Saturday marks the graded stakes debuts of Ever So Clever and Thirstforlife, a pair of impressive 2-year-old maiden winners at Churchill Downs. Ever So Clever is among six runners in the $200,000 Adirondack (G2) at Saratoga and Thirstforlife faces five foes in the $200,000 Best Pal (G2) at Del Mar.
They’ll be trying to follow the exploits of Bitumen and Classic Empire, a couple of notable juvenile maiden winners during the sprint meet who have already captured graded stakes this summer.
A daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, sire of 2009 Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner and recently inducted Hall of Famer Rachel Alexandra, Ever So Clever overcame a slow start to score in breathtaking fashion when making her career debut on July 1, rolling to a 7 ¼-length victory in the 6-furlong maiden special weight under the Twin Spires.
The dark bay filly will receive a rider switch to John Velazquez and the Steve Asmussen-trained Ever So Clever will break from the far outside post in the 6 ½-furlong Adirondack. She’s listed as 5-2 second choice on the morning line.
Trainer Mark Casse has a deep roster of 2-year-olds, including Bashford Manor (G3) victor Classic Empire, and Thirstforlife appears capable of distinguishing himself. From the first crop of Stay Thirsty, the well-bred colt hails from the Grade 2-winning dam Promenade Girl, making him a half-brother to multiple Grade 1 winner Cavorting.
Thirstforlife made his first start in the May 5 Kentucky Juvenile but lost all chance when going to his knees at the break, spotting rivals more than 10 lengths during the early stages before closing with a rush for third. He turned in a smashing performance a month later, winning as pleased in a 6 ¼-length decision at Churchill.
With Classic Empire based in New York presently, and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) being run at Santa Anita this fall, Thirstforlife headed west for his initial stakes appearance. The exciting chestnut picks up jockey Joe Talamo and was installed as the 5-2 third choice in the 6 ½-furlong Best Pal.
I’m looking forward to seeing Ever So Clever and Thirstforlife run this weekend.