Prospect Watch: Rachel Alexandra's brother stretches outby Keeler Johnson/Special to HRN
Two divisions of Fair Grounds’ Risen Star Stakes (G2) highlight Saturday’s action on the Kentucky Derby trail, but you’ll find talented sophomores racing from coast to coast this weekend.
On the Risen Star undercard, Airstreem — a half-brother to 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra — will stretch out in distance. At Laurel Park, Dreams Untold — racing for the same team as 2004 Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones — will make his stakes debut in the Miracle Wood. And at Gulfstream Park, Todd Pletcher will debut Money Moves, a $975,000 auction purchase.
Let’s dig in and meet these 3-year-olds all in action Saturday.
Fair Grounds Race 2: Maiden Special Weight (1 1/8 miles, 1:29 p.m. ET)
Produced by the Roar mare Lotta Kim, Airstreem is a half-brother to superstar 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra. A son of Tapit conditioned by Steve Asmussen, Airstreem debuted in a six-furlong maiden race at Fair Grounds on Dec. 28 and didn’t fare all that badly, rallying over a sloppy track to finish fourth behind Risen Star entrant Digital. Airstreem’s pedigree suggests he’ll relish the chance to stretch out over 1 1/8 miles, and Asmussen strikes at a 22% rate with second-time starters. Expect an improved performance from this gray colt.
Fair Grounds Race 7: Maiden Special Weight (6 furlongs, 3:59 p.m. ET)
A beautifully-bred son of Curlin out of the four-time graded stakes-winning sprinter Kauai Katie, Malahini sold for $825,000 as a yearling. Conditioned by Mark Casse for e Five Racing Thoroughbreds, Malahini has shown flashes of speed while turning in busy series of workouts at Fair Grounds (including four moves since Jan. 24), suggesting he has the talent to fire a good shot on debut.
#2 Mystic Guide
Fast and versatile, Music Note was among the best fillies of her generation, winning five Grade 1 races from seven to 10 furlongs while placing third in two editions of the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic. She has yet to achieve the same acclaim as a broodmare, but perhaps her latest foal, Mystic Guide, can buck the trend. A son of Ghostzapper bred and owned by Godolphin, Mystic Guide has been working steadily at Fair Grounds for trainer Michael Stidham, most notably breezing five furlongs from the starting gate in 1:00 4/5 on Jan. 30. Hot jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. has the mount on this stoutly bred colt, who figures to be at his best when tackling route distances down the road.
Gulfstream Park Race 5: Maiden Special Weight (6 furlongs, 2:04 p.m. ET)
#3 Money Moves
When Money Moves breezed a furlong in :10 flat at the OBS Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training, money indeed started moving. When the gavel dropped, the son of Candy Ride commanded $975,000. Now conditioned by Todd Pletcher, Money Moves has turned in a lengthy series of workouts in preparation for his debut, primarily at Palm Beach Downs before transitioning to Gulfstream for a five-furlong move in 1:01 on Feb. 9. Produced from the three-time stakes-winning sprinter Citizen Advocate, Money Moves is nominated to the Triple Crown and figures to attract plenty of betting support.
Laurel Park Race 6: Miracle Wood Stakes (1 mile, 2:51 p.m. ET)
#3 Dreams Untold
Sixteen years after winning the Kentucky Derby with Smarty Jones, could Someday Farm and trainer John Servis be back in the Triple Crown conversation with a son of their popular champion? Dreams Untold didn’t exactly catch eyes in his debut at Parx Racing, finishing third in a 5 1/2-furlong sprint for Pennsylvania-breds. But the son of Smarty Jones took a huge step forward over a sloppy track at Parx on Jan. 4, dominating a 6 1/2-furlong open maiden race by 14 1/4 lengths. Dreams Untold was rewarded with impressive speed figures (88 Beyer, 98 Brisnet, 111 Equibase), which raises the question: was his performance a fluke? Maybe he just relished the wet track. Or maybe, just maybe, he’s a star in the making.
Oaklawn Park Race 5: Maiden Special Weight (6 furlongs, 4:08 p.m. ET)
Onaway isn’t necessarily bred to excel sprinting six furlongs on dirt, but should he stretch out and switch to turf in the future, watch out. A son of Carpe Diem, Onaway was produced from the Cherokee Run mare Dream About, winner of the 1 1/16-mile Mazarine Breeders’ Cup Stakes (G2) at Woodbine. Dream About is already acclaimed as the dam of stakes winners Deeply Undervalued (winner of the Grade 2 Commonwealth Derby running 1 1/8 miles at Woodbine) and Sleepless Knight (who placed in four graded stakes running long on grass). Onaway has shown speed in the mornings for hot trainer Brad Cox, but his best will likely come down the road.
Although Sturgill’s sire, Take Charge Indy, was a Grade 1 winner going two turns, there’s plenty of speed elsewhere in his pedigree. His dam, Nicole’s Dream, was a durable turf sprinter who won 11 stakes races during her 54-race career. As a broodmare, her most notable foal to date has been Phat Man, winner of the one-mile Fred W. Hooper Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream last month. Another foal, Estellara, nabbed the six-furlong Hastings Stakes at Emerald Downs. In short, there’s plenty to like about Sturgill, who sold for $265,000 as a yearling. A Triple Crown nominee conditioned by Karl Broberg, Sturgill fired off a bullet half-mile workout at Oaklawn on Jan. 19 and should have the speed to contend on debut.