JEFF SIEGEL’S EAST COAST BLACK BOOK
(For the week of May 18-22)
CONQUEST ENFORCER (May 21st, 8th race, WO) – Made his sophomore debut in the seven furlong Canadian-bred Queenston Stakes over the Tapeta surface and couldn’t have been more impressive, establishing the pace in hand and then lengthening out when turned loose to record a nearly eight length score while earning a Beyer speed figure of 101, the same number assigned Exaggerator in that colt’s Preakness victory. When last seen in October this impressive son of Into Mischief was demolishing subsequent Keeneland stakes winner Shakhimat by nearly nine lengths in a quarter-million dollar stakes going long on the lawn, so whether it’s sprinting or routing, all-weather or grass, this Mark Casse-trained colt appears capable of doing it all. Not sure there’s anything north of the border that can touch him.
DROP SHOT (May 20th, 2016, 3rd race, Bel) – Rapidly-improving sophomore really has found a home on turf, following up a sharp runner-up effort sprinting over the Belmont Park course with a resounding four and one-half length triumph at flat mile in a fast, highly-rated race for maidens. Quickly established the pace in hand, was well-rated on easy splits, then quickened when set down and drew off with complete authority. Went the first half mile in 49 2/5 seconds and then second half mile in 45 1/5 seconds if you can believe the official clocking. Bred like he is, this Jimmy Jerkens-trained colt has the makings of a stakes quality turf performer this summer and beyond. Up the ladder.
PRETTY BOY FLASH (May 9th, 4th race, CD) – Received plenty of wagering support in his debut (3-1) but was never in a position to land a blow, so don’t hold this performance against him. The son of Gone Astray was bumped and knocked back at the start to lose positon, was allowed to coast to the head of the lane while far back, then took hold to finish with good speed without being knocked about to wind up fifth, beaten seven lengths, in a highly-rated race for maiden juveniles. Galloped out full of run while needing the race badly, so next time, with more distance to work with, this $375,000 OBS Sale purchase should improve a ton for trainer Steve Asmussen.
PROMOTE (May 22, 2016, 7th race, Bel) – Didn’t receive any significant action (8-1) and probably wasn’t expected to do much in his sprint debut for Shug McGaughey, but after struggling early to fall back by nearly 10 lengths, this sophomore son of Blame took hold and finished with a flourish in the final furlong, gobbling up pace setter Art Boss inside the sixteenth pole before drawing away rapidly by more than two lengths at the wire. Was actually taken in hand and eased up close home before galloping out like a freight train, maybe 20 lengths in front of the pack by the time the field hit the clubhouse turn. Obviously bred to run a lot farther than six furlongs, so it will be interesting to see when and how soon he’s given a chance stretch out. Clearly an exciting prospect and is in the right hands.
STAR EMPIRE-GB (May 19th, 1st race, Bel) – Debuting English-bred colt was fit-and-ready for a winning performance in a straight maiden main track sprint and proved much the best, pressing the pace outside to the head of the lane and then taking complete control to draw off by more than six lengths without really being asked for his best. Certainly bred for grass, so it wouldn’t be surprising at all if this son of the Australian-bred Foxwedge returns to the place of his birth for his next start, Royal Ascot. The Wesley Ward-trained juvenile has the kind of speed and quality that the European-based runners might have trouble coping with.