Bob Schless on the Adirondack Stakes (GII, Saratoga) Pedigrees

[You can also find Bob’s pedigree writing at and follow him on twitter @columbia7644.  Read on for his usual excellent pedigree analysis as well as his take on the race. Enjoy! SA] The $200,000 Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes for 2-year-old fillies is being run at Saratoga this Sunday. It has attracted a competitive field of seven horses running 6 1/2 furlongs. First I will look at who’s entered, their post position, and their morning line odds.  For each one, I am going to look at the highlights of their pedigrees to help find clues as to how they will perform. Finally to conclude, I will do my own race analysis to show how I see the race unfolding based on bloodlines, pace scenario, and talent.

Post 1: Wonder Gal (3-1): This NY bred trained by Leah Gyarmati and was purchased for $210,000. She is a very big filly and was truly professional in her maiden win when she sat 8 lengths behind the leaders in the Lynbrook Stakes and made a bold move on the turn to leave her rivals in the dust, running away with a 14 1/2 length victory. You don’t see too many two-year-olds do that. She is by Tiz Wonderful who is known as a superb sire of speedy two-year-old winners. This year alone he has 6 winners out of 10 runners, including 2 graded stakes winner’s in Big Trouble (G3 Sanford) and Scherzinger (G2 Santa Monica). On the track he won a G2 and G3 at two. A stakes winner at 2, Tiz Wonderful was the highest rated colt by champion juvenile sire Tiznow, who himself produced 2005 Eclipse Champion Juvenile Filly Folklore. Tiznow is known to pass his determination and pure will to win on to his offspring. By looking at these 2 sires you can see that there is brilliance there. On her distaff side, her dam Posse is a half sister to a Grade 3 winner. Her granddam Gal on the Go was a stakes winner who bankrolled $238,949. Her third dam, Gypsy, was stakes placed. Her 4th dam, Nice Gal, was a stakes winner. Finally, her 5th dam Vigal was multiple stakes winning mare. This is a classy, black type female family that the great horse Perfect Drift hails from. Wonder Gal’s dam sire is Dixie Union, who won multiple stakes races at 2 and sired horses such as Union Rags and Hot Dixie Chick who performed exceptionally at 2. Her 2nd dam sire Dixieland Band sired 120 stakes winners and was the Leading Broodmare Sire in 2004. Her 3rd dam sire, Northern Dancer, was The Broodmare Sire of the Year in 1991 and also one of the most influential sires of the 20th century. Looking at these horses and you would think that Wonder Gal can succeed at longer distances. Her trainer, who also trains multiple G1 filly Sweet Reason (a closer as well), says “I think she wants to go long, but she was impressive in sprinting”. I think this speaks to her quality and class.

Post 2: Phoenix Park (15-1): A $105,000 purchase, this fast filly re-rallied and won a MSW $45,000 4 1/2 furlong race at Parx in the slop by a head. She is by one of the leading freshman sires Lookin at Lucky, who has 12 winners this summer out of 22 runners including two stakes winners. Lookin at Lucky was The Eclipse Champion Juvenile Male in 2009. Her second sire, the Canadian Hall of Famer Smart Strike, sired many great 2-year-olds including Curlin, English Channel and My Miss Auerelia. Her 3rd sire is the great Mr. Prospector who was known to possess vast amounts of speed. There is definitely some talent in her sire line and an affinity to succeed right from the gate.. Looking at her female tail her dam Boleyn placed in the 9F G2 Demoiselle. Magnificant Lady, her 3rd dam, won the Grade One Vanity Invitational. And her 4th dam, Lin-D-Star, produced 2 stakes winners and another 3 stakes placed horses. So there is some class in this family. Looking at her dam sires, the first is Proud Citizen who was a fast colt and also produced 2 Kentucky Oaks winners. Her 2nd dam sire, Gone West, is a sire of sires with such notable offspring as Elusive Quality and Speightstown. And her third dam sire was again Mr. Prospector. I can definitely see some speed in these bloodlines and being by Lookin at Lucky one always has a chance in these summer two-year-old races.

