The Turf Ten

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Nick’s picks for the top ten three year old horses in North America with at least one start on the turf in 2013 and perhaps with an inclination of running in the $500,000 Virginia Derby (G2) at Colonial Downs on July 13th.

1. NOBLE TUNE – Solid run in the American Turf over Derby weekend places Chad Brown’s colt by Unbridled Song atop the Turf Ten. The Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Turf runner up has 4 wins in his 5 starts and is the most proven over the last nine months. Shortens up in his next start Saturday night in the $500,000 Penn Mile but finds a tough field.

2. SIZEGENETICS ON TUMBLR – Before an easy victory in Woodbine’s Marine stakes on the synthetic over Memorial Day weekend, Malcolm Pierce’s Stormy Atlantic colt certainly saw some tough foes, perhaps the best on this roster. Only Javier Castellano’s nifty ride aboard on the winner kept this Canadian-bred on the winner from winning the Transylvania. It may be tough to lure him south of the border for the Virginia turf.

3. JACK MILTON – If Todd Pletcher’s lightly raced colt had a few more outings, he may be ranked even higher. His Transylvania win was over a talented field. Gary Barber’s late foal didn’t have a start as a two-year old. Clashing with “co-Titan” Noble Tune in Saturday evening’s Penn Mile.

4. WAR DANCER – Ken McPeek’s War Front colt ran out of turf in his stretch run in the American Turf. Jockey Alan Garcia may not wait so long in his next start. The winner’s in the turf races he lost? Noble Tune and Jack Milton. He has been working on a weekly basis at Churchill Downs.

5. RYDILLUC – The Palm Beach stakes winner at Gulfstream couldn’t hold on to the lead in the Bluegrass on the synthetic. His front running style might be more questionable if Silver Max hadn’t virtually wired the Virginia Derby field last year. He’s perfect on the turf in three outings. The distance of the Penn Mile will certainly be an advantage.

6. ADMIRAL KITTEN – Another “admiral” ride by Mike Smith was nearly good enough to collect the Arlington Classic over Memorial Day weekend. The Ramsey home-bred is one of many Kitten’s Joy to be watching this summer. Only one career win on the turf for Michael Maker’s pupil but he’s been running well in tough company.

7. GENERAL ELECTION – The Battaglia winner and first runner up in the Lexington Stakes made his first turf start a winning one in the Arlington Classic with a perfect Rocco ride. Winstar Farm’s colt by Harlan’s Holiday out of a Kingmambo mare sets behind runner up Admiral Kitten here but perhaps only for the moment.

8. TATTENHAM – Bill Mott’s Rock Hard Ten colt has only two starts for Juddmonte Farms, both impressive wins on the turf at Tampa. He’s been up north at Belmont Park since late April with solid morning works. Runs Thursday, May 30th at Belmont Park in an optional claiming allowance.

9. CHARMING KITTEN – A suitable Derby effort for Ramsey’s homebred in the Kentucky Derby slop shouldn’t setback Pletcher’s student in a transition back to the turf in Saturday’s Penn Mile. Looks the flirt with the Triple Crown dirt is over. In March, he won the Kitten’s Joy at Gulfstream, named after his sire.

10. REDWOOD KITTEN – Wesley Ward will be bringing of portion of his stable to Colonial Downs this summer so Kitten’s Joy was a Virginia Derby prospect even before winning the Murphy over Preakness weekend at Pimlico.

Virginia Bred Winners

Bay Button Bill (g, 8yo), Ball’s Bluff – Magic Dot by Dancing Count. B – Virginia Tech Foundation Inc. Hollywood Casino At Charles Town Races, 5/24/2013, clmg, $6,820, 4.5 f, 0:52.71.

Big Dividend (g, 4yo), Whywhywhy – Head Start Joanie by Royal Academy. B – Mr. & Mrs. Sidney B. Cox Jr. Hollywood Casino At Charles Town Races, 5/23/2013, clmg, $9,600, 6.5 f, 1:20.18.

Excessiveness (f, 3yo), Exchange Rate – Vicki Vallencourt by Regal Classic. B – Audley Farm.

Churchill Downs, 5/23/2013, clmg, $15,420, 8.5 f, 1:45.06. ($75,000, yrlg, 2011, keesep)

Idle Dice (f, 4yo), Defrere – Dark Plume by Labeeb (GB). B – Glenn Thompson & Hill Haven, Inc. Hollywood Casino At Charles Town Races, 5/23/2013, mdn clmg, $6,600, 7 f, 1:31.22.

Liam and Alex (g, 4yo), Afleet Alex – Doctoressa by Doc’s Leader. B – Morgan’s Ford Farm &Gainesway Thoroughbreds Ltd. Penn National, 5/25/2013, clmg, $8,400, 8.5 f, 1:48.15. ($45,000, Wnlg, 2009, keenov; $80,000, yrlg, 2010, keesep)

Starship Storm (g, 4yo), Broken Vow – Storm Minstrel by Storm Cat. B – Edward P. Evans.

