Welcome to the inaugural edition of “Diamonds in the Rough,” a series of articles that will focus on all the great races for two-year-olds at the Del Mar and Saratoga meets this summer. The young runners that compete in these races are inexperienced and unproven–you could say they’re kind of “rough” right now!–but you never know which ones might turn out to be future stars. With recent classic winners American Pharoah, Orb, Oxbow, and Palace Malice all having made their debuts in maiden races at these meets, there’s a strong chance that by keeping an eye on the action this summer, we’ll see a future Kentucky Derby winner make his debut!
We’ll start off the series by recapping a pair of maiden special weights for colts and geldings that were held at Del Mar on July 18th. Both were five-furlong in distance on the main track, although due to heavy rains early in the day, the first race was contested over a sloppy and sealed track, while the other was held over a surface labeled “good.”
The first race featured seven first-time starters, including the Bob Baffert-trained Toews On Ice, who was sent off as the favorite at 4-5. With Martin Garcia in the saddle, the colt flashed speed from the start and ran the opening quarter-mile in :22.25 while dueling with Uncle Lino, a son of Uncle Mo trained by Gary Sherlock. However, turning for home, Toews On Ice ran out of steam and backed out of contention, leaving Uncle Lino on the lead through a half-mile in :45.82. But Rockin Bayou had been right behind the leaders throughout the race while running on the outside, and in the final furlong, the Louisiana-bred son of Forefathers rallied tenaciously under jockey Mike Smith to get up and win by a neck in the time of :58.75 seconds. Jeff Mullins conditions the colt for owners Randy Patterson, Donna Rey, and Scott Rudolph. Uncle Limo ran very well in defeat to finish second, while Toews On Ice came home another 5 1/4 lengths back in third.
In the second race, Go Long and Gavin Streetsense were never more than a head off the lead at any call while dueling with Salutation and Big Finish for the early lead, and when the latter colts began to fade after an opening quarter-mile in :22.29, Go Long and Gavin Streetsense continued their personal dual throughout the homestretch, with Go Long eventually edging clear to win by three-quarters of a length in the final time of :59.13. A son of Congrats, Go Long is trained by Keith Desormeaux for the partnership of M. Barrows, E. Brehm, Keith Desormeaux, J. Fox, and R. Mitchell. Kent Desormeaux, Keith’s brother, was the winning jockey. Irish, the favorite to win at odds of 2.20-1, got off to a slow start but put in a respectable rally to finish third, five lengths behind the winner and 3 1/4 lengths clear of the rest of the field. A son of Paddy O’Prado trained by Craig Dollase, Irish is bred to improve with more distance and might also have a future on turf, and definitely looks like a colt to keep an eye on during the coming months!
I have included links to the Equibase.com result charts of each race, as well as links to the Equineline.com pedigrees for Rockin Bayou, Go Long, and Irish. Enjoy!
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