By Doug Salvatore
The third race on Friday's card at Belmont Park is the 118th running of the Tremont Stakes.
Tremont was one of the most remarkable two-year-olds in history. He finished his career a perfect 13-for-13 and did it by winning 13 different stakes races in a span of just 10 weeks, by an average margin of victory of nearly six lengths.
Certainly this ranks as the most amazing ten-week long racing career in Thoroughbred history!
The great Jockey Club handicapper Walter Vosburgh wrote the following about Tremont:
Amusingly, after several years on hiatus, NYRA decided to bring back the Tremont Stakes for the first time since 2008, and it drew just a field of five horses. Two of them are first-time starters, and none of them have ever started in New York before. Yes, it sure is rare to see a stakes race at a NYRA track where the entrants have made more starts at Turf Paradise than they have at New York tracks.
The 9-to-5 morning line favorite is Chocolate Wildcat. His only career start resulted in a gate-to-wire win at Gulfstream Park in stylish fashion. However, the form of that debut win has not been flattered by the subsequent performances of the horses he beat. Indeed, the second place finisher Jack's Comprise was bet to 8-to-5 odds in his next start, and was absolutely smoked, finishing a distant fourth. The third-place finisher in Chocolate Wildcat's debut, Boozin Time, was bet to 4-to-5 favortisim in his next start, and was dusted, while beaten 18 lengths at Calder.
Perhaps the horse with the most appealing look is 2-to-1 morning line Bessie's Boy for Wesley Ward. He was hammered to 3-to-5 favortisim and won his career debut at Pimlico. The second and third place finishers that day came back to make up the exacta in the $75,000 Rollicking Stakes at Pimlico. The third-place finisher in that Rollicking Stakes, beaten by more than seven lengths, was Hootenanny, who returned to easily capture a race on opening day of Royal Ascot.
Truth be told, the Tremont is not an appealing betting race. A horse like Shrewd Move plainly states that point. He was beaten twice at Turf Paradise in the first two starts of his career before returning to break his maiden at Prairie Meadows against just three opponents, and he's 3-to-1 on the morning line.
The Tremont is the type of race that we expect to prove an Anti-key race as the Saratoga meet unfolds.
Finally, a pair of impressive 2-year-old debut winners were unveiled on Thursday. That doesn't excite me, but what does excite me is the fact that both have pedigrees that suggest great improvement with distance and experience.
*At Santa Anita, the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained Caval was a brilliant debut winner, taking a Maiden Special Weight race by 5.5 lengths in the exceptional final time of 56.78 seconds. She was just 0.05 seconds off of the track record.
Most impressively, Caval is sired by Breeders' Cup Classic winner Blame. He was a late developer who proved best at a route of ground.
Caval's second dam is Sierra Madre. She was a multiple Group 1 winner in Europe. In fact, Sierra Madre captured the Group 1 Prix Vermeille at 12 furlongs. She was bet to 9-to-1 odds in the Arc in her final career start.
Caval is certainly a very exciting filly. What's more, she's also a May foal. There's absolutely no reason why she can't improve with maturity and added distance. This is truly an exciting prospect.
* At Churchill Downs, Highway To Fame was a shocking debut winner at odds of 37-to-1, and he won by 2.5 lengths, going away. He was not nearly as sparkling as Caval from a visual standpoint, but he is also another horse with a stone-cold-route-oriented pedigree.
Highway To Fame is sired by Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos. He's out of an A. P. Indy mare. His second dam Blithe is a half sister to Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus. Blithe was sired by Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled, whereas Fu Peg was sired by Mr. Prospector. Both horses dropped by Angel Fever.
Highway to Fame had just three published workouts on his worktab, and all three workouts were slow breezes in the month of June. This horse also has every right to improve by leaps and bounds as the distances increase, assuming he stays healthy for trainer William H. “Jinks” Fires.