Sunday, December 9, 2012

Three 3-Year-Olds to Watch in the New Year



As the race season comes to a close, the group of 3-year-olds returning for their 4-year-old season is looking more promising than it did only a few months ago. Three colts from this group have caught the attention of All Equine All the Time due to their various performances on the track and potential to come back even better next year. So without farther ado, here are three colts that the blog will be keeping an eye on in 2013.

Nonios (Pleasantly Perfect x Stylish Manner- Touch Gold)- Nonios has come a long way in the 10 months since he broke his maiden in his first out on February 11th, 2012. Nonios crept his way into the spotlight by winning the Affirmed Handicap (gr. III) in his fourth start, beating Liaison then finishing second in the Swaps Stakes (gr. II) on the Fourth of July behind Blueskiesnrainbows. However, the attention was really turned towards the colt after he finished second in the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) behind Paynter. 

Nonios has only been off the board twice, in the Travers (gr. I) and the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I). Nonios has shown that he may be one of the best, if not the best 3-year-olds on the west coast, finishing second behind Game On Dude, one of the best older horses in the country, twice as well.
 
This year, Nonios has made 10 starts with a record of 3-4-1 for $459,000, racing almost every month since his debut. Nonios’ sire Pleasantly Perfect also shows that Nonios could develop into a really nice older horse as Pleasantly Perfect only made one start as a 3-year-old and didn’t start showing his true talent until late in his 4-year-old year.

Nonios’ last race in the Native Diver (gr. III) against Game On Dude was almost certainly his best, as the colt gamely fought Game On Dude in the stretch before losing by 1 1/4 lengths. If Nonios continues to improve with more seasoning, he will be a major threat in the Older Horse division.


Stephanoatsee (A.P. Indy x Oatsee – Unbridled) – Oatsee’s most famous son may be hitting the shed in 2013 but his little brother is preparing to take the reins on the track. Stephanoatsee is lightly raced with eight starts since his debut in September of 2011 but has shown some real promise in his performances.

Stephanoatsee came close to getting a stakes victory in January when he finished second to Alpha in the Count Fleet Stakes but it took him until the Barbaro Stakes in October to get a stakes win on his resume. In his last start, Stephanoatsee finished third in the Discovery Handicap (gr. III) behind Called to Serve and Willy Beamin. 

A.P. Indy’s influence gives the impression that he should want to run longer and over his last few races, he has shown that he has matured in leaps and bounds. Stephanoatsee was away from the races from early January to August 15th and the break seemed to do him good. While he didn’t have the 3-year-old success like Mucho Macho Man, Stephanoatsee reminds me of him in the way that he has come into himself in recent months.

With his stacked pedigree and his progression on the track, it wouldn't be a surprise if Stephanoatsee gained another gear in 2013.

Take Charge Indy (A.P. Indy x Take Charge Lady – Dehere) - Take Charge Indy showed promise when he broke his maiden by 6 1/2 lengths in July of 2011 but although he finished second in the Arlington-Washington Futurity (gr. II) in September of that year, he didn’t live up to expectations, finishing fifth behind the top three colts by over five lengths in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I). 

Take Charge Indy won his first stakes race in a big way in the Florida Derby (gr. I), leading wire to wire but some believed it was handed to him due to the trouble Union Rags ran into during the race. The colt was also a contender in the Kentucky Derby but he was hurt during the race, finishing 19th of 20. He had to have surgery due to the injury for a bone chip, which forced him to miss the summer races but like Stephanoatsee, he seemed to come back better from the break. In his two starts since the surgery, he has finished third in the Fayette Stakes (gr. II)  and second in the Clark Handicap (gr. I). In both races, Take Charge Indy showed grit, sitting down and battling in the Fayette and only losing to Shackleford by a length in the Clark.

Take Charge Indy isn’t a horse that needs to mature to be a nice older horse. Instead, he is on this list as one to watch more due to the fact that he didn’t get a chance to prove himself this year. Like Nonios, Take Charge Indy will be a big threat to the Handicap division when he is back to full racing shape next year. With major races at tracks he has already proven to like, it will be no surprise if he adds more big wins to his resume next year.

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