In a spinoff of Juvenile Spotlights, new-on-the-scene three-year-olds will be featured in a new blog series called “Sophomore Spotlights.” These will only continue through the end of February and will follow the format of Juvenile Spotlights. This series was created to spotlight the up-and-coming sophomores that either did not race as a juvenile or did not perform as well as a two-year-old.
Cerro (1/26): Already famous due Michael Phelps being among the Team Valor partnership that owns him, Cerro began his career in Italy. After catching the attention of Barry Irwin, he was bought and transferred to America, where he finished off-the-board in the Pilgrim Stakes (GIII) at Belmont. Following a fourth-place finish in a turf allowance optional claiming, the chestnut colt transferred to dirt, which preceded a third-place finish and a victory in allowance optional claiming events at Gulfstream, one of which was contested on dirt. The aforementioned triumph came in the case of an easy win going nine furlongs. Though a son of Mr. Greeley, Cerro’s dam side – having Giant’s Causeway as his broodmare sire, Nijinksy as the sire of his granddam, and one of the best broodmares of all-time as his third dam – suggests that distance will not be an issue in the least. Expect a post about him soon on my Horse Racing Nation blog.
Close Hatches (1/26): After closing from off the pace, this Bill Mott trainee galloped to an outstanding 7-length victory. A daughter of young sire First Defence, a grade one-winning sprinter by Unbridled’s Song, Close Hatches is out of a Storm Cat mare that is a direct descendant of Reine de Course mare and 1982 Broodmare of the Year Best in Show, who produced Kentucky Oaks winner Blush with Pride. Close Hatches is thus from the same family as the Belmont Stakes (GI)-winning siblings Jazil and Rags to Riches, as well as the champion Peeping Fawn. Therefore, this is the same tail female family as the great broodmare Better Than Honour.
Tokyo Time (1/27): Fifth in her debut sprinting on the turf at Belmont, Tokyo Time finished second behind the talented Tapicat going a mile and one-sixteenth over Gulfstream’s turf course. She then romped in a nine-furlong maiden special weight over the same turf course, posting an impressive final time of 1:47.47. A daughter of a terrific sire of fillies, Medaglia d’Oro, Tokyo Time is out of the A.P. Indy mare, thus making her a half-sister to the graded stakes winners Hungry Island and Soaring Empire.