in 2011. Please submit your suggestions, and I will compile them for the vote. The 5 stallions that receive the most votes will be the MaidenWatch stallions for 2011. Remember, these are stallions whose oldest offspring will be 2-year olds in 2011. If you need help remembering which horses qualify, go to the Stallion Register, and search for those who entered stud in 2008. Examples include: English Channel, Invasor, Hard Spun, and Street Sense.

December 30 Results

Racing was cancelled at Hawthorne, so both Bellamy Lass (Bellamy Road) and Gavilan (Rockport Harbor - Christmas Party by Wild Again) stayed in the barn.

Queen Hatshepsut Rules

There were no scratches, and the track was fast. Empire Diva (Empire Maker - Mooji Moo by Jeblar) was the heavy favorite, and Systems Go (Bluegrass Cat - Risk Aversion by Grindstone) was 6-1. Freshcat (With Distinction - Cowgirl Lucky by Stephen Got Even) broke on top, but Classic Ten (Tenpins - Tyendenega by Regal Classic) didn't let her get too far ahead. Just off these two was Systems Go. The opening quarter was slow, :25.50. Classic Ten went by to lead, with Systems Go sticking close. Freshcat stayed around for awhile, but then retreated. Queen Hatshepsut (Ministers Wild Cat - Atlantra by Majestic Light) began to make up some ground. Systems Go seemed like she would sweep on by, but she bore out, sustantially compromising her chances. Queen Hatshepsut was forced wide by Systems Go, but motored to the lead and drew off by 2 while staying wide. Classic Ten finished a head in front of Systems Go, who certainly would have been second with a straighter path. Favorite Empire Diva settled for fourth. Watch the Replay.

December 30, 2010
Penn National Race 1

Maiden Special Weight

Queen Hatshepsut $17.80
$7.20
$5.60
Classic Ten  
$6.80
$4.20
Systems Go  

$5.20

View Race Details

Don Dulce Comes On Strong

Fleetwing (Include - Capote's Katarina by Capote) was scratched, along with AEs First and Ten (Forestry - Extend by Unbridled's Song) and Sockarooni (Dixieland Band - Midnite Deelite by Afternoon Deelites). Voodat (Roman Ruler - Unbridled Secret by Unbridled's Song), who had finished second twice in a row, was favored. First-timer Lumberyard Jack (Bellamy Road - Shellys Terms by Private Terms) was getting some play at 5-1. He went right to the front from his rail post. Lookin At Tiger (Broken Vow - Tigress Woods by A.P. Indy) kept him company in second, and Ratatat (Tapit - Kwik as a Wink by De Niro) was just off that one in third. Lumberyard Jack continued to show the way, but favorite Voodat was getting involved. Voodat took a short lead, as Lumberyard Jack was weakening and running green. Coming home fast were longshot Derby Obsession (Ten Centuries - Golden Swallow by Affirmed) and Don Dulce (Maria's Mon - Sweet Eloise by Sky Classic), who was last in the early going. It was Don Dulce who finished best, winning by 1/2 length. Voodat fought back to hold second over Derby Obsession, whose jockey lost his whip. Lumberyard Jack finished fourth, a promising debut for him. Watch the Replay.

December 30, 2010
Fair Grounds Race 8

Maiden Special Weight

Don Dulce $10.80
$4.20
$3.20
Voodat  
$3.60
$2.80
Derby Obsession  

$12.00

View Race Details

On Thestage

Only the AEs were scratched, and the track was fast. Onda Fast Track (Easyfromthegitgo - Onda Ray by On Target) was favored. Also getting some respect were My Cousins and Me (Lion Tamer - Phone Carol by Phone Trick) and Show Elle Thestage (Silver Train - Show Me the Stage by Slew the Surgeon). August High (Rockport Harbor - Hot August Nights by Summer Squall) was a cool 50-1. Onda Fast Track and My Cousins and Me dueled early, with Melba's Rose (Lydgate - Miss December Rose by Dare and Go) tracking in third. Misty Lady (K One King - Mist of Honour by Honour and Glory) had a good spot, sitting off the top three in fourth. August High was off slowly, and was at the back. Onda Fast Track took a clear lead in the stretch. However, She Elle Thestage was begining to make a run. She moved into fifth, then fourth, and then was even with Onda Fast Track. She pulled free of the pacesetter to get the victory. August High loped along at the back, beating one to finish 11th. Show Elle Thestage is winner number 24 for Silver Train. Watch the Replay.

