Drafted wins his Keeneland debut April 27

Drafted wins his Keeneland debut April 27

Coady Photography/Keeneland

Maiden Winners Look to Break Out in Best Pal

Six 2-year-old males entered have taken varying paths to the grade II race.

Six 2-year-old males have been entered for the $200,000 Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) Aug. 10 at Del Mar, and every one has taken a different path to their first graded stakes try.

Only one of the entrants, Rockingham Ranch's Big League, enters without a loss. The Speightstown  colt tipped trainer Peter Miller's hand before his standout debut—a 3 1/4-lenth victory at Del Mar July 30—with a trio of bullet works out of the gate at San Luis Rey Training Center leading into the race, and did not disappoint. He dueled for the lead and pulled away with ease to win the 5 1/2-furlong event under a hand ride by jockey Norberto Arroyo, Jr.

Others have more experience and just as impressive maiden victories. Just to Big League's inside in post 5 is Kaleem Shah's Klimt , a Quality Road  colt trained by Bob Baffert. Klimt finished an even fourth as the 9-5 favorite in his June debut at Santa Anita Park, but took a sizeable step forward in his next start at the Arcadia, Calif., racetrack. In his second try, Klimt took a 5 1/2-furlong event by 5 1/4 lengths.

Another colt who thrived in his second attempt is Kentucky shipper Thirstforlife. The Mark Casse-trained son of Stay Thirsty  debuted in the Kentucky Juvenile Stakes and finished third, then stalked and pounced to win a five-furlong maiden special weight event at Churchill Downs by 6 1/2 lengths in June.

Also shipping in from the East is Godolphin's Drafted, who broke his maiden by 2 3/4 lengths in his debut on the dirt at Keeneland in April, then shipped to England and ran 17th in the Windsor Castle Stakes on soft turf at Royal Ascot in June. The ridgling is a son of Field Commission  trained by Eoin Harty.

On the inside are two California-based starters with stakes experience from the barn of Doug O'Neill. Secret House, a Tiznow  colt, broke his maiden at Santa Anita in May and ran second in the Santa Anita Juvenile July 9. Rinse and Repeat, a son of Square Eddie , earned a stakes placing as a maiden in the July 3 Everett Nevin Stakes at Pleasanton, then broke through in a five-furlong maiden special weight event at Del Mar July 16.

Entries: Best Pal S. (G2)

Del Mar, Saturday, August 13, 2016, Race 8

  • Grade II
  • 6 1/2f
  • Dirt
  • $200,000
  • 2 yo
  • 5:33 PM (local)
11Secret House (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateSantiago Gonzalez120Doug F. O'Neill12/1
22Rinse and Repeat (CA)Mario Gutierrez120Doug F. O'Neill5/1
33Drafted (FL)Gary L. Stevens118Eoin G. Harty15/1
44Thirstforlife (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJoseph Talamo118Mark E. Casse5/2
55Klimt (KY)Rafael Bejarano120Bob Baffert9/5
66Big League (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateNorberto Arroyo, Jr.120Peter Miller2/1