In a spinoff 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.
Verrazano (1/1): Debuting on New Year’s Day, this Todd Pletcher trainee settled just off the pace before striking to the lead and coasting to an impressive 7 ¾-length victory. A son of the grade one-winning sprinter More Than Ready, Verrazano is out of a Giant’s Causeway mare that also produced the graded stakes-winning El Padrino. Verrazano’s bloodlines are a fine example of the popular speed-stamina cross.
Play It Loud (1/1): Also debuting at Gulfstream Park on New Year’s Day, Play It Loud pressured the pace of a one-mile turf maiden special weight prior to drawing off to win by 4 lengths. The first foal out of the multiple graded stakes-winning Bsharpsonata, Play It Loud is sired by Unbridled’s Song. His pedigree suggests he could excel on any surface.
Jadira (1/1): Yet another first-time starter on New Year’s Day at Gulfstream Park, this filly was one of just three horses in a twelve-horse field that had never raced before. After settling mid-pack, the bay drew clear in the stretch to triumph by nearly two lengths. Sired by Pleasantly Perfect, Jadira is out of an Elusive Quality mare that is a half-sister to two graded stakes winners.
Kochees (1/4): Debuting over the downhill turf course at Santa Anita, Kochees sat off the pace prior to galloping to a 1 ½-length triumph. By the grade one-winning Lion Heart, who has proven to be a productive sire since retiring in 2004, Kochees is out of a black-type-placed daughter of Maria’s Mon.
Maleeh (1/6): Upon debut at Aqueduct, this Kiaran McLaughlin trainee sat off the pace, racing wide before steadily gaining on the leaders in the homestretch, winning by a half-length under a hand ride. By Indian Charlie, Maleeh is out of the multiple graded stakes-winning Gold Fever mare Gold Mover, who has also produced the black-type-winning Giant Mover.