This column highlights the performances of maidens who have made no more than five starts and who either sold for more than $500,000 at public auction, have siblings that are grade/group winners, or have dams that are grade/group winners. BloodHorse research shows maiden winners in particular who meet these criteria are more likely to go on to be graded stakes winners.
Wesley Ward’s Sense Shines won an off-the-turf, five-furlong maiden test for 2-year-olds at Belmont Park on debut May 29. The trainer, who is notorious for getting his young turf horses to the winner’s circle early on, is also the breeder and owner of the Flintshire gelding.
Under John Velazquez, Sense Shines was second at the three-sixteenths mark and moved up to take over the lead as a quarter-mile went in :22.03. Under steady urging, the gelding widened his margin on the lead and won by three lengths in a final time of :59.52 on a sealed, sloppy track.
Sense Shines is the second foal out of the Congaree mare Shrinking Violet . Ward bought the mare as a weanling at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale for $4,000 in 2010 and raced her to a record of 8-2-5 in 24 starts. She won three stakes, including the 2015 Monrovia Stakes (G2T), and placed in two other graded stakes.
Several late-blooming 3-year-olds came to the forefront this week. River Tiber , a full brother to grade/group 1 winners Hit It a Bomb and Brave Anna , won his third start May 27 while racing 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf at Churchill Downs.
River Tiber breaks his maiden at Churchill Downs
The War Front colt, also trained by Ward for Coolmore connections Michael Tabor, Susan Magnier, and Derrick Smith, had not raced since last summer when he placed fourth June 12 at Belmont and third July 26 at Saratoga Race Course.
In Thursday’s race, River Tiber raced in fifth under Tyler Gaffalione after being bumped at the start as the leader posted fractions of :23.03 and :47.48 through a half-mile. In the stretch River Tiber moved up when asked and passed the leader with ease despite being bumped again. He finished 1 3/4 lengths ahead in a final time of 1:05.67 on a good turf course.
On Saturday, Stonestreet Stables homebred Beau Liam won his debut impressively, taking a six-furlong test for 3-year-olds and up by 7 1/2 lengths for trainer Steve Asmussen.
The 3-year-old Liam’s Map colt raced in third and then second under Ricardo Santana Jr. as fractions went in :21.73 and :45.08 through a half-mile. Rolling through the turn, Beau Liam opened up by five lengths ahead in the stretch, widening that margin to the wire. The final time was 1:08.62 on fast track.
|5/26||Ind||2||Happy Camper||Paynter||Miz Ida||Dam is a G3 winner|
|5/26||Ind||6||Amani’s Lioness||Tapit||Amani||Dam is a G1 winner|
|5/27||CD||8||River Tiber||War Front||Liscanna||Full brother to G1 winners Hit It a Bomb and Brave Anna; $500K yearling|
|5/29||Bel||1||Sense Shines*||Flintshire||Shrinking Violet||Dam is a G2 winner|
|5/29||CD||3||Beau Liam||Liam’s Map||Belle of Perintown||Dam is a G2 winner; half brother to G3 winner Strike It Rich|
|5/29||CT||8||Buzzhound||Imagining||Parlez||Half brother to G2 winner International Star|