Post 3: Angela Renee (5-2): This Pletcher charge and race favorite won a 5F MSW 75K at Belmont by chasing the early pace, challenging leaders on the turn and edging away by 2 1/2 lengths in a brisk 57.90. She was very professional like her dad, Bernardini. The second and fifth place winners of this race came back to score next out which flatters her nicely. Bernardini showed his brilliance by winning the 2006 Preakness Stakes by over 5 lengths. He has produced some fine 2-year-olds (AZ Warrior, To Honor and Serve, Biondetti, Stay Thirsty), but keep in mind that he never raced at 2 and his dad A.P. Indy didn’t break his maiden until October 27 of his 2-year-old season. The great Seattle Slew, her 3rd sire, was a good performer at 2. Angela Renee is out of Pilfer, a stakes winner and full sister to To Honor and Serve. In 2012 she sold for nearly 2 million dollars. Her granddam is Misty Hour who was also a stakes winner and half-sister to two more stakes winners. Misty Hour was also the dam of Graded Winner India. Her 3rd dam Our Tina Marie was unraced and a full sister to two stakes placed horses. Her 4th dam and 5th dams were Reines De Course mares. This is the family 4-R that produced Monarchos. What I just described is a female family that exudes class. Angela Renee’s dam sire is Deputy Minister, who won 7 stakes races at age 2 and was named Canadian Horse of the Year in 1981. He also sired 108 stakes winners and was the 2007 Leading Broodmare Sire. Her 2nd dam sire, Vice Regent, is a Canadian Hall of Famer as he was Canada’s leading sire for 13 years. He was also a full brother to Vice Regal, Canadian 2-year-old champion in 1968. Her third dam sire is the great Northern Dancer who was a Canadian juvenile champ as well. Angela Renee seems destined for longer distances but her win sprinting shows that she is of great quality.

Post 4: Take Charge Brandi: (5-1): Take Charge Brandi is very professional and possesses a lot of speed. In her MSW win she won be 2 1/2 length in a hand ride. She then moved to stakes company last month in The G3 Schuylerville at Saratoga where she broke for the lead and was soon joined by Fashion Alert, the 1-5 favorite. They ran side by side throughout the race with Fashion Alert finally nudging away by the wire to win by 1 1/2 lengths. They both were well ahead of the 3rd place finisher. In this race she showed heart and a true determination to win-something her dad Giant’s Causeway showed during his racing career as well. Giant’s Causeway had 9 victories and 4 seconds out of 13 starts, ranging from 6 to 10.4 furlongs. He won a Group 1 and Group 2 race in Europe as a juvenile. He was the leading sire in North America in 2009-2010 and 2012 and has sired 28 Grade/Group 1 winners. Not only was he a G1 winner at two but he has also been a very solid sire of 2-year-olds as well. So was his dad, Storm Cat, who was known to sire precocious, speedy 2-year-olds on dirt who started out winning quickly in their careers. Storm Cat was a long standing leading sire in North America, including the top one in 2000-2001. Her 3rd sire, Storm Bird, was the top rated European 2-year-old and Timeform top rated two-year-old in 1980. He ran at sprint distances. He too was a very fine sire. So as you can see Take Charge Brandi has a sire line that produces a bucket load of 2-year-old winners who also raced nicely at two as well. Take Charge Brandi is out of the winning mare Charming who sold at the Keenland 2006 auction for 3.2 million dollars. She is a half-sister to Will Take Charge and the daughter of Take Charge Lady. Take Charge lad earned close to 2.5 million dollars on the track and was honored this past year as KTOBA Broodmare of the Year. Take Charge Brandi is part of family number 22 that includes Mill Reef who ranks #4 in the 20th Centuries top European racehorses. Her female family is very regal as seen. Her dam sire is Seeking the Gold. On the track he showed his best form as a three year old and earned over 2 million dollars. He also won at a 1 1/4 miles. He was a great sire who had 85 stakes winners including 18 Grade One Winners. He produced 2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly winners as well as Belmont winner Jazil. Her 2nd dam sire is the great Mr. Prospector who produced a sire line filled with classic stamina. Her third dam sire is Raise a Native who was a champion 2 year old sprinter but who also sired many classic distance horses. This dam sire line shows a penchant for Take Charge Brandi to be able to handle longer distances.

Post 5: Cavorting (7-2) Cavorting broke her maiden in fine fashion at Belmont in a 6F MSW where she broke from the gate and never looked back while winnig by 11 lengths. She is by Bernardini so go to Angela Renee to see my write up on her sire line. Her dam, Promenade Girl won a Grade 2 race and earned close to $700,000 on the race track. Cavorting is her second winner out of 3 starters. Her granddam Promenade Colony is a half-sister to stakes winner Datts Awesome. Her 3rd dam Dance Review is a Blue Hen Mare who produced 3 GSW. Cavorting’s 4th dam and 5th dams, Dumfries and Goofed (dam of G1 Winner and leading sire Lyphard), are Reines De Course mares. Cavorting has a family of mares that are loaded with great genes that ought to have been passed along to her. Cavorting’s first dam sire is Carson City who won a G@ as 2 year old. He was nold winners as a sire as well. Her 2nd dam sire is Mr. Prospector, who is one of the most influential dirt sires ever and had speed to burn on the race track. Her 3rd dam sire, Raise a Native, was a champion 2 year old in 1963 and broke 3 sprint records at Aqueduct that year. By looking at Cavorting’s dam sires you can see why she showed an affinity for speed her first time out.

