A pair of stakes races for two-year-olds will take place on Saturday at Churchill Downs. The $125,000 Bashford Manor (G3) is for the boys, while the fillies will compete in the $125,000 Debutante. While they only ran in maiden events, we witnessed two youngsters over the weekend that would have been formidable foes in the upcoming stakes races.
In the 1ST Race on Friday, Frank Fletcher’s homebred FRANK’S ROCKETTE put on quite a show for conditioner Bill Mott. The daughter of Into Mischief went postward as the 5-2 favorite in a cast of well-bred fillies and left little doubt who was best.
The bay broke alertly and tracked the pace while in close range early on. Given her cue by jockey Julien Leparoux nearing the turn for home, Frank’s Rockette was on level terms at the top of the stretch and demolished her foes late to the tune of an 8 3/4-length waltz. The Kentucky-bred earned a strong 93 BRIS Speed figure for her work, and she could be a force in the two-year-old division this campaign with expected growth.
Frank’s Rockette is from the same female line as the routinely brilliant Indian Blessing. The two-time champion notched five Grade 1 victories and retired with a 16-10-5-0, $2,995,420 career line.
A two-year-old colt was unveiled in the 2ND Race on Sunday beneath the Twin Spires from the barn of Tom Amoss. The Kentucky-bred LONG WEEKEND was sent off at 8-5 in his debut, and the son of Majesticperfection gave his rivals little chance.
Breaking best beneath Miguel Mena, Long Weekend was two lengths clear at the first call, four lengths best at the top of the lane, and then cruised home a most facile winner. The bay colt registered a solid 81 BRIS Speed figure, but he had plenty left in the tank late and his conditioner spoke very fondly of him prior to his debut performance.
Long Weekend is bred to be a dynamic one, too. His dam, the stakes-placed Liza Too, counts herself as a half-sister to a pair of Grade-1 winning sprinters. Paulasilverlining made good in the 2017 Humana Distaff (G1) and Madison (G1), while Dads Caps took the 2014 and 2015 editions of the Carter H. (G1).
It is obviously too early to predict what each of these impressive juveniles will evolve into. But they are in the right hands to make their presence felt in 2019 and beyond. Don’t take either of this duo lightly when they face stakes foes in their next assignments.
Frank’s Rockette (c) Coady Photography