December 30, 2010
Fair Grounds Race 5

Maiden Special Weight

Show Elle Thestage $9.20
$4.40
$3.00
Onda Fast Track  
$3.40
$2.40
Misty Lady  

$4.20

View Race Details

Other December 30 Result

Biggin Mike (colt; Henny Hughes - Be Happy My Love by Formal Gold) finished 6th in race 5 at Turfway Park, a 6.5 furlong Claiming race (Claiming Price $7,500). Watch the Replay.

December 31 Entries

Heidi Maria is So Tempted in Magicallytown

December 31, 2010
Santa Anita Race 6

Maiden Special Weight
6 furlongs
2-year-old fillies
Post Time: 6:06 PM ET HRTV

P Horse
1. R Clever Cat
2. Hey Maria
3. Bauble Queen
4. Heidi Maria
5. Magicallytown
6. Rumor
7. Blazing Along
8. Continetta
9. So Tempted

Heidi Maria (Rockport Harbor - Third Street by Salt Lake) is scheduled to make her first start going 6 furlongs at Santa Anita. She has primarily been working at Hollywood Park, but her most recent 2 works were on the dirt at Santa Anita, including 4 furlongs from the gate in :48.00 on December 24. Heidi Maria was a $125,000 yearling, and is out of the winning mare Third Street. Third Street has produced 4 winners from 5 to run, including stakes winner Doc's Doll. Doc's Doll was a winner at 2, and earned $207,985 overall. Third Street is a half sister to 3 winners, including Nostradamus and Saugautuck, both group II winners in Singapore. Rockport Harbor's 76 runners have made 204 combined starts, recording 28 wins, 30 seconds, 26 thirds, and $944,404.

Blazing Along (Medaglia d'Oro - Valkyries' Ride by Dixieland Band) has run four times. She debuted at 5.5 furlongs at Del Mar on August 8, finishing 3rd. She then made 2 starts in New York, finishing 6th at 6 furlongs at Saratoga on August 28, and 8th at 7 furlongs on the turf at Belmont on September 24. Her most recent start came in the 6 furlong Anoakia Stakes at Hollywood Park on October 24, where she was 4th. Blazing Along was a $50,000 weanling, and sold for $600,000 as a yearling. She is a half sister to the winner Shofar. Valkyries' Ride, dam of Blazing Along, is a half sister to 3 winners, including stakes winner Grand Deed.

Hey Maria (Maria's Mon - Majority Whip by Gulch) has run twice, finishing 5th at 6 furlongs on August 15, and 8th at 5.5 furlongs on September 4. Both starts were at Del Mar. Hey Maria sold for $30,000 as a yearling, and is out of stakes-placed Majority Whip, who earned $230,418. Majority Whip is a full sister to one winner, and a half sister to 3 winners, including grade III stakes-placed Mondavi.

So Tempted (Broken Vow - Raffles Light by Gulch) did her previous running in Kentucky, finishing 8th at 6.5 furlongs at Keeneland on October 29, and 7th at 6 furlongs at Churchill on November 20. She is the first foal out of the unraced mare Raffles Light. Raffles Light is a full sister to one winner, and a half sister to 6 winners.

R Clever Cat (Forest Wildcat - Clever Maid by Confide) was 5th in her only start, a 6 furlong contest at Hollywood Park on October 27. She is the second foal out of stakes-placed Clever Maid, who was placed at 2. Clever Maid is a half sister to 2 winners.

