Thursday, July 1, 2010

Stopspendingmaria third 2010 'tip' to break maiden

With an impressive, seven-length, hand-ride win at Belmont Park this afternoon, Stopspendingmaria became the third horse to break maiden from my recommended list of 187 2-year-olds in training at this year's U.S. sales.

The Montbrook filly, out of the Notebook mare, Cutoffs, was a $90,000 purchase at the Ocala Breeders' Co. February sale of 2-year-olds; one of seven horses I tipped from that sale in an effort to pick relative bargains. Her price was only slightly below the average of $97,182 for the 66 to change hands at that sale, but if she moves forward off her first two quality efforts, she could still make that nearly six-figure price look like a deal indeed.

Stopspendingmaria jumped on top early Thursday and was never seriously challenged, cruising to her widening victory margin with only hand-urging from John Velazquez. Covering 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.73, the win might be even more impressive (or the rest of the field suspect) considering second-place Networking finished nine lengths ahead of third-place Hey Valentina. There was simply no matching Stopspendingmaria on this day, as she made a nice advance off her debut race June 5 at Monmouth, when she was a respectable third.

The filly races in the colors of Repole Stable, trained by Todd Pletcher.

The dark bay filly was bred in Florida by Ocala Stud. In recommending her off a 22-second quarter at OBSFEB (which actually was among the slower times at the distance) I noted that her dam was a full sister to SPECIAL REPORT, who was a juvenile winner and annexed a pair of Calder stakes races at age 3. Cutoffs and Special Report had three blacktype half-sisters by Montbrook, sire of Stopspendingmaria, an encouraging non-coincidence of this mating. Montbrook's career was short-lived at eight starts, so I prefer to see him bred to mares with a record of soundness. Cutoffs ran 30 times, winning six and hitting the board on another 13 occasions, for $166,670, meaning she fits the bill. She also already has a 3-year-old by Montbrook, named More Drama, who is a winner and nine-times-placed from 13 starts.

Stopspendingmaria now has a win and a show from two starts, for $37,500 earned.

Also Thursday, two other 2010 juvenile tips of mine squared-off in the same race at Calder, a $32,000 maiden-claimer in which first-timer Soldier's Tune, a $28,000 OBSAPR purchase, was second, beaten only a head. Already making his third start, Genuine Sole ($18,000 RNA at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic in May) had to be checked on the turn to avoid running up on Soldier's Tune, and ended up straggling home sixth, beaten 12 1/2, in a big class jump from MCL $16K.

The race was won by Texas-bred Machisa (Safado-Doncoda, by Cat Thief, i.e., a seriously inbred cuss), who covered 4 1/2 furlongs in 51:38 and was already making his fourth lifetime start.

Soldier's Tune earned $3,465 for his debut effort. Genuine Sole has now earned $1,415; he was seventh in a two-furlong super-shorty in his debut on May 28.

Click here to follow the fates of all my 2010 picks and pans, who now have a collective record of 3-7-4 from 31 races, for a shade over $120,000 earned.

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