Horse Racing: Preview of the 2014 Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs

Two year olds appear to be the theme of this weekend’s action in the sport of Horse Racing. As I went thru all the races being run around, and also outside, the country I spotted four two year old stakes races.

I struggled to find a key/major race this weekend, so I figured I’d take a closer look at the 2014 Debutante Stakes for two year old fillies at Churchill Downs on Saturday and a few other two year old races…who knows…maybe we’ll see the 2015 Kentucky Derby winner out there this weekend.

Starting with today (Friday) at Belmont Park, the third race is the $100,000 Tremont Stakes for two year old colts going six furlongs. Let me apologize first, I believe last week I said this race would be run last Sunday….I was wrong.

A field of only five have been entered with Chocolate Wildcat (9/5) and Bessie’s Boy (2-1), both impressive debut race winners, spearheading the field.

Also on Saturday, (and I’ll make a quick mention of it because from the feedback I received Woodbine racing is about as popular in the US as getting a root canal is…no offense Nathan from Ontario) is the $125,000 Victoria Stakes at Woodbine for two year olds colts going six furlongs.

Keep an eye on Creaky Cricket who absolutely obliterated a group of maidens (won by 11 ½ lengths) at Arlington Park in his racing debut on June 6, Conquest Tsunami who also blew away the competition (won by 6+) in his racing debut at Keeneland on April 25 and Less Than Perfect, who although won his debut at Presque Isle by just 1 ¼ lengths, you should take note it was another 10 ¼ lengths back to the show horse.

The fourth two year old race I saw was Sunday’s Landaluce Stakes for two year old fillies going six furlongs out at Santa Anita. Unfortunately at this time of this writing, the field has not been drawn yet. However, that race annually draws strong.



Saturday, June 21, 2014

Churchill Downs

Race 8

Post Time – 4:18 PM  

Debutante Stakes

Purse $100,000.

For Fillies, Two Years Old

Distance: Six Furlongs


P# PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 1 Rousanne 2/F L S Bridgmohan 120 S M Asmussen 5/1
2 2 Irish Nuggets 2/F L J E Felix 120 I Mason 8/1
3 3 Promise Me Silver 2/F L R Albarado 120 W B Calhoun 3/1
4 4 Unbridled Reward 2/F L A Garcia 120 M E Casse 2/1
5 5 Ol Sanish 2/F L L R Goncalves 118 J E Baker 5/1
6 6 Rachel’s Ready 2/F L C J Lanerie 120 D R Vanc 3/1





1) Promise Me Silver– broke from the dreaded #1 post in her debut at Lone Star Park on May 11 and showed good early speed along the rail. Rider M. Clifton Berry then had a change of heart and took this filly by Silver City back, swung to the outside of the early leader, and in doing so was forced to go 2-3 wide on the turn before setting her down for the drive.

She responded beautifully to those tactics as she took the lead at about the three eighths pole and opened up two lengths. From there, she leveled out and exploded down the stretch to win by almost seven lengths under a hand ride.

She ran 4 ½ furlongs in a quick :51.3 and scored a 70 speed figure

For a two year old making her first start, I thought it was a remarkable race as she showed the seasoning of a veteran horse.

She shows three works since that win including a strong five furlongs (:59.2) on May 31. Trainer Bret Calhoun is having an unbelievable meet thus far (32% wins) and I’m taking her to pull off what will probably amount to be a mild upset.



2) Unbridled Reward– is clearly the horse to beat in this race.

This $220,000 March Ocala Breeder Sale purchase by Warrior’s Reward sprung from the gate in her sloppy track debut, quickly established a measured one length lead after the first call, opened up by four on the turn for home and wound up winning by almost eight while being “ridden out” as the heavy 3/5 favorite.

Trainer Mark Casse shows a 22% win clip with two year olds so far and jockey Alan Garcia is having a good meet (19% wins) as well.

Just not sure how much the slop helped her (or hurt her competition) in her debut, so I’m going to try to beat her in this spot…..which might prove futile.


3) Irish Nugget- laid just off the early pace in her Arlington Park (synthetic surface) debut, before kicking three wide on the turn for home and pulled away to win by almost four lengths.

That race was impressive but her speed figure was not and I’m not sure how she will handle the traditional dirt surface….if she does convert, she could be a menace.


Honorable Mention

Rachel’s Ready– was fifth early on in her debut just two weeks ago, but came with a sweeping five wide move on the turn for home to win by almost two.

This filly by More Than Ready recorded a strong speed figure that day and could easily better this rating on Saturday despite the fact that her trainer is just 1-13 at this meet.


2014 Record: 12-32 = 38% 


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Little Bets N’ Pieces:


**** The numbers are in for European super-horse Frankel in regards to his first crop of foals.

Owner Juddmonte Farms reports that Frankel has produced a total of 108 foals (57 colts and 51 fillies) to date.
“These are exciting times for us all at Juddmonte,” Juddmonte Farms general manager Philip Mitchell said. “Frankel has covered a truly exceptional book of mares in his first two seasons. It seems that whatever Frankel does it is always with sheer class. He achieved 94% fertility and now his foals have an air of superiority together with the horse’s great strength and depth, not to mention his easy-going walk. There is plenty to look forward to”.

“Reports from breeders around the world have been enthusiastic” Mitchell added….Personally, I can’t wait to see his babies hit the track.




**** Jockey Rosie Napravnik suffered a shoulder injury at Churchill Downs last Sunday morning after a training spill involving a filly named Socialbug.

Napravnik’s husband, Joe Sharp, and publicity agent Kelly Wietsma reported she suffered a “mild separation” of the clavicle in the left shoulder joint. The report stated the injury will not require surgery but that Napravnik is expected to be out about four to six weeks.

Rosie Napravnik will miss four to six weeks

Rosie Napravnik will miss four to six weeks


**** Which in turn leads to this bit of news, jockey John Velazquez has been named by trainer Steve Asmussen as the replacement for Rosie Napravnik on star three year old filly Untapable in the June 28 Mother Goose Stakes, a Grade 1 race at Belmont Park.

“She’s in a really good place and I’m hesitant to change anything up,” Asmussen said after watching his filly cruise five furlongs in 1:01.1 over a fast Churchill Downs surface last Monday.

According to Churchill clocker John Nichols, the speedy filly went splits of 25, 37.1 1:01.1 out six furlongs in 1:13.3 and seven furlongs in 1:28 flat.

“Beautiful,” added Asmussen. “She looks really good and we’re very happy with her. That’s why we’ll probably just stay here for her last work before sending her up (to New York). She’s just doing so well.”

Asmussen also said his “tentative schedule” included the Coaching Club American Oaks, Alabama, and Cotillion leading up to the Oct. 31 Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita.



**** Lastly, for the scores of you who send emails to me inquiring about my personal horses, we have entered our six year old mare Princess Mara in the 6th race at Belmont on Sunday.

It’s an allowance race for three year olds and up fillies and mares going 1 ½ miles on the turf.

We liked this mare for quite some time and claimed her several weeks ago. Since then, she’s been working great as I sat with trainer Pat Quick through her last work (5F- 1:03, out a mile in 1:45 flat) and let me tell you, the time doesn’t do the work justice….she looked great.

She’s fit and, based on her works and last two races, has been screaming for a stretch out in distance, so, at 12 furlongs, we are giving it to her. The field drew rather tough but I’m confident and do expect a good effort from her.

Princess Mara

Princess Mara