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Sneaky Good

Posted by on 2/2/2015 11:56:46 PM

The top sophomores in the land are starting to emerge with an eye toward the Triple Crown Trail but handicappers sometimes have to go to the second tier to find some hidden gems and some of those racers are sneaky good.

Lord Nelson is one of the runners that comes to mind. He is out of a Seeking the Gold mare and is a son of Pulpit, who was a Group 2 winner routing. This runner was no secret in his debut as he rallied late to earn the diploma at Del Mar going 5 furlongs with a 72 Beyer. His trainer Bob Baffert thought enough of him to immediately try him in the Grade 1 FrontRunner at Santa Anita.

After pressing the pace in that race, he tired a bit late but was still less than 2 lengths back of Texas Red, who returned to win the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile.

He showed his versatility as he cut back to a sprint and won a $101,000 stakes. It’s all about seasoning with young horses and Baffert decided to give this colt a chance to race at Churchill in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.

The racer was bet off the board at 7-5 but had a nightmarish trip. He stumbled at the start, was far off the lead, rallied 4 wide, looked to be on the verge of catching the leaders, but then was 7 wide and had nothing left at crunch time.

For those that go deep in this runner’s pedigree, they will find a runner named Miss Linda, who was a Grade 1 winner going 9 furlongs who won nearly $900,000.

Gorgeous Bird just might take off and soar as he matures. The son of Unbridled’s Song figures to thrive as the distances increase.

This colt has a long extending stride and he seems to be able to glide over surfaces. Not a lot of young horses are comfortable in crowds but this runner has shown the ability to settle between horses and then quicken. Educated in his sprint debut, he proved he could handle Churchill Downs when graduating there at the demanding distance of 7 furlongs.

Trained by the patient Ian Wilkes, the pedigree is there for this runner to excel with distance. His sire won multiple Grade 1s routing and his dam dropped Pow Wow Wow, who was Grade 2 placed and graduated routing in the slop.

His second dam Bird Town was a champion who took the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill and is also related to Birdstone, who took 3 Grade 1 races including the Belmont Stakes when he beat the great Smarty Jones.

Competitive Edge is lightly raced but he has been brilliant. Trained by Todd Pletcher, he was the worst kept secret in his debut when he won by over 10 lengths. He returned to run in the Grade 1 Hopeful at 7 furlongs and again was impressive, winning by nearly 6 lengths drawing away. In both of his races, he earned a 90 Beyer Speed Figure.

Freshened since, he has been training forwardly in Florida and he has a right to grow into his skin as his sire Super Saver won the Kentucky Derby.

With young horses like these racers, they mature almost hourly so being able to track as many 3-year-olds as possible will be a plus for all.

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