Monday, January 14, 2013

Sophomore Spotlight 1/14/13

In a spin-off of Juvenile Spotlights, new-on-the-scene three-year-olds will be featured in a new blog series called “Sophomore Spotlights.” These will only continue through the end of February and will follow the format of Juvenile Spotlights. This series was created to spotlight the up-and-coming sophomores that either did not race as a juvenile or did not perform as well as a two-year-old.

Tapicat (1/9): After finishing third in her debut at Belmont, Tapicat switched to the turf, breaking her maiden gamely at Gulfstream in December. In her first start as a sophomore, Tapicat galloped to an easy 5 ¼-length win in a one-mile allowance on the grass, posting an impressive final time of 1:34.71. Sired by the on-fire Tapit, Tapicat is out of a Storm Cat mare from the tail female family of the champion Track Robbery.

Integrity (1/10): Upon debut at Gulfstream, this Chad Brown trainee set a brisk pace in a six-furlong maiden special weight over dirt prior to drawing clear to triumph by 3 ½ lengths. A son of the blossoming sire Hard Spun, Integrity is out of a black-type-winning Unbridled’s Song mare that directly traces back to Misty Morn, a Reine de Course mare that won not only championship honors on the track, but was also the Broodmare of the Year in 1963, producing Bold Lad and Successor.

Proud Strike (1/12): Following two in-the-money finishes at Churchill Downs as a juvenile, Proud Strike faced nine rivals in his sophomore debut at the Fair Grounds, rating beneath Brian Hernandez, Jr. prior to drawing off to win by 7 ½ lengths. Proud Strike is a full brother to the graded stakes-winning Pleasant Strike, as well as a half-brother to the graded stakes-placed Colonial Empress. He is a direct descendant of the great Reine de Course mare Gallorette, as well as multiple other Reine de Course mares.

Calistoga (1/12): One of two first-time starters in a six-furlong dirt maiden special weight at Gulfstream Park, Calistoga set a rapid pace prior to kicking clear to a 5 ½-length victory in an impressive final time of 1:09.77. By champion sprinter and top sire Speightstown, Calistoga is out of a full sister to Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Giacomo and grade one victor Tiago.

Path of Dreams (1/13): This filly is still a maiden, but her royal pedigree and gritty debut suggest that she has a bright future ahead. Sent off as the favorite in a one-mile maiden special weight over Gulfstream’s turf course, Path of Dreams settled far off the pace in an eleven-horse field before beginning to make her move in the late stages. She was forced to check when her path of travel was obstructed in mid-stretch, causing her momentum to be interrupted. Nonetheless, she closed to finish third, narrowly missing second. Sired by leading sire Giant’s Causeway, Path of Dreams is out of Path of Thunder, a stakes-winning full sister to the multiple grade one-winning millionaire Spain. This makes Path of Dreams a full sister to the graded stakes-winning Excited and the black-type-winning Wait Til Dawn.

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