Calder Race Course, 5/26/2013, clmg, $7,500, 8.5 f, 1:43.19. ($10,000, yrlg, 2010, keesep)

Tirion (c, 5yo), Royal Academy – Domenica’s Dream by Woodman. B – Lady Olivia at North Cliff LLC. Longchamp, 5/26/2013, hcp, $31,606, 7 f, 1:22.45. ($37,000, Wnlg, 2008, keenov; $62,000, yrlg, 2009, keesep)

VA Bred Winners

Cho Cho Cat (f, 5yo), Tale of the Cat – Cho Cho San by Deputy Minister. B – Edward P. Evans. Evangeline Downs, 5/18/2013, stk, $30,000, 5 f, 0:55.32. ($19,000, 2yo, 2010, keenov)

Code West (r, 3yo), Lemon Drop Kid – Charitabledonation by Saint Ballado. B – Edward P. Evans. Pimlico, 5/18/2013, alwc, $29,640, 8.5 f, 1:46.67. ($340,000, yrlg, 2011, keesep)

Eldarion (g, 5yo), Aragorn (IRE) – Pagan Dance by Valley Crossing. B – Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin III.

Presque Isle Downs, 5/19/2013, str alwc, $12,000, 6 f, 1:11.73. ($11,500, yrlg, 2009, keesep)

Razzo Succo (g, 4yo), Indian Charlie – Cryptos’ Best by Cryptoclearance. B – Lazy Lane Farms, Inc. Arlington Park, 5/17/2013, alwc, $23,400, 8 f, 1:37.73. ($130,000, yrlg, 2010, keesep; $325,000, 2yo, 2011, ftffeb)

Snowball Fight (g, 3yo), Two Punch – Enough Tough by Cox’s Ridge. B – Althea Richards.

Pimlico, 5/16/2013, clmg, $9,690, 6 f, 1:14.58.

Tirion (c, 5yo), Royal Academy – Domenica’s Dream by Woodman. B – Lady Olivia at North Cliff LLC Maisons-laffitte, 5/18/2013, clmg, $12,193, 8 f, 1:38.60. ($37,000, Wnlg, 2008, keenov; $62,000, yrlg, 2009, keesep)

The Turf Ten – May 20, 2012

Redwood+Kitten

Redwood Kitten, the James Murphy winner on Preakness day at Pimlico, is one of three Kitten’s Joy-sired colts in Nick Hahn’s Turf Ten. Kitten’s Joy won the 2004 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs. (Photo-Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club)

NOBLE TUNE – Solid run in the American Turf over Derby weekend places Chad Brown’s colt by Unbridled Song atop the Turf Ten. The Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Turf runner up has 4 wins in his 5 starts and is the most proven over the last nine months.

UP WITH THE BIRDS – Malcolm Pierce’s Stormy Atlantic colt has certainly has seen tough foes, perhaps the best on this roster. Only Javier Castellano’s nifty ride aboard on the winner kept this Canadian-bred on the winner from winning the Transylvania.

JACK MILTON – If Todd Pletcher’s lightly raced colt had a few more outings, he may be ranked even higher. His Transylvania win was over a talented field. Gary Barber’s late foal didn’t have a start as a two-year old.

WAR DANCER – Ken McPeek’s War Front colt ran out of turf in his stretch run in the American Turf. Jockey Alan Garcia may not wait so long in his next start. The winner’s in the turf races he lost? Noble Tune and Jack Milton.

ADMIRAL KITTEN – The “admiral” ride by Mike Smith was nearly measured perfectly by one of many Kitten’s Joy to be watching this summer. Only one career win on the turf for Michael Maker’s pupil for the Ramsey home-bred but he’s been running well in tough company.

RYDILLUC – The Palm Beach stakes winner at Gulfstream couldn’t hold on to the lead in the Bluegrass on the synthetic. His front running style might be more questionable if Silver Max hadn’t virtually wired the Virginia Derby field last year. He’s perfect on the turf in three outings.

PROCUREMENT – Perhaps the “best in the west” with his LaPuente win, Tom Proctor knows the road to New Kent as he trained Banned, the 2011 Virginia Derby morning line favorite. The Milwaukee Brew Florida-bred has three wins in six starts on the turf.

TATTENHAM – Bill Mott’s Rock Hard Ten colt has only two starts for Juddmonte Farms, both impressive wins on the turf at Tampa. He’s been up north at Belmont Park since late April with solid morning works.

CHARMING KITTEN – A suitable Derby effort for Ramsey’s homebred in the Kentucky Derby slop shouldn’t setback Pletcher’s student in a transition back to the turf. In March, he won the Kitten’s Joy at Gulfstream, named after his sire.

REDWOOD KITTEN – Wesley Ward will be bringing a portion of his stable to Colonial Downs this summer so Kitten’s Joy was a Virginia Derby prospect even before winning the Murphy over Preakness weekend at Pimlico.

Also eligibles-Infinite Magic, Animal Style, Examen, Joelito, Rosengold, Fire Guard, I’ll Call, Chamois