The others are unraced, including Rumor (Indian Charlie - Mini Chat by Deputy Minister), who sold for $440,000 as a yearling. She is a half sister to Dixie Chatter, who won 2 races as a 2-year-old, including the Norfolk Stakes (gr. I). Overall, Dixie Chatter earned $464,606 in 13 starts. Mini Chat, dam of Rumor, is a half sister to 3 winners, including grade II winner Cat Chat.

Bauble Queen (Arch - Muneefa by Storm Cat) brought $130,000 as a yearling, and is out of the winning mare Muneefa. Muneefa has produced 3 winners, including stakes winner Leamington. Muneefa is a full sister to one winner, and a half sister to 2 winners, including group III winner Fahal.

Magicallytown (Speightstown - Beautiful Charm by Lil's Lad), who sold for $40,000 as a yearling, is the first foal out of the winning mare Beautiful Charm. Beautiful Charm is a half sister to 11 winners, including stakes-placed Sly Maid.

Continetta (Bernstein - In the Will by Seeking the Gold) is out of the winning mare In the Will, who has produced 5 winners from 6 to run. Her offspring include stakes winner Charitabledonation, who is the dam of grade II winner Charitable Man. Two of her offspring won at 2. In the Will is a half sister to 2 winners, including Admire Mambo, a group II winner in Japan.

Bluegrass Warrior Returns to Turfway

December 31, 2010
Turfway Park Race 12

Maiden Special Weight
5.5 furlongs
2-year-olds
Post Time: 10:49 PM ET TVG

P Horse
1. Biogio's Legend
2. Gray Galaxy
3. Taptowne
4. Demi Flame
5. Unsaddled Glory
6. Uncle T
7. S. S. Razor
8. Bluegrass Warrior
9. Night Party
10. Benevolent Despot
11. Road to the Ring

It's ironic that Bluegrass Warrior (Bluegrass Cat - Awesome Humor by Distorted Humor) debuts at Turfway Park, the site of many great performances by another Bluegrass Warrior. That Bluegrass Warrior, a 1985 Navajo gelding, ran 125 times from age 2 to 13, recording 21 wins, 15 seconds, 10 thirds, and $231,533 in earnings. He was a distance specialist, and still holds the track record for 2 miles at Turfway, a record unlikely to be broken given the change to Polytrack and the scarcity of 2 mile races. He was a favorite of many (including yours truly), and don't be surprised if this Bluegrass Warrior takes some sentimental money. Read more about that Bluegrass Warrior at Tom LaMarra's At Large blog in an entry from 2009. The 2-year-old Bluegrass Warrior has been working at the WinStar Training Center, including 4 furlongs in :49.20 on December 22. Like Turfway Park, the WinStar Training Center is an All-Weather surface. Awesome Humor, dam of Bluegrass Warrior, was 4 for 4 at 2, including wins in the Spinaway (gr. I), Adirondack (gr. II), and Debutante Stakes (gr. III). Overall, she earned $848,950 in 11 starts. Awesome Humor has produced 2 winners, including stakes-placed Keep Me Informed. Bluegrass Cat's 64 runners have made 221 combined starts, recording 27 wins, 24 seconds, 35 thirds, and $1,410,476 in earnings.

Biogio's Legend (Elusive Quality - Biogio's Rose by Polish Numbers) and Unsaddled Glory (Belong to Me - Champagne N Glory by Miswaki) finished 2nd and 3rd in a 6 furlong race at Turfway Park on December 3. Unsaddled Glory set the pace in that contest. Biogio's Legend has no other starts. He is out of grade III winner Biogio's Rose, who won 3 races at 2, including the East View Stakes. Biogio's Rose earned $797,959 in her career, and has produced 3 winners, one of which won at 2. Biogio's Rose is a full sister to 2 winners, and a half sister to 10 winners. Unsaddled Glory previously finished 7th at a mile at Churchill Downs on November 19, and 11th at 6 furlongs at Keeneland on October 28. He is the first foal out of the winning mare Champagne N Glory, who was a winner at 2. Champagne N Glory is a half sister to one winner.

