Diamonds in the Rough: 7-27-15

Diamonds in the Rough: 7-27-15

Three more exciting maiden races were held on Sunday at Saratoga and Del Mar, and all three winners scored decisive victories that suggest they could be horses to keep an eye on during the coming months. Let’s take a look at what happened!

Saratoga Race 6: Maiden Special Weight for Fillies
8.5 furlongs on turf

One day after upsetting a similar race for colts with a 21-1 shot, trainer Bill Mott sent out the first-timer starter Sage Hall to score another surprising victory at 11.60-1. With Jose Lezcano in the saddle, the daughter of Cape Blanco was far back early on and trailed the field with just five-sixteenths of a mile to go, but unleashed a spectacular rally in the homestretch to win by 3 1/4 decisive lengths in the time of 1:42.78. Best of all, she ran her final five-sixteenths in about :28 3/5, an exceptional time. Wow! Rebelle, another first-time starter trained by Mott, stayed closer to the pace than Sage Hall but failed to accelerate as strongly in the homestretch and wound up finishing second in a promising debut. Deedeezee ran a similar race, rating close to the pace and taking command in the homestretch before tiring late to finish a nose behind Rebelle. Love the Kitten, a Wesley Ward runner making her first start since running at Royal Ascot in June, set fractions of :22.87, :47.99, and 1:12.86 but gave way in the homestretch to finish fifth.

Link to the chart of Sage Hall’s maiden win
Link to the replay of Sage Hall’s maiden win
Link to Sage Hall’s pedigree

Del Mar Race 5: Maiden Special Weight
8 furlongs on turf

Rare Candy, a son of Twirling Candy, was the favorite at 2.30-1 and lived up to expectations with an impressive victory. Coming off of a runner-effort in a maiden race at Belmont, Rare Candy broke sharply and secured a 1 1/2-length early advantage while setting fractions of :23.51, :48.68, and 1:13.58, then accelerated with a final quarter-mile in :23.47 to turn back his challengers and triumph by 2 1/4 lengths. The David Hofmans-trained runner recorded a final time of 1:37.05. Osceola Pond, a son of Cape Blanco making his turf debut for trainer Tom Proctor, tracked the pace while racing wide and got up to finish second by a half-length over Handful of Stripes, who raced in second throughout before tiring slightly in the final furlong.

Link to the chart of Rare Candy’s maiden win
Link to the replay of Rare Candy’s maiden win
Link to Rare Candy’s pedigree

Del Mar Race Race 7: Maiden Special Weight for Fillies
6 furlongs on dirt

It looks like Jerry Hollendorfer and Fox Hill Farms have a very exciting 2yo filly in their barn! Songbird, a first-time starter by Medaglia d’Oro, opened up a two-length advantage through an opening quarter-mile in :22.08 and only extended her lead thereafter, opening up 2 1/2 lengths through a half-mile in :45.66, four lengths through five furlongs in :57.98, and finally 6 1/2 lengths while reaching the wire in a sharp 1:11.03 seconds. What a performance! It looks as though Bob Baffert’s filly Pretty N Cool will have some serious opposition in the Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) on September 5th! Tiz a Tommy Town, another Jerry Hollendorfer-trained filly, chased the pace and stayed on well to finish second by 1 1/4 lengths Treasuring, a Bob Baffert filly that rallied from seventh to finish third.

Link to the chart of Songbird’s maiden win
Link to the replay of Songbird’s maiden win
Link to Songbird’s pedigree

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Follow J. Keeler Johnson ("Keelerman"):

J. Keeler Johnson is a writer, blogger, videographer, and all-around horse racing enthusiast who was drawn to the sport by Curlin's quest to become North America's richest racehorse. A great fan of racing history, he considers Dr. Fager to be the greatest racehorse ever produced in America, but counts Zenyatta as his all-time favorite. He lives in Wisconsin and also writes for the blog Unlocking Winners.

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