November 2014 -- Horses to Watch

-- Bronze Star (Tapit - Dashing Debby, by Medaglia d'Oro)
After effectively throwing away any chance of the win late in his debut, Bronze Star finished second to the ultra impressive Punctuate in his second start. Even nicer, however, was when he made all to break his maiden in his first attempt routing. Yes, he has a bit of "Tapit silliness" to him, but nothing too crazy and the talent and pedigree are there being by Tapit x El Prado line, which has been a very successful cross that includes the likes of G1 Hollywood Starlet winner Laragh and multiple stakes winner White Rose. It also doesn't hurt that he's owned by Fox Hill Farms, who have had an eye for talented Tapit progeny in recent years including Normandy Invasion, Coup De Grace, and Cassatt. If he can mature a touch in the coming months, this $500,000 yearling purchase from 2013 Keeneland September could have a say in the west coast Kentucky Derby preps next year.

-- Little Rooster (Vale of York - Tantalize, by Machiavellian)
This juvenile filly only has one run to her name, but it was a winning one over Good to Firm ground at Naas over Coolmore charge Toogoodtobetrue. She's began working consistently at Keeneland for Team Valor and Wayne Catalano and is one to keep an eye when she makes her US debut.

-- Aqalim (Raven's Pass - Aviacion, by Know Heights)**
I accidentally stumbled across this guy after his debut thanks to a TVG editing snafu, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. This strapping son of Raven's Pass really impressed me in that debut run and followed that up with showing a sharp turn of foot and nice maturity when getting up late to win his second start. He rounded out the year with a solid third place finish in the Grade 2 Wetherby's Private Banking Champion Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race at Aintree, when beaten by two older and more seasoned runners. He is entered in a listed race at Cheltenham on November 16 and whether he runs there or not, I expect him to continue to come on with more age and experience under his belt. (profile:

-- I'm Venezuelan (War Chant - Attico, by Atticus)
This gelded two-year-old son of War Chant out of multiple stakes winner Attico is a half sibling to the stakes placed Perfecta. He was heavily backed on debut and made all when seen winning by eight and a half lengths over dirt. He followed that up with second and third place finishes in dirt sprint stakes before being stretched out to a mile and switching to the turf in the Juvenile Turf S. at Gulfstream Park West. While he was soundly beaten by Firespike, of whom I'm a big fan, he ran a very strong race to finish second, however, despite running greenly early on and being steadied multiple times (replay:

-- Universal Union (Perfectly Ready - Bedrock, by Pins)** 
This relative newcomer to Hong Kong showed his potential when seen finishing third behind Teofilo Calva, who has since impressed. He finished second in his first run this season despite losing focus at a critical moment. He's won and finished a very close second in Class 3 races since despite still struggling with maintaining focus at times. He looks to be one who's moving up the ranks in Hong Kong and if he ever should get the addition of blinkers, he could be a star. (profile and race replays:

-- One Lucky Dane (Lookin At Lucky - Echo Harbor, by Boston Harbor)
After running third in the key 'Om Maiden Special Weight' at Del Mar, One Lucky Dane was outlasted by Conquest Hiosilver before breaking his maiden by nine and a half lengths over a mile at Santa Anita. His sixth place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile was by far the eyecatching performance of that race for mine. Not only was he four wide going into the first turn while up near a quick pace early on, but was forced to steady after Upstart, who was pulling hard on his outside, got to a position they were both vying for before him. Following steadying, One Lucky Dane was taken back several lengths and ridden along the rail to save ground. Coming around the far turn, he again made a run before being forced to again steady thanks to Upstart midstretch. He still gathered himself and continued on to pass Souper Colossal late, showing remarkable maturity for a juvenile. Below are some images of his trip that I took, which can be used as a guide to what I felt were some of the key moments of his BC Juvenile trip

** Designates an international runner

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