by Angela Hermann
As the Festival of Champions approaches, we turn our attention to Minnesota-Bred two year olds. Though we haven’t seen all of the contenders hit the track yet, we’ve seen a few standouts break their maidens impressively. Here’s a glance at some of the names we’ll see September 4th:
• Bobble Doit – Barbara Rehbein’s homebred has not won yet, but the speedy son of Lucky Lionel has run two solid seconds thusfar. He has positional speed for regular pilot Dean Butler, but has yet to find that winning desire. Though not known for his prowess with two year olds, Bernell Rhone appears to have a nice one on his hands that will only get better with time.
• Heliskier – The blood is rich with young Heliskier, and the connections are some of the best we have with two year olds. Mac Robertson sent this son of Appealing Skier and Plana Dance out for his first race just last weekend, but he did not disappoint at 7/2. Showing tractability from the start, the big bay rated just off pacesetter Cheap Chocolate and took over when given his cue from Derek Bell. The talent certainly is there, and this should be your favorite if all goes according to plan.
• Private Warrior – Heliskier’s stablemate has not started yet, but has been working well for his debut. A keeneland peurchase by John Mentz, this son of A. P. Warrior appears ready to start in the coming weeks. Though the timing may be tight to get him to the Festival of Champions, he has been strong in the mornings. Mac certainly doesn’t rush his two year olds, but this one may just be talented enough to make the cut off one start.
• Speakfromyourheart – Another first-out winner from a strong two year old stable – And this one may be a price. Madam Speaker has thrown nothing but runners and this colt is no exception. We haven’t seen the son of Lion Heart since July 22nd, but that race looked like a good learning experience for him. Though he’d shown blazing speed in workouts, Speakfromyourheart sat patiently off the pace under Lori Keith and drew off convincingly in the stretch over Cheap Chocolate and Desert Prize. The hope here is that Vic Hanson’s gelding gets away from the crowd with Heliskier and Sun Country dominating the betting – But this is the horse to run down!
• Sun Country – We haven’t seen this Iowa-Based Richard runner yet, but with that meet ending the son of Sun King should head north to take on his own kind Festival Day. He’s raced twice in open stakes with little success, but took open maidens wire to wire in a nine length score on July 26th. Carrying the experience and speed with him, Sun Country should make life difficult for any colt that takes him on for the lead.
Comment if you think there’s an up-and-coming two year old I missed! Best of luck on Festival Day with these two year olds – We have a talented group on our hands.