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The first half of the racing season is officially over, but this summer of racing is shaping up to be loaded with potential rising stars. With California Chrome presumably not returning until the fall, there will be several other three year olds that will now have a chance at the spotlight. Here are five three year olds that we think will dominate the headlines during the summer months of racing…
1. Shared Belief – The Two Year Old Horse of the Year finally made his three year old debut and was dazzling in a Golden Gate Fields allowance race on May 26th. The win made him a perfect four for four, and nobody has even been close to him. So the whispers started right after the race…Shared Belief vs. California Chrome…who would win? It’s fun to think about, but first Shared Belief must prove he can stay healthy. His feet were a major problem when he trained over the dirt track at Santa Anita, which could mean the horse may not be able to take to the dirt all that well. Also, his two works since his race haven’t been near as fast as what he was running leading up to the race, which could signal that the race took a little out of him. As of now he’s pointed towards the first ever Los Alamitos Derby, and then you’d have to think Del Mar will be in his future.
2. Untabable – She was the buzz horse for about a day, then California Chrome stole the spotlight. Now she has her chance to take center stage starting with the Mother Goose on June 28th. If she wins that one (how can she not) the talk of facing the boys will surely start to pop up. A race like the Haskell or Jim Dandy would come at the right time for her to try the boys, and she would most likely go off as the favorite for either one of those events. Another possibility is to face her own division, and step up against the older fillies later on in the summer/fall. She clearly can’t be stopped by the other three year old fillies, but a match up with Close Hatches or Princess of Sylmar might be a completely different story. Either way there are plenty of options for her, and we fully expect her to make an impact wherever she runs.
3. Tonalist – The Belmont Stakes winner finally got over his set backs, and showed just how good he could be. His win in the Peter Pan proved he had talent, and his Belmont win proved he had guts. The mile and a half was probably not his best distance, so we look for him to actually improve quite a bit when he shortens up next time out. When looking at the current East Coast three year olds…can anyone give his horse a challenge? So many of the better ones are on the shelf with injuries, while others may take the summer off. A Jim Dandy/Travers sweep is possible for Tonalist, and could set him up for an outside chance at three year old horse of the year if he could accomplish that feat.
4. Bobby’s Kitten – His win in the Penn Mile Stakes last time out was a signal that he has improved and turf will be the only thing on his schedule from here on out. It’s tough in the winter/spring for a horse like Bobby’s Kitten with the lack of turf races, but he should thrive this summer as Saratoga and Arlington both offer opportunities on the big stage. His main rival could end up being Medal Count, who was third in the Belmont Stakes and looks like he could be better on the grass. Either way, Bobby’s Kitten finally showed his full talents when spotted correctly, and should be ready for a bigger and better things.
5. Bayern – After trying desperately for the horse to go long Baffert finally spotted Bayern in the perfect spot in the Woody Stephens, and it was a ROMP! With several sprint races for three year olds at Saratoga, it’s tough seeing anyone match up with this guy. However, immediately after the race there were talks about him being pointed towards the two turn Haskell, which would be a curious move. If he ran in that one and came out of the race ok, would there be a better cut back in distance angle than Bayern in the Kings Bishop? We say no! Keep him sprinting Bob…
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