Post 6 Vivian Da Bling (4-1): This Louisiana bred filly has won 2 races at Lone star by a combined 15 lengths, both at 5 furlongs and on the front end. She is very speedy like a ton of horses you’ll see coming out of Texas. Her sire is Too Much Bling. He is an Ohio Bred who was a Grade 2 winning sprinter and earned over $500,000 on the track. As a sire he’s been able to get 2 year old winners at a fine percentage at Lone Star Park. Her 2nd sire is Rubiano who was a champion sprinter in 1992 and sired 21 stakes winners. Her third sire is Fappiano. He was undefeated at four starts at age 2 and was a sire of sires. There is a lot of shorter distance speed here. Vivian Da Bling is out of Midnight Lightning who was stakes placed at Emerald Downs. Her third dam was stakes placed at Portland Meadows. Finally, her 4th dam Priss was the dam of 4 stakes winners. Not a ton of classy mares in her pedigree. Vivian Da Bling’s dam sire is Mountain Cat. He too was a sprinter who became the first horse to earn one million dollars during their 2-year-old campaign. As a sire he was capable of siring smart two-year-olds. Her 2nd dam sire, Storm Cat, sired speedy 2 year olds and her third dam sire Storm Bird was an Irish Champion 2 year old. By looking at her pedigree I see speed bred to speed so you are looking at one fast filly on the track.

Post 7 Empressive Humor (8-1): This filly won her 5F MSW $83,000 by a neck at Saratoga, closing from 2 lengths back and dueling down the stretch for a determined win. Her sire is Distorted Humor. He was a miler who did not win at 2 but was very fast. He set a 7F stakes record at Keenland in The Commonwealth Breeders’ Cup Stakes at 5. As a sire he is very strong with 2 year olds as well as being a great sire in general. He is another horse I’ve talked about whose offspring have a strong will to win. Her 2nd sire is Forty Niner who was The Eclipse Champion 2 year old male in 1987.  He was leading freshman sire in 1992 and in 2009, grandson Twin Sparks set a new world record for six furlongs on dirt. Her 3rd sire, Mr. Prospector, also passes along brilliant speed to Empressive Humor. Looking at her distaff family, she is out of Empressive Lady who was a G3 placed turf sprinter. Her granddam was stakes placed and her 4th dam, Fiesta Libre, was G1 placed and produced 7 winners. You can see a bit of class he her family. Her dam sire, Empire Maker, was a Belmont winner who did not do much at 2. A few of his star offspring, Bodemeister and Royal Delta, were late to the game as well but could carry their speed far. Empressive Humor’s 2nd dam sire, Unbridled, placed in all of his 6 starts at 2. He was The Eclipse Champion 3 year old in 1990 and has sired many horses who could run long distances. Her 3rd dam sire, Fappiano, was the grand sire of both Real Quiet and Victory Gallop who won all three Triple Crown races in 1998. By looking at Empressive Humor’s pedigree it seems to be a nice blend of speed on top and stamina below so she will be interesting to watch develop as time goes on.

2014 G2 Adirondack Stakes Race Analysis:

All of these fillies will be running their furthest races and I don’t see distance being a problem although some may prefer the stretch out more than others. I see 3 horses going out for the lead: Take Charge Brandi,5 Cavorting, and Vivian Da Bling. The 2 Phoenix Park and Empressive Humor will not be far behind. Angela Renee should sit a few lengths back with 1 Wonder Gal trailing the field. I can see the pace being swift with the top 4 horses pressing for the lead. The 5 Cavorting had an very easy trip first out and I have a feeling this pace pressure will get the better of her going down the stretch. I feel she needs this race and may not have enough stamina in her pedigree to stay the trip. The 6 Vivian Da Bling has a ton of speed but may also tire in the home stretch. She has also been racing against lesser company and this will be a big step up in class. Don’t see it. I feel for Phoenix Park that this is a step up in class from running at Parx and is a stepping stone race for races to come. Getting Castellano helps but she also appeared to be a bit green her first one out. The 7Empressive Humor does have a decent enough pedigree and does fit if the pace becomes extremely hot. Her maiden win was not overly impressive and jockey Rosie Napravnik leaves to ride the 6. Wonder Gal is very intriguing. She is a Tiz Wonderful who sits back before attacking. She only won her race in a five horse field though and they were NY State Breds. I think she has the potential to win big here but I just see her in the money. She has a tricky post for one who breaks and likes to sit back. The 3Angela Renee should sit a nice trip and was very professional in her maiden win. Pletcher has won this race 3 times and this charge beat a solid group of 8 fillies in her debut. I expect her there at the end, but my winner is 4Take Charge Brandi. You have to be able to get by her low Beyer numbers to like her in this spot and I can. She has looked ultra-impressive in her first 2 starts, especially battling with the extremely talented Fashion Alert. Extremely professional. She has Graded Stakes experience and I feel she needed her last race because her first one was done with such ease. Her pedigree says she’ll get better with added distance and I just feel she will carry her speed around the track for the victory.

Image: Sanna DullawayColorization of Broadway in Saratoga Springs, New York, ca 1915. Copyright 2012.