The Johnson Needs A Captain

The Johnson- $100.000 Purse
SAR- For Fillies Two Years Old
One Mile and One Sixteenth on the Inner Turf
September 3, 2015

The Johnson really is quite a race.  It provides one of the first major races for two year old filles to show their meddle going long on the turf.  Often, it is the race that sends many on the way to the Grade 3 Miss Grillo late this month at BEL, or the Grade 3 Jessamine at KEE about a month from now.  After that, the creme of the crop can be found in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf.  Every Johnson winner since 2007 has later found their way to that coveted race, and they have had varying degrees of success.  Broomsticks Copy, the winner in 2014, didn’t stop there as she later won the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf.  Another close call came in 2012 with Palace World, the winner of the Johnson that year, finishing second the BC race by less then a length. This year, it is disappointing that we only have six going to the starting gate.   In the 2014 edition, there were 12 runners, and this race usually has had a full field like that.   Drabfantasy, the winning trainer last year has two chances to win the race for the third time, as he also won in 2008 with Smokin Dead.  Let us meet his entries, and the four others now in the look through the field.

#1- Behind The Throne (Barcelona Farms, ridden by J Velazquez)- This is the only filly in the field who has raced over a mile, regardless of surface.  That was an allowance at MTH last month, going the same distance that will be expected of her today.   She is two-for-two in her career, and has been actively working well over the last couple weeks at SA.   Her conformation and pedigree doesn’t scream that this is her type of race, but she has proven that to be immaterial given her performance last month.   You have to like her as one of the top threats.

#2- Lady Lois of Wynne (Drabfantasy, ridden by J L Ortiz)- You can never count a horse out in a race like this, but it is fair to be a little dubious as to presence of Lady Lois of Wynne in this field, especially when her stablemate is clearly working better then her.  She has raced five times already, and still calls herself a maiden.  The Spirit of Broomstick filly will have to have improved since her work last month to top these, and I am not certain that will be the case.  Her dam, Sun Flower won three graded stakes on the turf going 1 3/8 or longer.   Certainly, that is very promising about her chances here.

#3- Nebraska Fives (Drabfantasy, ridden by I Ortiz Jr)- There is some really nice pedigree going on with this filly, as long as you can look past the inbreeding that went on with the late great In Spirit, the mare of Five Fives.  I also like the presence of Atonement in her pedigree to even bolster her pedigree more.  She has just one race under her belt, but in four fewer races then her stablemate, she has been able to break her maiden.  Since that victory, she has mainly been seen at PRX, where she has put together some great workouts.  I like this filly tremendously, and even if today does not end up being her day, she will do some great things.

#4- Track Star (Chili King Stables, ridden by J R Leparoux)- The trainer absolutely excels in these turf distance races, so when you see him bring a horse into a race like this then has never been on the grass before, you know not to even worry about it.   So far, the Abra Kadabra filly has won two of her four career races, with everything coming at the highest levels.   On the last day of July, in a “Star” studded field, Track Star ran a strong 4th in the $100.000 CTBA Stakes for CA breds.    She’s not by Pip Boy, so you won’t see that kind of turf pedigree in her.  A work in June will raise concerns about her getting the distance, but the trainer knows if that were excuses there or not.

#5- All Eyes Ahead (Mb Stables, ridden by J J Castellano)- After breaking her maiden going one of the shortest distances possible, All Eyes Ahead looks to pick up her second win in her fourth start by going considerably longer.   There is every reason to like her chances here, starting with some impressive workouts.  Like Nebraska Fives, she has been at PRX a lot lately, and in that time she put together an eye opening work on the 17th.   Her pedigree is strong, coming from the well known Mb Stables breeding lines of both Red Rioja and Steel Ball.

#6- Captain Caveman (Downwind Stables, ridden by J Rosario)- The Captain has been running for some high purses lately, including the $250.000 Astoria at BEL against some of the best in the business.   That proved to be a little tough, but she did bounce back and place third in the Cassidy Stakes at GP in July.  Despite that, she still has just her maiden win to her credit in her four career starts.   She is out of Cheerleading Captain, who represented herself very well over the course of her career going long on the grass.   Captain Caveman is also working very well and I am going to give her the nod here.

Prediction: 6-1-3-5

 

— NS



Categories: NG Stakes

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