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Two-Year-Old Thoroughbreds to Watch: Team Picks 2

Two-Year-Old Thoroughbreds to Watch: Team Picks 2– Forever entwined with the seemingly magical Saratoga meet is the appearance of the next year’s stars in the form of untested two-year-olds. However, deciding on which juveniles to track as they mature is a difficult task, and many people have many different ways of doing so. Maggie Wolfendale, a Paddock Analyst for the NYRA, described what she considers to be important in looking for a successful two-year-old: “The thing I look for most with two-year-olds is how athletic they are and how mature they look physically. Also, if they are fit and well-defined.” Here are a few of those young horses that seem to be going down the right path at Saratoga and other fabulous racetracks!

Uncle Vinny Horse

Casey’s two-year-old to watch is Uncle Vinny, who in coming back to win the six-furlong Sanford Stakes (GIII) via the disqualification of Magna Light, he showed some precociousness that his sire seems to have passed on.
Photo: Coglianese/NYRA

Tapit – Stormy Welcome, by Storm Cat
Reinier’s One to Watch
Before anyone jumps off the Welcoming ship after her fifth-place finish in a short sprint on July 24, think about her pedigree. Her third dam Weekend Surprise produced A.P. Indy, a major distance influence. A.P. Indy also appears on the sire side as Tapit’s grandsire. Of course, going back three generations is a bit far, but second dam Welcome Surprise did break her maiden in an elongated sprint after failing at six furlongs. A $520k yearling purchase, Welcoming has been reeling off bullets for fan-favorite Christophe Clement at Saratoga Race Course, and it is fair to believe she needs seven furlongs or longer. If she races one more time during the meet, watch out.

Uncle Vinny
Uncle Mo – Arealhotlover, by Untutable)
Casey’s One to Watch
Uncle Vinny is a the first stakes winner for freshman sire Uncle Mo, an undefeated two-year-old in his day. Uncle Vinny broke his maiden at first asking before having a rough trip in the Tremont Stakes. However, in coming back to win the six-furlong Sanford Stakes (GIII) via the disqualification of Magna Light, he showed some precociousness that his sire seems to have passed on. His pedigree is pretty unknown, however. Starlight saw his promise, purchasing the colt for $175,000 as a yearling. His dam was a stakes-winning sprinter, and we all know Uncle Mo was a very fast horse. Uncle Vinny may have difficulty stretching out as distances get longer.

Uncle Mo – Seeking Gabrielle, by Forestry
Jessica’s One to Watch
Another of Uncle Mo’s impressive first-crop winners is Nyquist, a bay colt under the watch of power-team Doug O’Neill and Paul Reddam. In his first start in a five-furlong maiden special weight at Santa Anita, Nyquist led the field through fractions of :21.90 and :44.56 and stopped the clock at :56.43, just a tick off the track record for the distance. In addition, the colt did it with style, gamely trumping Annie’s Candy by a head after a stretch duel that saw Nyquist lose the upper hand for a moment only to fight back and prevail. For what it’s worth, the two colts who finished behind him, Annie’s Candy and Xingontothebone, went on to break their own maidens rather impressively as well. As a son of the precocious Uncle Mo and mediocre sprinter Seeking Gabrielle, Nyquist is likely to run his best races up to a mile, although it would be interesting to see him stretch out a bit further in case he can outrun his pedigree.

Life Imitates Art
More Than Ready – Habiboo by Unbridled’s Song
Sigi’s One to Watch
Although he didn’t win in his debut, I’m putting Life Imitates Art on my radar. After running a bit widely but relaxedly in the early stages of that debut, he was able to finish a distant second on Saturday, July 25, in a maiden special weight race over 1-1/16 miles on the turf at Saratoga. In regards to his pedigree, Life Imitates Art is a half-sibling to the stakes-placed and “almost” stakes winner Transparent (he won the Curlin Stakes but was disqualified). Going a bit deeper, his second dam produced the nice sprinter and great stallion Street Boss. In my opinion, this horse could also run on the dirt, and I see him shining in one-turn races.

Smart Strike – Teeming, by Storm Cat
Reinier’s One to Watch
Bob Baffert warned listeners on a radio show to avoid his filly Treasuring at Del Mar last Sunday, and they listened. Going off at 14/1, she finished a non-threatening third to possible freak Songbird. Treasuring is another one of those horses that may take a race or two for the engine to get going. Second dam and former Kentucky Broodmare of the Year Better Than Honour once produced nothing but graded stakes winners such as Jazil, Rags to Riches, Casino Drive, and Man of Iron. She also dropped Teeming, the dam of graded stakes winner Streaming and Treasuring, both sired by Smart Strike. Treasuring has never run that poorly, either, as a third-place finish should be okay for any beginning horse. Give this one another chance.

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Two-Year-Old Thoroughbreds to Watch: Team Picks