(For the week of April 27-May 1)
LIGHTNING DOVE (April 28, 8th race, Kee) – Yet another in a long list of precocious, quick, and very talented juveniles from the Wesley Ward barn and did her thing first crack out of the box in this maiden special weight dash, gaining controlling soon after the start and dominating her rivals to the wire by nearly four lengths. Daughter of the prolific Uncle Mo appears to be made of the right stuff and should be quite capable of taking on stakes foes in the very near future. Wouldn’t be surprised if she’s ticketed for a trip to Royal Ascot in June. Must keep close tabs.
PYJAMA PARTY (April 28th, 7th race, Kee) – Made his U.S. debut in a competitive two-other-than allowance event and performed quite well when finishing fourth, beaten 1 ¼ lengths, with a less-than-ideal trip. Irish-bred colt was off slowly and pinched back to wind up well off the pace to the head of the lane, commenced his rally wide, and made steady progress to the end in a race that should do him a world of good. Son of Rip Van Winkle actually is eligible to the first allowance condition if he can locate a race that contains the “non-winners of $10,000” clause such that is offered in New York, so it’ll be interesting to see if that’s where he winds up. Worth following no matter where he surfaces next time out.
SIR ALFRED (April 30th, 4th race, GP) – Returned off a long layoff and didn’t miss a beat in demolishing an out-classed maiden special weight field by more than 15 lengths while earning a sensational 94 Beyer speed figure in the runaway score. Son of Munnings was highly-regarded last year as a 3-year-old (he finished second to Donworth and Speightster in back-to-back maiden sprints), so this Pletcher-trained colt could easily make up for lost time if he can stay healthy this time around. Up the ladder, either here in South Florida or with the main string in New York.
SMOKEY HALO (April 30th, 6th race, Lrl) – Debuting daughter of Straight Talking finished back in the pack in this maiden $25,000 claiming turf sprint but will be worth a close look in a similar spot next time out. Broke in the air, brushed the gate, and fell back early to lose her best chance, found her best stride approaching the head of the lane, then produced a willing late bid to wind up sixth, beaten just a bit more than four lengths for all the money in a better-than-par race for the level. The Hamilton Smith-trained filly certainly deserves a big look in a similar spot next time.
VERA’S FINALITY (May 1st, 8th race, GP) – Dropped to her lowest level and easily disposed of here rivals in a $12,500 claiming turf router for restricted (nw-2) fillies and mares. Was always within range to the head of the lane and then quickened impressively while giving every indication that she can win on the raise for new trainer Steve Klesaris, who appears to have made a very timely claim. Daughter of High Cotton is lightly-raced and is worth following as she ascends the claiming scale.