Saturday, September 14, 2013

Calder's Festival Preview to Feature 2-Year-Olds

by Jim Freer

Saturday,  Sept.14th -The colts Best Plan Yet and Brothersofthetime and the filly Flat Out Charming have thus far been secondary stars among South Florida's 2013 crop of 2-year-olds.
They will have their chances to make  headlines on Saturday at Calder  Casino & Race Course. Best Plan Yet  and Brothersofthetime will probably be the  favorites in  the $85,000 Foolish Pleasure  Stakes  and  Flat Out  Charming will head the field  in the $85,000 Brave Raj. Both are one mile and 70 yards  on dirt.
Calder will have two other stakes on Saturday's  annual Festival Preview card.
The $70,000 Judy's Red Shoes is for 3-year-old  fillies and  the $70,000 Needles is for  3-year-old males.  Both are 1 1/16 miles on turf.
Calder officials  expect that many  of the horses in Saturday's stakes  will be back for  richer stakes races at the annual Festival of  the Sun on Oct. 12.
Gulfstream Park will have one stakes on Saturday--the $100,000 Montbrook at one mile on dirt for 3-yeatr-olds and up.

Calder 2-YO Stakes
As in other years, several trainers are using the  Brave Raj and Foolish Pleasure as preps for the final races in the Florida Stallion Stakes Series on Oct. 12.
Saturday's fields do not  include My Brown Eyed Guy, winner of the first two  legs of the Stallion Stakes male  division, or Scandalous Act,  winner of the first two races in the filly division.
Those two horses are not scheduled to race until Oct. 12, when they will seek Stallion Stakes sweeps for their breeder/owner Gilbert Campbell and  trainer Kathleen O'Connell.
Scandalous Act will be in the  $300,000 My Dear Girl and  My  Brown Eyed Guy will be in the $300,000 In Reality--both  at 1 1/16 miles on dirt.

Foolish Pleasure
A big handicapping question will be how to  choose between Best Plan Yet, Brothersofthetime and East Hall based on the Foolish Pleasure distance.
Best Plan Yet comes into the race after strong second place finishes to My Brown Eyed Guy in Stallion Stakes races.  But the Foolish Pleasure will be his first race longer than  seven furlongs and first  around  two turns.
On  Aug. 24 at Calder, Brothersofthetime held  off  a late run by East Hall to win by a nose  in the one mile Seacliff Stakes  in the modest time of 1:42.01.
DNA Approved struggled in the stretch and  finished third. He also is back for the Foolish Pleasure.
On Aug. 24 in the seven furlong Affirmed Stakes,, Best  Plan Yet finished  2 1//4 lengths  behind the dominant My  Brown Eyed Guy and was expanding his own lead over the rest of  the field.
Best  Plan Yet earned an Equibase  speed  figure of 92 while Brothersofthetime earned just a 78 in their Aug. 24 races.
The Foolish Pleasure  also has the  speedy The Battle Is On and Union Cash, from the Campbell-O'Connell barn.
Prediction:  Best Plan Yet,  Brothersofthetime, The  Battle Is On, East Hall.

Brave Raj
Flat Out Charming rallied  to beat Light Bringer by a nose in the one mile Lindsay Frolic  Stakes on Aug. 24.
Look of a Star finished  third in  that race  where  the  winning time was a relatively weak 1:42.89.
All three will be in the  Brave Raj.
The race also will have Quinnkat and Magical Holiday who finished second and  third while being crushed  by Scandalous  Act in the  seven furlong Susan's Girl  on Aug.  24   Scandalous Act won  by 8 1/2 lengths over Quinnkat  with Holiday Magic a neck behind in third.
Prediction: Flat Out Charming, Holiday Magic, Quinnkat, Light Bringer.

Some History
The Brave  Raj and  Foolish Pleasure do not  have the depth and star power of most of the recent graded 2-year-old  stakes at tracks  such as Saratoga,  Del Mar and  Churchill Downs.
But fans locally and nationally will be looking to see if another star or two will come out of  the Calder stakes, like Rose to Gold and  Itsmyluckyday did last  year.
After  winning the Foolish  Pleasure, Itsmyluckyday went on to a high-profile 2013 campaign that included a victory in the Holy  Bull at Gulfstream and  a second  place  finish in the  Preakness Stakes.
Rose to Gold won the Brave Raj. She later  won a graded stakes at Delta Downs in Vinton, La., and  two  graded stakes at Oaklawn Park  in Hot Springs,  Ark.

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