Taptowne (Tapit - Holly's Wager by Valid Wager) finished 7th at 6 furlongs in his debut at Churchill Downs on November 4, and then finished 3rd at 6 furlongs at Turfway Park on December 4. He is out of the winning mare Holly's Wager, who was a winner at 2. Holly's Wager has produced 2 winners, including stakes winner Tacky Cat. Holly's Wager is a half sister to 6 winners, including stakes winner Belle's Appeal.

Uncle T (Pulpit - Mocha Queen by Cozzene) has run 6 times without placing. His best finish was 5th in a 5.5 furlong turf race at Ellis Park on July 31. Most recently, he finished 6th in a mile race at Turfway Park on December 10. Uncle T is the first foal out of stakes winner Mocha Queen, who was a winner at 2, and who earned $393,219 in her career. Mocha Queen is a half sister to 6 winners, including stakes winner Ghost Queen.

The last one with experience is Demi Flame (Moro Oro - Demi Paige by Demidoff), who was 4th in his only start, a 5.5 furlong race at Hoosier Park on September 25. He is out of stakes-placed Demi Paige, who was placed at 2. Demi Paige has produced 2 winners from 3 to run, including stakes winner Demido. Both of her winning offspring are full sisters to Demi Flame. Demi Paige is a half sister to 6 winners, including stakes winners Four Columns and Free Bonus. Five of her winning siblings are by Moro Oro, sire of Demi Flame.

Gray Galaxy (Greeley's Galaxy - Runexample by Runaway Groom), S. S. Razor (Razor - Sassy Senorita by El Gran Senor), and Road to the Ring (Aragorn (IRE) - Road Affair by Cahill Road) are all by freshman sires. Gray Galaxy is by Greeley's Galaxy, whose 22 runners have made 65 total starts, recording 6 wins, 4 seconds, 6 thirds, and $168,459 in earnings. Gray Galaxy is a half brother to the winner Yellow Meadow, who was placed at 2. Their dam, Runexample, is a half sister to 6 winners, including group II winner Intikhab. S. S. Razor is the second runner for his sire, stakes winner Razor. Razor's other runner, Hoosier Hootie, finished was 10th in his only start. S. S. Razor is out of the winning mare Sassy Senorita. Aragorn, sire of Road to the Ring, has had 42 starters, which have made 148 combined starts, recording 13 wins, 19 seconds, 24 thirds, and $479,770 in earnings. A $15,000 yearling, Road to the Ring is out of the placed mare Road Affair, who has produced 3 winners from 3 to run. One of her offspring won at 2. Road Affair is a half sister to 7 winners, including stakes winners Island Emperor and Lifeisawhirl, and grade I winner Songandaprayer.

Night Party (Rahy - Revolutionary Act by Boston Harbor) is the second foal out of stakes winner Revolutionary Act, who earned $146,861. Revolutionary Act is a half sister to 11 winners.

Selling for $17,000 as a yearling was Benevolent Despot (Eddington - Zarzuela by Seattle Slew), who is out of the placed mare Zarzuela. Zarzuela has produced 4 winners from 4 to run. Two of her offspring won at 2, and one was a debut winner that season. Zarzuela is a half sister to 3 winners, including grade III stakes-placed Andover Lady.

Other December 31 Entry

Trix Are for Katz (filly; Bluegrass Cat - Every Trick by Grand Slam) runs in race 5 at Tampa Bay Downs, a 7 furlong Maiden Claiming race (Claiming Price $12,500). Post time is 2:17 PM ET. Trix Are for Katz has one second and one third in 6 starts. Last time out, she was 6th in a 6 furlong Maiden Claiming race on a muddy track at Hoosier Park on October 3. Trix Are for Katz is the first foal out of stakes-placed Every Trick, who earned $129,469. Every Trick is a half sister to 2 winners, including stakes winner Whiskey Lit. Bluegrass Cat's 64 runners have made 221 combined starts, recording 27 wins, 24 seconds, 35 thirds, and $1,410,476 in earnings.

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