Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Thursday, July 25

| Churchill Downs Communications | 07/25/2013 #

In Today’s Notes: Arlington Infants: Friday, July 26 Preview; Locally Based Bashaar Aiming Toward Mid-Summer Derby

It is that time of year!  The 2-year-olds are starting to flourish and the maiden special weight races are starting to surface left and right for those possible future stars.  While many look to Saratoga Race Course and Del Mar Turf Club for future champions, Arlington has been an excellent source of brilliance in its juvenile maidens.  Horse of the Year Alysheba, Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem and Dubai World Cup winner Animal Kingdom have all made a stop in the Arlington 2-year-old maiden races – just to name a few. 

What better way to begin an Arlington Infants entry than a race on its world-renowned turf course?   On Friday, nine colts and one gelding have been entered in an open $38,000 maiden special weight (race 5) over a mile on the grass.  This will be an excellent chance for trainers who have a juvenile with a turf pedigree or simply a two-turn pedigree to stretch their legs, as mile races on the main course are run out of the chute.

A horse who fits both of those categories is the exceptionally bred Downey Gap.  A homebred of Eugene Melnyk, Downey Gap is not only a son of Bernardini ($150,000 stud fee) – a sire of two Travers winners – but is also the offspring of Melnyk’s magnificent racemare and broodmare Pico Teneriffe.  A daughter of turf sire Red Ransom, Pico Teneriffe won four Grade III events on the lawn, including the one-mile Natalma Stakes as a juvenile.

As a broodmare, Pico Teneriffe has been nothing short of super.  In 2007, her foal Marchfield – a son of Bernardini’s sire A. P. Indy – won the third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, the 12-furlong Breeders’ Stakes on grass.   A three-quarter brother to Downey Gap, Marchfield would finish in the exacta in 15 of 23 starts and win three graded stakes (one on grass) en route to $1,040,161 in earnings.  Pico Teneriffe hails from the female family of Italian Group I winner Duke of Marmalade and four-time Grade I winner and dual Hawthorne Gold Cup victor Cryptoclearance.    With all this said, it would be no surprise to see Downey Gap relish the two turns and the grass after a sloppy sprinting debut at Churchill Downs last out. 

Adding pedigree depth to the field are an interesting pair of Larry Rivelli trainees.  Bobby Mac, a Scat Daddy-sired homebred of Suzanne Stables, enters after a third in his debut on July 5 going five furlongs on the main course.  Scat Daddy, a son of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Johannesburg, is a very versatile sire and a quality source of early runners.  Arguably a better turf sire, his grass-loving offspring include Grade II Santa Barbara Handicap (10 furlongs) winner Lady of Shamrock and Group II Norfolk Stakes (five furlongs in track record time) winning juvenile No Nay Never – both in 2013. 

The bulk of Bobby Mac’s genetic substance comes from his dam, Tye Dye Chikka.  Though not much on the track, the daughter of Horse of the Year Mineshaft did hit the board in all three of her winless starts.   Tye Dye Chikka’s pedigree is extremely speed-heavy on its bottom side, as her dam Palapa is by Storm Cat out of the Grade I-winning sprinter Serape – a daughter of Fappiano out of a half-sister to Breeders’ Cup Mile (turf) winner Cozzene. 

As strong as Bobby Mac’s pedigree is, his stablemate’s might be better.  Oscarmystic, a son of Sky Mesa out of the Unbridled’s Song mare I Know Better, comes from the female family of champions Maplejinsky and Dayjur, as well as Grade I winners Tale of Ekati, Sky Beauty, Violence and highly regarded turf star Point of Entry.  Oscarmystic has been impressing clockers in the morning, including a four-furlong move out of the gate in :47.60 (fifth of 55 moves) on July 6 and a five-furlong move in 1:00 flat (second of 38) on June 28.  This is obviously a fast colt from a high-percentage barn who will have something to say about Friday’s race. 

Shadwell Stable’s locally based Bashaar, a Danny Peitz trainee, has entered this Saturday’s $600,000 Grade II Jim Dandy Stakes in hopes of subsequently landing in the Grade I $1,000,000 Travers Stakes – America’s summertime classic dirt event for 3-year-olds.  Bashaar starts from the rail under first-time rider and Saratoga specialist Javier Castellano. 

A deep closer, Bashaar last out ran out of real estate after poor start a strong late run in the Grade III $250,000 Iowa Derby on June 29.  Never in the clear in the final eighth of a mile, he never had a chance to stretch his sizeable stride.  Bred along the same lines as Kentucky Derby and Travers winner Street Sense (by Street Cry out of a Dixieland Band mare), he should appreciate the increase in distance in the Jim Dandy and with a good performance should be a dangerous threat if he moves on to the Travers.

Bashaar signaled his readiness with a sharp move at Arlington International Racecourse on July 20, going 1:00 flat for five furlongs – the second-fastest of 39 moves at the distance.  If he returns to the form that saw him run a super 113 Equibase Speed Figure in the Prairie Mile on June 1 at Prairie Meadows, he offers a massive chance at an upset for the Arlington-based team. 

“We think he’ll run very well,” said Peitz’s assistant trainer Jock McNeil.  “We love that we have Castellano on him.”