Diamonds in the Rough: July 31, 2015

Diamonds in the Rough: July 31, 2015

It was a good day for Todd Pletcher in the two-year-old races at Saratoga, and it looks like Doug O’Neill has a promising turf filly in his barn–here’s a recap of all the action from the last two days of juvenile races at Saratoga and Del Mar!

JULY 29th

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

Doug O’Neill had the odds-on favorite in Land Over Sea, a daughter of Bellamy Road that had finished second in her previous race. With Mario Gutierrez in the saddle, Land Over Sea settled in fourth place early on, four lengths behind fractions of :23.37 and :47.99, and was still three lengths behind through six furlongs in 1:12.66 before she accelerated sharply to take command and draw off to a 3 3/4-length victory. She ran her final two furlongs in about :23 2/5 and her final furlong in :11.83, which are impressive fractions for any horse, especially a two-year-old! She’s On the Line set the pace and stayed on well to finish second by 2 3/4 lengths, while Good Looking ran an even race to finish third.

Link to the chart of Land Over Sea’s maiden win
Link to the replay of Land Over Sea’s maiden win
Link to Land Over Sea’s pedigree

JULY 30th

Saratoga Race 3: Maiden Special Weight for New York-breds
5 1/2 furlongs on dirt

Over a sloppy, sealed track that he clearly relish, Giant Surprise scored a convincing victory in this 5 1/2-furlong sprint at Saratoga. Trained by Todd Pletcher for owner Repole Stable, Giant Surprise was sent straight to the lead by jockey John Velazquez and rattled off fractions of :22.67 and :46.06 while leading by a length. Entering the homestretch, he kicked clear of his rivals and led by 3 1/2 lengths passing the eighth pole before crossing the wire in front by 2 3/4 lengths in the time of 1:05.14. A son of Giant Surprise–a Pletcher/Repole runner that won his debut at Saratoga in 2011 but never ran again–Sudden Surprise was very impressive from a visual perspective and looks like a horse to watch in the coming weeks! Fish Trappe Road tracked the pace and ran a huge race to finish second, 10 1/4 lengths in front of third-place finisher Ordinaire.

Link to the chart of Sudden Surprise’s maiden win
Link to the replay of Sudden Surprise’s maiden win
Link to Sudden Surprise’s pedigree

Saratoga Race 5: Maiden Special Weight
5 1/2 furlongs on dirt

Todd Pletcher was in the winner’s circle once again with Island Saint, a son of Speightstown that romped to victory in gate-to-wire fashion. With John Velazquez in the saddle, Island Saint set sharp fractions of :22.04 and :45.85 (substantially quicker than Giant Surprise), and while he decelerated through the final three-sixteenths, he still drew off in the final furlong to win by 2 3/4 lengths in the time of 1:05.87 seconds. True Pleasure, trained by Bill Mott, tracked the pace throughout to finish second by 5 1/4 lengths over La Nina, who rallied mildly to secure third place.

Link to the chart of Island Saint’s maiden win
Link to the replay of Island Saint’s maiden win
Link to Island Saint’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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