Lynch barn loaded with two-year-old talent
El Areeb. Photo by Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club.
by Frank Vespe
If you have the impression that trainer Cal Lynch is sending out waves of talented two-year-olds, well, you’re right.
In fact, seven times in the last four months, Lynch-trained juveniles have scored in maiden special weight company. Twice in that period, his juvies have earned stakes victories.
And on Saturday, he outdid himself when two of his runners — El Areeb and Two Charley’s — filled the exacta in the $100,000 James F. Lewis, III Stakes at Laurel Park.
“I love babies. I love developing young horses,” Lynch said after the Lewis. “I think that’s the biggest challenge.”
Lynch says that the trick is “just being patient. You have to have owners that are willing to wait, willing to do the right thing by the horse.”
And he does.
“Most of my owners are breeders,” he continued with a chuckle. “They like the young horses, they like to develop horses. Being Irish, I like to take my time.”
Among those patient owners, he said, is Saudi Arabian-based M M G Stables, which dropped a cool $340,000 on El Areeb. They saw their charge record perhaps the most impressive effort of a day when Laurel Park carded seven stakes, including the Grade 3 De Francis Dash. El Areeb, with Trevor McCarthy in the irons, repulsed a bid from The Great Ronaldo nearing the quarter pole and drew off to a 5 1/4 length victory. El Areeb stopped the clock in 1:09.96 for six furlongs — more than two seconds faster than two-year-old fillies managed it two races earlier in the Smart Halo Stakes.
Some of Lynch’s two-year-olds were bred to be any kind. In addition to El Areeb, an Exchange Rate colt out of an A. P. Indy mare, for example, there’s Undulated, another purchased by M M G Stables. They paid $625,000 for the son of Curlin, who won at first asking in August before running second, by a nose, in the Laurel Futurity in September.
But not all of his successful juveniles come from the expensive side of the street. Clairvoyant Lady, the winner of Delaware Park’s White Clay Creek Stakes before running last in Saturday’s Smart Halo, cost just $35,000 at the Ocala Breeders Sales this past April. And Lewis runner-up Two Charley’s, by Hansel, went for just $30,000 at that same OBS sale.
Owner Charley Biggs “asked me if I liked Hansel,” Lynch recounted. “I said, ‘Yeah, you know what, I’ve watched a couple of them breeze, they always look good.’ He said, ‘Here’s the ticket.’ He’d already bought the horse. So we went to the bar and had a few beers, celebrated.”
On the day that his stablemate blitzed the field in the Lewis, Undulated breezed a half-mile in 49 seconds flat at Laurel Park. Lynch is pointing him to the $125,000 Swynford Stakes on the synthetic surface at Woodbine this coming Sunday.
As for El Areeb, a horse he describes as “halfway lazy,” Lynch is thinking nevertheless that the sky may be the limit.
“He was impressive today, but this isn’t a big surprise,” the trainer said. “He’s a special kind of horse. I’ve trained a lot of babies, and he’s a special kind. He’s scary good.”