An extremely detailed look at the sport’s 1:50 2-year-olds
By Philip and Jonathan Sporn
Back in April we did a retrospective of the 1:50 mile (full story here). Now that the stakes season is gearing up, here is a look at the elite 2-year-olds – 54 youngsters that have cracked the 1:50 or faster barrier. This list and the associated table are correct as of Sept. 15, 2021.
1998 STARTED THE BALL ROLLING
Since BADLANDS HANOVER achieved the first 1:50 mark — back in 1998 — a select group of 54 pacers are now in the 1:50 club, responsible for 71 individual magic miles. After Badlands Hanover, the record was reduced in 2004 by ROCKNROLL HANOVER (1:49.4); SOMEBEACHSOMEWHERE (1:49.3 in 2007); SPORTSWRITER (1:49.2 in 2009); BIG JIM (1:49.1 in 2010); SWEET LOU (1:49) the following year; and his daughter WARRAWEE UBEAUT (1:48.3) seven years later, in 2018. Her stablemate ELVER HANOVER equaled that mark in 2019, as did the newest member of the club, CAVIART CAMDEN in 2021.
A VERY GOOD YEAR
Of the 54 pacers, CAPTAINTREACHEROUS (2012) and PERFECT STING (2020) are tied for most 1:50 miles in a season, both with four. HUNTSVILLE (2016) is next with 3, followed by an 8-way logjam of A ROCKNROLL DANCE (2011), SWEET LOU (2011), HE’S WATCHING (2013), SOMESTARSOMEWHERE (2013), DOWNBYTHESEASIDE (2016), CAPT MIDNIGHT (2019), TALL DARK STRANGER (2019), SOUTHWIND GENDRY (2020) and FULFULLNMYDESTINY (2021), all with a pair of 1:50 efforts.
HONOR THY FATHER
In terms of sires, nine of the 1:50 2-year-olds are by SOMEBEACHSOMEWHERE, followed by CAPTAINTREACHEROUS (7), WESTERN IDEAL and ART MAJOR (5), AMERICAN IDEAL (4), SWEET LOU (3), and ALWAYS B MIKI, YANKEE CRUISER, BETTOR’S DELIGHT and WESTERN HANOVER, all knotted at 2.
The leading drivers of distinct 2-year-old 1:50 performers are YANNICK GINGRAS (10), TIM TETRICK (7), DAVID MILLER (6), BRIAN SEARS (4), ANDREW MCCARTHY, RON PIERCE and MATT KAKALEY (3), and DAVE PALONE, JOHN CAMPBELL and JODY JAMIESON, all with a pair of 1:50 credits.
In terms of conditioners, RON BURKE (8) holds a comfortable lead over TONY ALAGNA (5) and NANCY TAKTER (4), followed by RAY SCHNITTKER, BRIAN BROWN and BRETT PELLING (3), and a tie with two credits for JOE HOLLOWAY, DAVID MENARY, ERV MILLER and CHRIS OAKES.
TWO DAM GOOD (PRODUCERS)
An exclusive group of TWO broodmares have multiple 1:50 credits. The American Ideal mare IT WAS FASCINATION’s son CAPTAIN TREVOR captured the International Stallion Stakes in Lexington in 1:49.2 in 2018, and the following year, her kid CAPT MIDNIGHT won the final of the Dream Maker Series in 1:49.4 at Woodbine-Mohawk. Both colts were trained by Tony Alagna.
The other broodmare to produce a pair of 1:50 juveniles is the Apaches Fame mare GREAT MEMORIES. She turned the trick first in 2011 with WARRAWEE NEEDY (by E Dee’s Cam) when he captured an Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final at Woodbine in 1:49.4. Then, in 2018, her daughter (by Sweet Lou) scorched the oval at Lexington in 1:48.3, winning the International Stallion Stakes.
THEY DON’T COME CHEAP
Looking at the 54 pacers by yearling sale price, the most expensive was CAPT MIDNIGHT ($350,000), followed by TALL DARK STRANGER at $330,000, CAPTAINTREACHEROUS ($250,000) and WESTERN SHOOTER ($205,000).
