(For the week of April 13-17)
CAT RIDE (April 13th, 6th race, GP) – Making his first start since May of last year and only his second start overall, the son of Candy Ride couldn’t have been more impressive in winning a five furlong maiden special weight sprint in fast time with a huge speed figure. The Mark Casse-trained colt was always within striking range, accelerated on a dime when set down for the drive and drew off in powerful fashion with long, fluid strides. He scored by more than three lengths from well-meant first-timer Bam Bam Brown, was more than seven clear of the rest. This should be a very productive heat, with both the winner and the runner-up likely to win their next outings.
CONQUEST SUPERSTAR (April 17th, 4th race, GP) – Brought $725,000 at the Ocala March 2-year-old in training sale but didn’t make it to the post until 13 months later in a maiden special weight turf miler. The wait was worth it, as the son of Uncle Mo scored at first asking like a high-quality prospect, prompting the pace throughout and edging clear in the final furlong in a strongly, highly-rated affair. The Mark Casse-trained colt has “stakes potential” written all over him and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him leap into added money events right now.
MACH IT TO M E (April 17th, 9th race, GP) – Second-time starter confirmed the promise she displayed in her debut when finishing strongly but too late in a better-than-average maiden $16,000 claiming turf sprint for fillies and mares, and should be set to graduate next time out. Settled off the leaders to the head of the lane, waited for room, then quickened when the opportunity arose and finished with good energy while perhaps needing a bit more ground. The Ralph Nicks-trained daughter of Mach Ride acts like she’ll appreciate two turns, so if given the chance next time this late-to-the-party 4-year-old filly should be able to earn her diploma.
STRADIVARI (April 17th, 2nd race, Kee) – Broke his maiden by 11 lengths in a two-turn main track maiden event at Gulfstream Park in December like a potential Kentucky Derby contender but came up with a physical issue that cost him the winter season. After four months on the shelf, he returned even better than he left in a non-winners of two nine furlong affair, winning by 14 lengths without being asked a drop and earning a triple digit Beyer speed figure. Big, strong, athletic son of Medaglia d’Or has a chance to be one of the very best in the sophomore class, and it will be interesting to see just how ambitious Pletcher gets in next few weeks. Preakness, anyone?
TOURIST (April 15th, 9th race, Kee) – Appeared rusty in his first start since finishing eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile last fall but performed well when winding up third, beaten 2 ½ lengths, to Miss Temple City in a legitimately strong edition of the Grade One Maker’s 46 Mile over the Keeneland turf course. The son of Tiznow settled in mid-pack, responded when set down and did as best he could after shifting out for racing room in the upper stretch. Most effective when on or near the lead and with this effort behind him, the Bill Mott-trained horse should be primed for a winning effort. Fits with all the very best North American middle distance turf performers.