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Nov 20, 2003

ATC Lead

By: Joe Girardi

            Last week we took at look at the Horse of the Year contenders, this week we will get a head start on next year’s top three year olds by looking at this year’s top two year olds.

  1. BIRDSTONE- Ran three times as a two year old none more impressive than his first career start in which he easily defeated a field of maidens by 12 ½ lengths. He came back off that effort and finished an even fourth in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes. Given more than a month off by trainer Nick Zito, BIRDSTONE came back to win the Grade 1 Champagne stakes. His pedigree of GRINDSTONE out of a STORM BIRD mare, he should have no problem with the classic distances. GRINDSTONE himself was a Kentucky Derby winner so that bodes well for BIRDSTONE. His connections decided to pass on the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and will wait until next year to get him ready for the Kentucky Derby.
  2. EUROSILVER- Another Nick Zito trainee and another horse that passed on the Breeders’ Cup and decided to wait for next year. The feeling is maybe too much too soon and Zito is one that knows how to get a horse ready for the Derby; he has done it in the past with STRIKE THE GOLD and GO FOR GIN. After finishing second in his first start behind SILVER WAGON, EUROSILVER easily broke his maiden and then followed that race up with a very impressive win in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland. His pedigree is solid, UNBRIDLED’S SONG out of a NIJINSKY 2ND mare. This horse should have no problem as the distances get longer and the talent is there.
  3. SILVER WAGON- This is yet another top two year old that decided to pass on races later in the year and instead wait. This horse is owned by Buckram Oak Farm who also owns EUROSILVER. However this horse is trained by Ralph Ziadie and not Nick Zito. This horse ran second in his first career start and just like EUROSILVER went on to break his maiden impressively (defeating EUROSILVER in the process) and then scoring in the Grade I Hopeful stakes at Saratoga. His pedigree is WAGON LIMIT out of a DARN THAT ALARM mare so he should handle some distance.
  4. ACTION THIS DAY- Scored the upset in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and did get a good pace to run at that day but this improving two year old can only get better. Trained by Richard Mandella, this two year old by KRIS S. out of a TREMPOLINO mare should have no problem with the classic distances. In his first career start at a mile he finished a well beaten second. He followed that up with a win over maidens by a nose and then with a strong performance in the Breeders’ Cup. He should be one of the forces next year in the three year old crop if he can continue to improve.
  5. CHAPEL ROYAL- An odd horse to add to the list because of his breeding. He is by MONTBROOK out of a CUTLASS mare and may have distance limitations. However, his race in the Breeders Cup Juvenile was solid. Despite battling for the lead through some very fast fractions he was able to hold onto third. He is a big horse that looks like he should handle some distance but he may have to overcome his pedigree. He has a ton of ability and must be given another shot to get a distance of ground. The fact the Todd Pletcher is the trainer is another plus for CHAPEL ROYAL.

RULER’S COURT, THE CLIFF’S EDGE and the filly HALFBRIDLED are others that can be in consideration for top three year olds but only time will tell.



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