Thursday, July 21, 2011

I'm First, again

A bargain selection from last year's Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale of 2-year-olds in training appears to have found his friends among modest turf claimers at Colonial Downs.

I'm First saw his name finally rendered accurate when he overcome a bumping incident and a five-wide trip to break maiden by fourth lengths going a mile on grass at Colonial in his 3-year-old debut on July 7. On Thursday night, in his first race after becoming a winner and again in for a $5,000 tag, I'm First and jockey Luis Colon were near the pace throughout and drew off to win by 4 1/4 lengths among NW2L company.

I'm First paid $15.60 to win in his maiden-breaker and got less respect at the window Thursday evening, returning $22.80 to the relative few who numbered themselves among his faithful. The exacta over 2/1 favorite Eighteen Twelve paid $99.60 and the $2 trifecta with clear 9/2 second-favorite Dane Austin was worth $258.80.

Meanwhile, the Susan Cooney trainee bettered his maiden-breaking one-mile time of 1:40.27 by double-digit lengths Thursday, finishing the mile in 1:36.95.

I recommended the bay ridgeling by Soto-Ladies First, by El Raggaas, as Hip 212 when consigned by Randy Miles at EASMAY 2010. His unraced dam produced nine to race and six winners (two of a dozen races each) from 10 prior foals, and his second dam was stakes winner who had 12 lifetime victories and produced 10 winners from 11 foals, including four stakes horses. I'm First breezed 11.1 (fair for the sale) and checked out OK conformationally. As I wrote on my blog after the fact: "Why wouldn't this one be a racehorse of some sort?"

In looking for bargain prospects, I also reasoned that sons of Soto -- who had been banished as a sire not just from Kentucky, but from the country -- would be among the most likely to fall into the price range I was asked to peg. That he did, selling for $11,000 to B&B Racing Stable LLC, who saw him place third twice from five starts at age 2, and now have gotten their picture taken twice in as many starts at age 3. Granted, the horse has earned just $12,656 from two wins in seven starts, but that's more than the owners paid for him, something probably a majority of auction purchases can never claim. And as noted, if he can reproduce sub-1:37 miles and stay sound, he can earn his keep for awhile at the racetrack, even if only among modest company.

In fact, I recommended both sons of Soto from EASMAY 2010, and Lookin At Options -- who sold even cheaper as Hip 163, for $8,500 -- broke maiden in his fifth start at age 2 for a $25,000 tag, and has $29,240 banked from seven starts in Pennsylvania.

In other tip-and-rip action Thursday (and recently), Akkadian, a dark bay son of Tiznow-Papa Sids Girl, by Souvenir Copy, was fifth in stakes company at Del Mar. I criticized this one, declaring that his purchase price of $270,000 as Hip 86 paid by successful owner Gary Broadwas among the "surreal" tickets signed at Keeneland April 2010. Actually, the colt is a real looker, has two wins in six starts, and has not embarrassed himself in two straight stakes-company exposures, finishing fourth in the G3 Affirmed Handicap at Hollywood Park and fifth beaten just 4 1/2 in Thursday's restricted Oceanside Stakes. ... With $86,002 earned, he has a ways to go in order to pay back $270,000. But he's one of the few horses among the 10 I criticized from last year's sales (on price vs. likely talent) who seems to have much chance of making me eat my words.

Also, in late June I missed noting that SIGNAL ALERT, a formerly undefeated-in-four-starts recommendation of mine sent to Trinidad, had finished second to stablemate Readbetweendlines in the PKF 3-year-old Sprint Stakes at Santa Rosa Park. A stakes-winner at 2 and Santa Rosa record-setter at 3, Signal Alert was relegated to third place in his prior effort (and first loss) by multiple-champion Bruceontheloose and Readbetweendlines in the Santa Rosa Dash-G2. He has now earned $32,248, with purses converted to U.S. dollars. I recommended Signal Alert as Hip 465 at OBSAPR 2010, where he sold for $35,000.

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