Woodford Turf Classic (Grade 1)- $500.000 Purse
CD- For Four Year Olds and Upward
One Mile and One Eighth on the Turf
May 2, 2015
In the lead up to the big race, some of the best turf horses in the game will also have their chance to showcase their talent at CD. The Woodford Turf Classic is a highly regarded race that will be run for the twelfth time, and has seen many big winners. Now, if you’re looking for Bronze Sabre on the past winners list, you will be disappointed, but we do have his primary rival on it, Charming Behrens, a $4,000.000-plus winner for his career that took the race in 2010. The most notable winner has to be Grady, as after all, he won it twice. The late autogen gelding won the race in 2007 and 2009 for Unreal Racing, en route to $5,636.190 in career earnings. This year we’ll see the same trend. The BC Turf winner, Ashkalani? Well, he’s not here, having recently opted for the Grade 2 Elkhorn. However many other challengers to him that day are, such as Stormy Kg and Spanish Showboat, but certainly not limited to them. This is still a star-studded field, one worthy of taking place a couple races prior to the KYD. Let us meet the great eight that go to the gate.
#1- Pip Cozzene (Chili King Stables, ridden by D Van Dyke)- Last year, Chili King Stables experienced victory in this race with a foal by Pip Boy. Then it was Pip Bull, and now he will be hoping it is Pip Cozzene. This gelding had a fantastic stretch in the middle of 2014, where he was winning just about every other race he was entered in. Included in that was a win in the G2 DMR Derby in August. He has maintained that good form into 2015, taking the CA Cup Classic ($250.00 Purse) in January over the likes of Stormy Kg and Eve of Destruction. The trainer will also be glad to know there is only a 20% chance of rain on Saturday, as it does seem as though Pip Cozzene must have firm turf to be at his best. Expect him to run a good one here.
#2- Carnage (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by J Leparoux)- This six year old horse was at his best during late 2013 when he won four out of five races, including a five-length rout in the 2013 McKnight Handicap (G3), as well at the Diarmida (G2). Since an attempt at the CT Classic in 2014, he has not quite been as effective, and his win in an open allowance on St. Patrick’s Day was his first since the Diarmida, snapping a ten-race winless stretch. D J C Racing Stables will be hoping that win can restore his confidence and he can put together a big race here. It will be tough to pick him over some of the others here, as he has recently gone up against both Stormy Kg and Spanish Showboat and was several lengths back. Do not entirely count him out, though.
#3- Short Dog (Maverick Racing, ridden by S X Bridgmohan)- The most surprising entry in the field as Maverick Racing puts his talented filly into the race to run against the boys, something that she has done once in her career (the TAM Derby back in 2014, where she was third). Short Dog made an immediate name for herself early in her career with an amazing two year old campaign that saw her win the BC Juvenile Fillies. In February 2014, was shipped off to Maverick Racing for the high price of $1,501.000, which got a lot of trainers talking at the time as to whether or not the investment would pay off. Well, it has been over a year now and only recently has Short Dog begun to pay dividends, winning her first three races of 2015. It started with an open allowance on New Year’s Day, then continued with a SSM F/M turf win sixteen days later, then a win in the G3 Bayakoa in February. She almost extended the streak to four in her most recent race, the Grade 2 Santa Ana Stakes, where she was second. It adds another storyline to watch in this race, so let’s see how she does.
#4- Skipping Stone (Night Rider Stables, ridden by R Maragh)- This four year old gelding had a fantastic stretch once he won an allowance race at DMR at the end of the November. Though he always had shown good form, it was then where Night Rider began to see that he had something special on his hands. His first try in a graded stake went to perfection in the Grade 2 San Gabriel Stakes, as he pulled off a win beating the likes of Bald and Beautiful. Just in case you thought that might be a fluke, he followed it up with a strong second in the Grade 2 San Marcos in February at SA, missing winner Spanish Showboat by less then a length. Something then went awry in his last start, finishing up the track in the Grade 2 Muniz Memorial Handicap. Perhaps there is a reason for that, but he needs to have a bounce back race here off that. He doesn’t necessarily have to win, but he will have to run well.
#5- Breiterate (Sanny Village, ridden by R Albarado)- Became an instant star once Sanny Village opted to geld the colt in August of 2013, paying immediate dividends in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes. For as good as he was that day and has been since, it may come as a surprise that Breiterate has only won once since, and even that was over a year ago. In his last nine starts, he has three seconds and a third as he continues to race at the highest of levels. Despite the lack of wins, he shows great consistency in his SRF figures, which are generally in the upper 90’s or cracking triple digits. Those 101’s have come at exactly this nine furlong distance. He really seems due to finally get back to the winner circle, and things may very well work out for him in this field. I like his chances to snap that winless streak.
#6- Moms Guy (Yahudi Stables, ridden by J Talamo)- You really only need to look at one past race when it comes to Moms Guy. This had been a horse who did not do much of anything before being auctioned off to Yahudi Stables in September for $40.010, and the results were not immediate for the new connections either. But then came an impressive win at ten furlongs in a SA optional claimer that sent Moms Guy to the Grade 2 Muniz Memorial Handicap. He was a long shot, but it didn’t matter. Running against Skipping Stone and Breiterate, as well as others not in this race such as the talented Sri Lanka, it was Moms Guy that came out on top. In the win, he earned a 102 SRF figure. He’s working just as well now as he was then, and there is no reason he can not duplicate that performance and make such a performance a regular occurrence.
#7- Stormy Kg (Running Farms, ridden by R Bejarano)- I was very surprised to see that a horse of Stormy Kg’s caliber was sold for what seems to be a bargain bin price for such a high quality runner. $150.000 is all it took for Barcelona Farms to send him to Running Farms just nine days ago. While the new connections waste no time putting him out on the track, you have to wonder if there is more that meets the eye to his sixth place finish in the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Stakes in his most recent start; and if such a concern prompted the sale. There isn’t much to be seen in the way of public works during 2015 to determine if there is a concern about him. Running Farms does not seem one bit concerned, and enters him right away so hopefully all is well.
#8- Spanish Showboat (Mb Stables, ridden by I Ortiz Jr)- It seems like only yesterday that Spanish Showboat appeared unstoppable. After a disappointing performance in the BC Turf, many still thought the Spanish Force gelding would bounce back and still be fine. Truth is, he has only won once since that race, in four starts. That in itself is not alarming, but his recent race is certainly a head scratcher. Going off as the large favorite in the G2 Pan American, Spanish Showboat failed to beat a single horse. The Woodford Turf Classic will be the shortest race he has run in since winning the Curlin at SAR in July of 2013. He needs a rebound race in a big way, but I am not certain that he can get that win he needs here.
Categories: Grade I