Saturday, August 21, 2010

No. 19, gate to wire, No. 20 in a dead-heat

Winners No. 19 and 20 emerged on Friday from my list of 2010 juvenile sales tips, breaking maiden at the same track, but on very different fashion.

Racing at Monmouth Park, Bestcasescenario led from gate to wire, annexing Race 3, an open maiden-claiming event with a $20,000 tag. Two races later, Bessie M. stalked the pace alongside a filly named Feelin Abit Frisky, and the duo closed together from fourth and fifth places to finish in a dead-heat for first by a length, at a $40,000 tag.

Bestcasescenario and jockey Francisco Maysonett bolted to a two-length lead, running a quarter in 22.34 and a half in 46.19. The colt's final time for five and a half furlongs on dirt was 1:05.98, he won by four and three-quarters lengths, and he paid $7.20 to win. Race 3 wasn't immune from the dead-heat bug at Monmouth Friday, either, as Sinatra's Dancer (15/1) and Allens Prize (76/1) couldn't be separated for fourth place, resulting in $1 superfecta payouts of $2,694 and $4,815, depending on which horse was on your ticket.

Gary Contessa trains the son of Indian Ocean for owners J. Contessa and Bridlewood Farm. He was a $47,000 RNA as Hip 482 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. April auction of 2-year-olds in training. He's now earned $16,750 from three starts, the first two unplaced.

I tabbed him among my top choices from this year's juvenile sales not only on the strength of his 9 4/5-second eighth in the under-tack show, but also because of his family. Though Indian Ocean is an unproven sophomore sire, Bestcasescenario's dam, Stacie's Halo (Halo-Stacie's Toy, by Baldski), won five races herself, and is now 8-for-8 on winning foals of racing age. Her offspring include G2-winning juvenile WORSTCASESCENARIO. Second dam Stacie's Toy had a full sister, MISSY BALDSKI, and half-sister, BUTTERFLY ROSE, who were both juvenile champions in Norway. So the tail-female line has a history of precocious winners.

In recommending Bestcasescenario, I wrote: "I'd usually like a more proven sire, or a better racehorse as sire (Indian Ocean just a G3 winner), but this one has a chance."

In Race 5, Bessie M and Jose Valdivia Jr. came from about five lengths off the pace to grab the lead at the sixteenth-pole and persevered to the finish, unable to hold off Feelin Abit Frisky and Pablo Fragoso, but able to salvage the dead-heat. Double Delicious (who faded to eighth of nine) set brisk fractions of 22.25 and 46.58 for the five-furlong race, in which the co-winners mutually stopped the clock in 1:07.38.

Bessie M (Medallist-Catalita, by Mountain Cat) was bred in Maryland by Mr. & Mrs. Charles McGinnes. She is trained by A.F. Allen III for owner William H. Harris.

I met Harris in a McDonald's adjacent to the Maryland state fairgrounds in Timonium, the day he bought this filly and another horse at Fasig-Tipton's Midlantic Sale of 2-year-olds in Training. Bessie M sold early in the day, as Hip 59 (then named Carolita), and Harris was excited about his $35,000 purchase.

I had tabbed the filly a "Priority 2" selection on a 48-horse list prepared for a client seeking an inexpensive runner. While $35,000 isn't expensive for an all-but-ready-to-race 2-year-old, it was more than we were there to pay, and probably more than I'd have paid for this filly even if we had the money. But Harris' faith has (so far) been rewarded.

I wasn't fond of Bessie M's young sire, Medallist, who at that point had gotten just 10 winners from a freshman crop of 59 foals. But Bessie M made a good impression both on the hoof and on the track, where she breezed 22 2/5 for a half at a sale where such a time was fleet. There isn't much blacktype on the page in the first two generations, but Bessie M's dam earned $111,000 or so at the track, and her second dam was a half-sister to Grade 1 winner CRUSADER SWORD, among others.

With her dead-heat win, Bessie M has earned $14,640.

Maiden-breakers 19 and 20 give me 10.7 percent winners at this writing out of 187 horses selected from various sales this season. The Class of 2010 has accounted for 21 victories (one stakes) from 117 starts, for a strike rate of essentially 18 percent. Another 28 place- and show-finishes put the in-the-money rate for the class at 41.9 percent. The group has earned $620,607, for $5,304 per start.

Track the performance of all 187 sales tips at the bottom of this prior post.

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