BUT SOME DO!
At the other end of the spectrum, HE’S WATCHING was a mere $3,000 yearling buy. Other “four-figure” yearlings were ALL BETS OFF ($7,000), WESTERN VINTAGE ($7,000) and IN THE ARSENAL ($7,500).
ADD TO CART
Almost 50 per cent of the 1:50 yearlings (26) were sold at Harrisburg, while 13 were sold at the Lexington Select sale. Single yearlings were plucked from Tattersalls, Forest City, Canadian Yearling and Ohio Jug sale, while 11 were not sold at public auction.
THEY GROW UP SO FAST!
Here’s a stat you’ve never seen. While all horses have Jan. 1 as their official birthday, who is the youngest 2YO to win in 1:50? Using their actual foaling date vs. the date of their 1:50 or faster win, HE’S WATCHING is the youngest…TWICE. A foal of June 13, 2011, his first 1:50 mile was August 9, 2013, making him a mere two years, one month and 27 days old when he won in 1:50f in a NYSS at Tioga Downs, lowering Rock N Roll Heaven’s world record by two ticks. When he won in 1:50 at Vernon Downs (another track record) on Aug. 31, he was a more “mature” two years, two months, and 18 days old. Those are the two youngest performances ever by a 2-year-old.
After HE’S WATCHING, other precocious youngsters are SOMEBEACHSOMEWHERE and CAPT MIDNIGHT (two years, three months, seven days), PQ THREE (two years, three months, 14 days), PERFECT STING, LYONS SENTINEL and FULFULLNMYDESTINY (two years, four months, seven days), and SOMESTARSOMEWHERE (two years, four months, eight days).
On the other side of the spectrum, the “oldest” 1:50 2-year-old performer is JK FIRST LADY, who won the $411,000 Three Diamonds Pace on November 23, 2019, at the ripe old age of two years, nine months and 26 days.
While almost all the 1:50 2-year-old miles have been on large ovals, eight have been on a 5/8 mile track, the first by ONE MORE LAUGH in 2009 was at Chester Downs, and, most recently, SOUTHWIND GENDRY (2020) was at Dover Downs. Only HE’S WATCHING (2013), SOMESTARSOMEWHERE (2013), HUNTSVILLE (2016) and SOUTHWIND GENTRY (2020) have won in 1:50 or faster on both mile and 5/8 mile tracks. Even more impressive is that only one 2-year-old — DOWNBYTHESEASIDE – has won in 1:50h as a 2-year-old – in 2016, and then three weeks later, he equaled the mile track world record (1:49) at Lexington.
SUPPLEMENTAL ENTRIES NOW BEING TAKEN
Already in 2021, a pair of 2-year-olds have joined the 1:50 club. On Aug. 24, CAVIART CAMDEN streaked over the Red Mile in 1:48.3 to lower the colt record (and equal the gelding record). For those keeping score, he’s a son of HUNTSVILLE, trained by TONY ALAGNA (his fifth 1:50 2YO) and driven by YANNICK GINGRAS (his 10th different 1:50 juvenile drive).
Not to be outdone, on Friday, Aug. 27, FULFULLNMYDESTINY became a member of the club, winning an Indiana Sires Stakes event at Hoosier Park in 1:50, the first such mile in track history. He lowered that record two weeks later (1:49.2), also at Hoosier Park. A gelded son of TELLITLIKEITIS, he is trained and driven by JAMES YODER. He joins fellow geldings SHEER DESIRE, ONE MORE LAUGH, FEEL LIKE A FOOL, PQ THREE, LIMELIGHT BEACH, DRAGNET ALERT, NO MAS AMOR, ELVER HANOVER and FREEDOM WARRIOR and SOUTHWIND GENDRY on the 1:50 list.
So that’s the story of the elite 2YOs to date…. 54 of them so far, with more to follow in the coming months and years.