American Graded Stakes Standings brought to you by Keeneland: Baby Talk

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New York’s two big Grade 1 races for juveniles are this Saturday–the Frizette for fillies and Champagne for colts–and Todd Pletcher holds a strong hand in both of these “baby” contests. That’s no surprise. Pletcher is thoroughly dominating the 2010 American Graded Stakes, with 24 individual horses taking 38 AGS races thus far. It may be something of a surprise, however, that he’s won only two of the 22 AGS races for juveniles–the Grade 1 Spinaway with R Heat Lightning and Grade 2 Adirondack with Position Limit.

Pletcher will have four of the nine fillies in the Frizette: R Heat Lightning, Sorority Stakes runner-up Maple Forest, maiden winner Tap for Luck and third-place Spinaway finisher Valiant Passion. He’s got two of the seven in the Champagne: the much hyped Uncle Mo, an Indian Charlie colt who  won a Saratoga maiden sprint by 14 1/4-lengths, and Stay Thirsty, second to Boys At Tosconova in the Grade 1 Hopeful at the Spa.

It’s doubtful any trainer has the depth of  2-year-old firepower that the Pletcher operation possesses. This is the time of year for them to start stepping up as the Breeders’ Cup approaches and we begin to sort out the leading contenders for next year’s 3-year-old classics.

Besides Pletcher, Rick Dutrow is the only other trainer to have two 2-year-old AGS winners in his barn. Boys At Tosconova is his big gun. Le Mi  Geaux won the Grade 3 Schuylerville. Neither is racing this weekend, though Dutrow will have Mountain Town, a colt he claimed out of a winning maiden race for $75,000 from Marylou Whitney and trainer Nick Zito, going in the Champagne.

Of the 19 2-year-old AGS winners, there are two repeat winners: the injured and retired Kantharos, who was trained by Steve Asmussen, and three-time AGS winner JP’s Gusto, who narrowly lost a fourth win for trainer David Hofmans when defeated by Jaycito in the Grade 1 Norfolk Stakes at the Oak Tree meeting at Hollywood Park.

The division championships, thus, are wide open, and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies will likely crown the those two divisional Eclipse Award winners.

One last note on the 2-year-old AGS winners: of the 19, 12 were bred in Kentucky, but five were foaled in Florida, which has long had the reputation for producing fast and precocious young horses. One AGS winner came from Virginia and one from Illinois.





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  • http://www.sctbrescue.org Caroline Betts

    “One last note on the 2-year-old AGS winners: of the 19, 12 were bred in Kentucky, but five were foaled in Florida, which has long had the reputation for producing fast and precocious young horses. One AGS winner came from Virginia and one from Illinois.”

    Would be nice to see what are the AGS winners by state as a % of state foal crop.

    Also what is the number and % AGS races for juveniles – I’ve forgotten the total # of AGS races already?

    Maybe you could add the total of AGS winners and wins at the bottom of each table, and in a separate column the % that each number represents of those totals since the tables only rank the very top few?

  • http://pedigreegroup.com Les

    Percentage would be rendered moot by size. The 12 2YO AGS winners in KY would be less than 1% and if the number was doubled, the percentage would still be less than 1%. The deal is tens of thousands of runners chasing approx 100 AGS wins. Pletcher’s 24 winners of 38 such races is astounding.

  • http://www.sctbrescue.org Caroline Betts

    I know that – doesn’t really matter how you normalize (e.g. set foal crop in Kentucky = 100, foal crop in Florida, Illinois etc. are relative to that), but the raw numbers are meaningless to me. It’s like trying to sell me something and telling me the price is 10. Ten what?

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