We’ve now crossed into the portion of the summer when the top barns on the circuit will begin to unveil their most talented 2-year-olds. While there are some decent runners with experience, including Odie and Gump, this appears to be a race that features some live first-time starters. Given the potential quality of those newcomers, it’s conceivable that the winner of this race could show up next in stakes like the Sanford or Saratoga Special when racing moves upstate. The three first-time starters that are likely to attract the most attention are Lexitonian, Bankit, and Bernin’ Thru Gold.
Lexitonian (#1) is a Calumet Farm homebred son of Speightstown who has apparently been working forwardly up at Saratoga. While there is not much pedigree in his immediate female family, his second dam was Grade 1 Test winner Swap Fliparoo. Todd Pletcher is always dangerous in these situations, and this colt should be taken seriously.
Bankit (#2) is the most expensive auction purchase in the race off a 10 2/5 workout at the OBS Sale in March. While the time of that drill is not exceptional, he displayed a long, rhythmic stride that left a favorable visual impression. However, this horse has a significant turf pedigree on the bottom side of his pedigree, so I wonder if dirt will ultimately be his preferred surface.
I think the one that you want out of this trio is BERNIN’ THRU GOLD (#4). Mark Hennig is having a fantastic year with first-time starters. Over the past year, he is 7 for 16 (44 percent, $7.16 ROI) with first-time starters on the dirt, and 4 of those winners were 2-year-olds. Bernin’ Thru Gold worked a solid quarter-mile in 21 2/5 seconds at the March Fasig Tipton sale, and he sports the best dirt pedigree in the field. He’s a half-brother to stakes winner Mei Ling, and his dam is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Master Command. Furthermore, having viewed a couple of his recent workouts over the Belmont main track, it’s apparent that Bernin’ Thru Gold has real ability.
Exacta: 4 with 1,2,5,6
Trifecta: 4 with 1,2 with 1,2,3,5,6