Runners Are Thriving
Monday, June 10, 2019

    It's been a while since I checked in on Mike Mulligan's to see how his rated sales juveniles from the last couple of years have been faring lately. Turns out, Belmont week with all its stakes action around the country, provided the perfect opportunity.

    For a quick refresher, Mike attends every 2-year-old sale in the country and evaluates what he sees during the under tack sessions. He rates the juveniles on a scale of 1 to 9, with 1 being the best, and of the approximately 3,000 who work for prospective buyers at OBS, South Florida, Maryland, Kentucky, California, etc., only about 25 percent receive one of Mike's preferred ratings. After watching the works, and evaluating each horse, Mike somehow gathers all the information and miraculously has his ratings out in book form in time for the opening sales session. I don't know how he does it.  

    Mike's ratings are listed on each day in three categories - First-time starters, other BBB scored horses in the entries, and stakes horses. Naturally, at this juncture, while we wait for a new batch from the recent 2-year-old sales, the number of first-time starters is very sparse, and the category 2 horses have pretty much shown what they're made of. What makes the selections stand out is the overwhelming success of the rated horses in stakes competition, and the past weekend's results are eye-opening.  

    It began on Thursday, when Significant Form won the Gr. III Intercontinental Stakes at Belmont Park, and Taylor's Spirit the $65,000 Panther Stakes at Prairie Meadows. Significant Form (a 3 rating) was a $75,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky yearling, then a $575,000 OBS April 2-year-old. She's a three-time stakes-winner after just nine starts, and won the Gr. III Miss Grillo as a maiden in her second career start. 

    Taylor's Spirit (a 1 rating) was an $80,000 OBS April product and this was her fifth stakes victory. She's 6-2-1 in 11 starts overall with earnings of $230,730.

    On Friday, Fore Left (6 rating) was much the best in Belmont's first 2-year-old stakes, the 5 1/2-furlong Tremont, winning by 4 1/2 lengths. He had won his debut at Santa Anita clocked in :51.58 for the 4 1/2 furlongs, just three-fifths off the track record. The Twirling Candy colt has earned $126,000 in his two tries and OBS March buyers missed the boat - he was a $145,000 RNA. 

    An earlier highlight on Friday came in Belmont's first race when first-timer Double Orb (6 rated) won and paid $27.80. Coupled with Ahead of Plan (rated 1), the exacta paid $70.

    Saturday turned out to be a very special day for three special BBB runners at Belmont Park. First, Majid won the $150,000 Easy Goer Stakes, then Midnight Bisou won the $700,000 Ogden Phipps, followed by Mitole's sharp score in the fabled Met Mile, with its purse of $1.2 million.

    Majid (rated 9) was a $295,000 Fasig-Tipton March 2-year-old. After finishing fifth twice last year, he has now run off four victories in a row this season and has earned $171,805.

    Midnight Bisou (rated 8) was a bargain $80,000 OBS April product. She is 4-for-4 this year, has won five of her last six, and is 9-3-3 in 15 starts lifetime, with earnings of $2,780,000. She's won four Gr. I's, three Gr. II's and two Gr. III's and broke her maiden in the Gr. II Santa Ynez Stakes. 

    Mitole (rated 6) won one of the biggest tests in racing in the Gr. I Met Mile. The $140,000 OBS April 2-year-old has won seven straight and is 8-2-1 in 11 starts lifetime with earnings of $1,642,910. He won the Met by three-quarters of a length over 8/5 favorite McKinzie, clocked in 1:32.75 for the mile; the track record is 1:32.24. 

    Other Saturday highlights: First-timer Glamour Gal (8) won at Arlington Park and paid $28.20; Nitrous (1) came from last place to finish second by a neck at Belmont in the $400,000, Gr. I  Woody Stephens Stakes at odds of 17-1; Jeltrin (4), the Davona Dale winner at $105, finished third at 46-1 in Belmont's Gr. I Acorn; Lady Grace (2) was third at odds of 20-1 in the $100,000 William D. Graham Memorial at Woodbine; and Factorofwon (6) was second in the $75,000 Unbridled Elaine Stakes at Monmouth Park. 

    Also: Gold Standard (3), a $1.2 million Fasig-Tipton March 2-year-old, broke his maiden by 7 1/2 lengths at Churchill Downs; and Miss That Kat (6) looked like she was being pulled out of the race after half a mile and amazingly recovered and came back to win by a neck at Santa Anita.  

    Finally, on Sunday, Art G Is Back (3) won the $75,000 Thirty Fish Stakes at Gulfstream; Mucho Amor (1) finished second by a neck in the $50,000 Kent Stakes at Emerald Downs; first-timer Robin'sblinddeal (8) won at Gulfstream and paid $10.60; first-timer Alphalfa (5) finished second by a head at Belmont at odds of 8-1; and The Sinner Is You (3) won at Belmont and paid $7 - with 11-1 Prince Halo (5) second, the exacta paid $80. 

    Pretty impressive four-day span for BBB.
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