Trainer Michael McCarthy has endured a break-out season in 2018. The former Todd Pletcher assistant went out on his own a few years back and has never amassed success like he has in this season.
VIBRANCE draws the rail for the $300,000 Starlet Stakes (G1) at Los Alamitos on Saturday and I think that the two-year-old filly will make it nine graded scores for her conditioner.
The Starlet drew just six but it is quite a field. Two-year-old wizard Bob Baffert will be double-fisted with Rags to Riches Stakes queen Mother Mother and dual stakes heroine Chasing Yesterday, who is a half-sister to Triple Crown hero American Pharoah.
But this race is all about Vibrance for me.
The McCarthy pupil didn’t show a whole lot on debut on the green but has shown vast improvement since transferring to the dirt. Following a facile maiden tally second time out, the Violence filly has finished second best in the Chandelier Stakes (G1) and third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).
Louisiana-bred bay posted a 96 BRIS Sped figure at Churchill Downs in what was a fine Juvenile Fillies field. And her nearest foe was more than three lengths in arrears. Versatile lass possesses natural speed but is also capable of running from off the pace as I expect today.
With speed directly outside of her rail post slot, Vibrance will save ground early behind what will be a contested and healthy early tempo. Pilot Flavien Prat will be her fifth different rider from five races, though he looks like a very nice fit for a two-year-old with her style.
McCarthy has saddled graded winners on the dirt and turf, sprinting and going long, in 2018. It seems like the right time to add a two-year-old winner to that list.