When horses run like Commentator, we are reminded of how well an animal can perform when given the time to develop. He may not show the bald speed that he used to, but Commentator definitely runs like a horse with the balance of maturity and innate pace. For a horse who, in human years, is a 42+ year old running against 24+ year olds, he showed us brilliance can flourish with patience. As far as his last two wins, including Saturday's Mass 'Cap romp, he has proven that he may possibly be a Classic contender, able to keep his brilliant pace over a distance of ground. In this, the synthetics may help him get the extra furlong.
On the other side of the age spectrum, it was fantastic to see my highly touted Charitable Man win like a more mature horse in the Futurity last weekend at Belmont. He runs a lot like his father, Lemon Drop Kid, and looks to be in great hands. Unlike most people, I like the jump into two turns from a seven-furlong race- but only if the horse's pedigree screams distance. Being by a Belmont Stakes winning sire, out of a Halo/Seeking the Gold cross on his damside- he should have no issues negotiating 8.5 furlongs.
A horse to watch out for next time he runs is runner up, Flying Pegasus. This colt is by Fusaichi Pegasus out of multiple stakes winner (4 of her 5 wins were stakes, in 13 starts), Lilly Capote. Born in 1992, this filly had the misfortune of being among the throng of great fillies of that year (with the two best being in the same barn with her: Serena's Song and Flanders). Watch as Lilly Capote gives a great showing of herself in what would become an epic race. This filly, of great scope, finally meshed well with a stallion when she produced Flying Pegasus, who looks like he has a huge future.
The Fantastic Fourteen: Juveniles
1. Flying Pegasus Can rate and is bred to be a brilliant young horse.
2. Charitable Man Simply the fastest numbers and got the better of #1 when drafting off his pace.
3. Regal Ransom This once-raced colt ran a big number with bulldog-like tenacity. Will also LOVE synthetics.
4. Azul Leon If he is healthy, he is by far the best of the west.
5. Midshipman It's a shame for Baffert to lose one; going to be difficult to beat around two turns in the Norfolk.
6. Cribnote His debut and impressive botched race in the Hopeful make you think that he (though bred to be a miler) could be a really special type.
7. Coronet of a Baron Always there, with natural speed, and tough to beat- but he's been beaten by a superior animal in his last two.
8. Run Away and Hide A crafty type with a push-button style that could stretch out beyond a mile if trained correctly.
9. Brave Victory This huge animal lopes along but runs impressively in each race. He was second to Regal Ransom and then came back yesterday (9/20) to win impressively over 7 panels at Belmont.
10. Terrain Had his race completely taken away twice in the Arlington-Washington Futurity, and deserved the win. He has fast numbers and is from the family of Unbridled with talented juvenile Sky Mesa on top. Should improve around two turns and can run on anything.
11. Break Water Edison His last race was back too soon, and that was evident in his performance, but it will help him next out around two turns. Watch out for this son of the ever-improving Lemon Drop Kid.
12. Vineyard Haven Ran a slow number and had everything his way. He has two things going for him: Frankel as his trainer and he is an absolutely gorgeous gray/roan.
13. Keep Thinking This is the best-bred two year old I have seen, by A.P. Indy out of Denebola (French classic winner) who was shuffled back and swept past all but one when second behind Royal Vindication (who barely didn't make the list) this week at Belmont. He will be heard from soon.
14. Munnings This expensive colt ran well despite a dwelt start in the Hopeful. Pletcher will get the best out of him, but I'm not yet convinced that optimum will be able to compete with the top five here.
Happy Racing everyone.