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New Classic Contenders Emerge

In the Dwyer Stakes (gr. II), Fly Down (TrueNicks A++) staked a claim to be considered a Belmont Stakes (gr. I) prospect, with a six lengths tally. He is from the third crop of Mineshaft (TrueNicks,SRO), as is this year’s Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) winner Discreetly Mine. Both of these horses are out of Damascus-line mares, Discreetly Mine from a daughter of Private Account, and Fly Down out of a mare by Fly So Free (by Time for a Change). A half-brother to graded winner Seafree (by Chief Seattle) has Mr. Prospector 3 x 3 (as broodmare sire of Mineshaft and as sire of the granddam of Fly Down). Mineshaft has had 66 starters with Mr. Prospector 3 x 4 or 3 x 3, and eight of them are stakes winners (12% stakes winners to runners), so the duplication is definitely a positive here. In this pedigree, Fly So Free, also contributes, as his dam is a reverse cross – Nashua over Native Dancer - to Mr. Prospector.

We noted Game On Dude as a horse to watch when he broke his maiden at Gulfstreak Park earlier this year. He was then unplaced in the Florida Derby (gr. I) and Derby Trial Stakes (gr. III), but showed the benefit of the seasoning with a win in this weekend’s Lone Star Derby (gr. III). He too may head to the Belmont Stakes. Game On Dude is by Awesome Again (TrueNicks,SRO) out of Worldly Pleasure, a stakes-winning daughter of Devil His Due (TrueNicks,SRO). This is Deputy Minister/Devil’s Bag, a cross that has a poor strike-rate, but Game On Dude is linebred to Raise a Native through the three-quarters related Mr. Prospector and Raise a Cup (broodmare sire of Devil His Due). Worldly Pleasure is the only the stakes winner in the first three dams of Game On Dude’s pedigree, but her fourth dam is Princess Roycraft, dam of the good sire Crafty Prospector.

Hotep was an early season Kentucky Derby hopeful, but left the Triple Crown trail after finishing unplaced in the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) and Louisiana Derby (gr. II). However, the Canadian-bred surfaced as a Queens’ Plate hopeful with a win in the Wando Stakes at Woodbine. A son of A.P. Indy (TrueNicks,SRO) out of Canadian Champion Eye of the Sphynx (by Smart Strike (TrueNicks,SRO)), he is rated A+ by TrueNicks.

In the Railbird Stakes (gr. III), over seven furlongs for three-year-old fillies, Tanda (TrueNicks A++) won her fourth race in six starts. Possibly headed towards the Acorn Stakes (gr. I), she is one of only two graded stakes winners by her sire, Sweetsouthernsaint (by Saint Ballado). The dam is by Dr. Caton, a Seattle Slew horse out of a three-parts-sister to Affirmed. The writing was on the wall with this cross, as Saint Ballado sired five stakes winners from just 15 starters out of mares by Seattle Slew and his sons, a strike-rate of 33% stakes winners to runners.

Among the older brigade, Rail Trip gained another major win in the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap (gr. II). He is by A.P. Indy’s son, Jump Start, a stallion whose move from Kentucky to Pennsylvania was a real boost for the Quaker state. Interesting to note that there have been only two stakes winners on the A.P. Indy/Carson City cross: Jump Start and graded winning two-year-old Beethoven (by Sky Mesa). We wonder whether it’s significant that the two exceptions are by stallions that are out of Storm Cat mares, thus combining Storm Bird and Nijinsky II.

In the Vigil Stakes (gr. II), four-year-old Hollywood Hit (A++) produced an explosive display to set a new Woodbine seven furlong track-record. He is by Hennessy’s son Cactus Ridge (TrueNicks,SRO), who looks a useful sire in his price range, out of a mare by Time For a Change, and is the second stakes winner by the sire out of a Damascus line mare (a cross that was also good for Hennessy).

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