Diamonds in the Rough: August 18, 2015

Diamonds in the Rough: August 18, 2015

After a busy week, I’ve fallen a bit behind in recapping all of the top-notch 2yo races at Saratoga and Del Mar, so lets start getting caught up by examining the results of three days worth of races!


Saratoga Race 5: Maiden Special Weight for Fillies
5.5 furlongs on dirt

Graham Motion’s Tizasong was the favorite in this 5.5-furlong sprint, which was originally scheduled to be run on the turf course. But after tracking a quick pace set by More That Lily, Tizasong tired in the homestretch to finish third as Big Thrill turned in a spectacular performance to win by four lengths. My detailed recap of the race can be found here, but I should reiterate that Big Thrill’s performance was simply breathtaking, and has definitely stamped her as a filly to watch during the coming months.

Link to the chart of Big Thrill’s maiden win
Link to the replay of Big Thrill’s maiden win
Link to Big Thrill’s pedigree

Del Mar Race 1: Maiden Claiming
6 furlongs on dirt

I haven’t been recapping maiden claiming races in Diamonds in the Rough, choosing instead to focus on stakes and maiden races, but Wish I Understood‘s victory on Wednesday at Del Mar was too impressive to overlook. The Bob Baffert-trained daughter of Concord Point was sent off as the heavy favorite at 3-10 and easily lived up to expectations, tracking pacesetter Gusto’s Gal through an opening quarter-mile in :22.31 before seizing command and drawing off to win by 12 3/4 lengths. Wow! Granted, the time of 1:11.71 wasn’t very fast, and she was urged throughout the homestretch, but this was still a very impressive performance that suggests she could be one to watch in the future. First-time starter Run Brionie Run trailed the field by eight lengths early on before rallying to finish second at 22-1 over Rich Girl, who ran an even race to finish third.

Link to the chart of Wish I Understood’s maiden win
Link to the replay of Wish I Understood’s maiden win
Link to Wish I Understood’s pedigree

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

Hollywood Don had to fight every step of the way, but the Peter Miller-trained son of Tapit succeeded in breaking his maiden after a race long duel with Tiz a Billy. The two colts were never separated by more than a half-length while leading through quick fractions of :22.30, :46.11, and 1:10.61, but Hollywood Don always had the advantage and prevailed by a neck in the end while stopping the timer in 1:35.72. Dressed in Hermes was never farther back than third and stayed on gamely in the homestretch to finish a length behind the top pair.

Link to the chart of Hollywood Don’s maiden win
Link to the replay of Hollywood Don’s maiden win
Link to Hollywood Don’s pedigree

Del Mar Race 7: Sorrento Stakes (gr. II)
6.5 furlongs on dirt

Bob Baffert’s Pretty N Cool had stamped herself as a filly to watch when breaking her maiden at Del Mar by 4 1/2 lengths, and she followed up that impressive debut with an equally impressive triumph in the Sorrento Stakes. Sent off as the 2-5 favorite, the daughter of Scat Daddy had no trouble rating in second as Undisputed opened up a 3 1/2-length lead through an opening quarter-mile in :22.24, and when Undisputed began to tire after a half-mile in :45.59, Pretty N Cool swooped in to easily take command, open up a four-length lead, and cruise home the winner in the time of 1:16.94. 20-1 shot Gomo finished well to secure the place, 2 3/4 lengths behind Pretty N Cool, while One True Kiss rallied from last to grab third in a promising performance.

Link to the chart of the Sorrento Stakes
Link to the replay of the Sorrento Stakes
Link to Pretty N Cool’s pedigree


Del Mar Race 3: Maiden Special Weight for Fillies
8 furlongs on turf

The heavy favorite at 4-5 was Jerry Hollendorfer’s Imflatoutsweet, and after working out a clever trip in between horses, the daughter of Sky Mesa finished strongly to triumph by 2 1/2 lengths while running her final quarter-mile in about :24 1/5. Sutton’s Smile rallied well on the outside to take command at the top of the stretch and eventually finish second, while Sheeza Milky Way showed good early speed, dropped back partway through the race, and re-re-rallied to finish third, two lengths behind Sheeza Milky Way and 5 1/4 lengths clear of the rest of the field. 49-1 shot Chalkin It Up dueled for the early lead through fractions of :22.76, :47.20, and 1:12.87 before tiring to finish eighth.

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


Del Mar Race 4: Maiden Special Weight for California-breds
6 furlongs on dirt

In a field that included starters from the barns of Jerry Hollendorfer and Bob Baffert, Jeff Bonde’s Carlos Dangerous was the narrow favorite off a runner-up effort at Los Alamitos, and the son of Sierra Sunset did well to win by a neck. With Rafael Bejarano in the saddle, Carlos Dangerous went straight to the lead and posted fractions of :22.50, :46.28, and :58.77 before holding off a late run from Gio Mio to stop the clock in 1:11.93 seconds. The latter colt, trained by Art Sherman, was the early trailer by 12 1/4 lengths after a poor start, but unleashed a terrific rally in the final furlong to gain 4 1/4 lengths on Carlos Dangerous and fall just short of winning. Scatastic was sixth early on and advanced to second on the turn before faltering slightly to finish third, beaten 2 1/2 lengths by Carlos Dangerous.

Link to the chart of Carlos Dangerous’ maiden win
Link to the replay of Carlos Dangerous’ maiden win
Link to Carlos Dangerous’ pedigree

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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