Seven-time Eclipse Award winner Todd Pletcher will wait until the upcoming Saratoga meet to unveil a large contingent of 2-year-olds, but the 2009 Kentucky Derby-winning trainer has already sent out some promising youngsters on the East Coast.
Silver Mission is the most notable and appears poised to make a major impact in juvenile stakes at the Spa. A gray colt by the multiple Grade 2-winning sire Mission Impazible, Silver Mission won at first asking at Aqueduct on April 21, scoring by about a length as the 1-5 favorite in a 4 ½-furlong maiden, and followed with a tour-de-force romp in the 5 ½-furlong Tremont at Belmont Park on June 10, leading wire to wire in a 6 ¼-length decision.
The New York-bred brings plenty of speed to the equation but Silver Mission is out of the Grade 3-winning Nashinda, a full-sister to Archers Bay, who captured the 1 ¼-mile Queen’s Plate in 1998.
Bronson provides Pletcher with another intriguing prospect. By Medaglia d’Oro, the gray colt won at first asking on June 18, drawing away to a 1 ¾-length decision as the odds-on choice in a 5-furlong maiden at Monmouth Park. Bronson is out of the multiple Grade 3-winning Cambiocorsa, a daughter of Avenue of Flags who has already produced three stakes winners, including Grade 2 turf stars Moulin De Mougin and Schiaparelli. The broodmare is also a full sister to 2009 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner California Flag.
Random Walk gives trainer Richard Violette Jr. something to look forward to. By 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, the $300,000 2-year-old purchase rolled to an eye-catching 5 ¾-length victory over maiden special weight foes at Belmont Park on June 3, registering an excellent 95 BRIS Speed rating at the 5 ½-furlong distance. Random Walk hails from the stakes-winning Lunargal, a half-sister to 2011 Preakness third-placer Astrology.
The Gary Contessa-trained Runaway Lute ran away and hid from state-bred rivals when making his debut at Belmont Park on May 28, spurting clear early en route to a 12-length decision at 5-furlong. The Midnight Lute colt netted a commendable 93 BRIS Speed and it will no surprise to see Runaway Lute step up to face open rivals at Saratoga.
Manifest Destiny also crushed New York-bred rivals at first asking, dominating by an 8 ¾-length margin at Belmont on June 17. Trained by Thomas Morley, the City Zip colt recorded a 90 BRIS Speed rating in the 5 ½-furlong test.
Other 2-year-old winners of interest in New York include Star Empire, who posted a 6 ½-length tally first-rime out for Wesley Ward at Belmont on May 19; and the Mark Casse-conditioned Tale of Two, who rallied from well off the pace to win going away by three lengths in the mud at Belmont May 5. However, both colts have been missing from the worktable since May.
We’ll continue to keep tabs on the 2-year-old performers.