JEFF SIEGEL’S EAST COAST BLACK BOOK
(For the week of April 6-10)
ENCRYPT (April 9th, 4th race, GP) – Tapit gelding from blue hen producer Ava Knowsthecode (Greenpointcrusader, Algorhythms, etc.) finally made it to the race at age four and was green as grass in maiden special weight main track sprint. Broke slowly and was far back early, found his best stride on the turn to move quickly into contention, went to the rail for his best bid in the drive and finished with interest to wind up second, beaten 3 ½ lengths, in a promising performance. Should improve a ton with this race behind him and we’re expecting the Kieran McLaughlin-trained 4-year-old to earn his diploma soon, perhaps with a bit more ground to work with. Figures to like turf as well, so trainer has a few options.
MELODY GIRL (April 10th, 6th race, GP) – First-timer starter by Unbridled’s Song wasn’t totally cranked up and did well to wind up third in a strong maiden special weight two-turn turf event for older fillies and mares. Was only beaten two lengths despite having to check a couple of times in mid-stretch, due in part to her greenness, but should be much sharper and more focused next time with this experience behind her. The Mark Casse-trained sophomore likely will return in a similar event next time and should be hard to beat.
MORANDI-FR (April 10th, 4th race, KEE) – Was making his first start since last July and deserved a better fate when winding up a troubled fifth, beaten 2 ½ lengths in a strong allowance raced over nine furlongs on the Keeneland turf course. Settled in the second flight, attempted to rally in mid-stretch but was hemmed in and blocked and never really had a chance to gain any momentum. Was second in the French Derby in his younger days and also was a Grade-1 winning juvenile, so he’s got plenty of back class to rely on. Next time, with clear sailing, the Chad Brown-trained 6-year-old should easily regain his winning form.
SHEA D GIRL (April 8th, 4th race, GP) – Made her first start since last September in a maiden $35,000 claiming turf sprint and was an entirely different filly than the one that was beaten 26 lengths in her debut. Settled in the second flight while waiting to pounce, angled wide for the drive and easily blew past her rivals to win going away in sharp fashion. Daughter of Paddy O’Prado looks like a very useful grass prospect and has a pedigree that should allow her to be just as effective routing as sprinting. Eligible to a starter’s allowance race and then will have all of her conditions, so the Jason Servis-trained filly should be able to reel off at least a couple of more wins in the near future.
UNIFIED (April 9th, 9th race, AQU) – Has the potential to become one of the very best colts in the sophomore ranks, as he showed in his highly-rated maiden debut sprint win at Gulfstream Park in February that was followed by his superb performance in winning the Bay Shore Stakes-G3 at Aqueduct. Made the pace inside under pressure and then kicked clear when ready to keep his slate perfect while running seven furlongs .29 seconds faster than older graded stakes sprinters did in the Carter Handicap-G1 about an hour later on the same program. Son of Candy Ride is plenty fast but certainly should go long, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see trainer Jimmy Jerkins point this colt for the Peter Pan Stakes-G2 at Belmont in mid-May. Very exciting prospect.