The MD Sprint Handicap (Grade 3)- $150.000 Purse
PIM- For Three Year Olds and Upward
Six Furlongs on the Dirt
May 16, 2015
For those older horses not wanting to race over a mile and wanting to be at PIM on PRK day, the place to be is the MD Sprint Handicap. This is six furlong race that will be run for the tenth time. When it debuted, there was a $200.000 purse, but that was cut in half after just two years. Then, finally in 2013, we got some of that back as the purse was increased to its current $150.000 level. The two biggest winners of the race are a familiar name and a blast from the past name. First, you have Blazing Angel, winner of the 2012 BC Juvenile, that went on to win this race in 2014. It would be the final victory of his career which saw career earnings of just over $2,300.000. The biggest winner though would be Carthagian, the winner in 2008. Carthagian won 24 of his 56 career starts en route to $3,100.000 in lifetime earnings. In 2015, we have a strong field of nine set to do battle, so let us meet the participants!
#1- Blade of Maahes (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by J Velazquez)- This five year old horse by Nineveh comes into this race needing a win. While he has been regularly hitting the board, it has been nine starts and fourteen months since he last won, and Blade of Maahes just seems better then that. There is cause for concern, as a couple of poor results in the last two graded stakes he attempted, led to him being dropped down into ungraded territory, all the way down to the $25.000 Tondi Stakes at FON, and he was only second in that one. There is nothing wrong with that of course, but I am not certain that he is ready to take on a couple of those in which he races against here. He can be in the mix, and hitting the board is very possible, but that winless streak appears as though it will continue.
#2- Tiberius Claudius (Sanny Village, ridden by J R Leparoux)- After once being on the KYD trail for a little while, Tiberius Claudius gets a chance to show a PRK crowd how good of a sprinter he has become. Being on a big stage is nothing new to him of course, as he participated in the BC Sprint back in November and placed 3rd in that race, while at odds at 30/1. Unfortunately for Sanny Village, he has not been able to build off that with victories, placing 4th in the G1 Malibu Stakes as well as the G2 San Carlos Stakes, both at SA. In those races, he put together triple digit SRF’s, and only Kiwiw Ripoff has done that recently in this field. Because of this, you have to like the chances for Tiberius Claudius to break through and run a big one. He is one of the favorites here.
#3- Funny Intern (Wynnewood, ridden by J R Betancourt)- Purchased in $70.000 by Wynnewood from Mb Stables in November, and has won two out of his three races while running in the new silks. The sale took place just a day after his 10th place finish in the BC Sprint. While he has won those races for Wynnewood, they were open allowances, and here he makes his return to graded competition. Unfortunately, it looks like the work times have slowed down a tenth or two, on average, from where they were towards the end of the year, and that is something that Funny Intern is going to have rediscover within himself if he wants a chance to win this race.
#4- K Booom (Rouge River Stables, ridden by H A Karamanos)- This four year old gelding has proven to be a wise $35.000 claim by Rouge River Stables, and it’s just a matter of time before she starts seeing the rewards show in his earnings. After the claim, K Booom was thrust into the Grade 3 General George Handicap, and he placed fourth, but notably turned in a 99 SRF. Most recently, he was 6th in the Grade 1 Carter. This is a drop from that, but there is still some rivals in here will probably be too formidable for him to overcome. If he runs as he did in the General George and can be a little closer to the front early, then he could end up sneaking into a spot that will get some earnings.
#5- Holden The Young (Night Rider Stables, ridden by R Maragh)- If the race were four and a half furlongs, then this is not one you want to be racing against. Three of his four wins have come at that distance, which have mostly been on the WV-bred circuit. The highlight being the $80.000 WV Dash for Cash Breeders Stakes in October. He knows how to be near the front, having been either first or second in his last seven races, or in every race while running in Night Rider silks. This is a step up though, but if he can hold that early speed that we know he will have, or if R Maragh runs a tactical race to save some that speed, Holden The Young could pull off a shocker here.
#6- Blame Ratman (Aer Stables, ridden by E Camacho)- The trainer will get himself geared up for King Cobra’s PRK bid while hoping to take one of the races just prior. Blame Ratman has been sharp in his six career starts, winning two and having four second place finishes. There is some stake experience mixed in there, accounting for two of his runner up performances. In November, he just missed in the Grade 3 Hope Stakes, then a month later he came a tad short in the $100.000 Pasco Stakes at TAM. He’s been running a little longer recently, and has been a horse that wants to come from way back to win. That’s going to be hard to do in this field, so don’t be surprised to see Blame Ratman more interested in running early here.
#7- Just Wiggle It (Aml Racing, ridden by J Pimentel)- Like Tiberius Claudius, Just Wiggle It took a stab a the KYD trail last year, and the trainer was not able to wiggle more distance out of him. Instead, Just Wiggle It has become a very talented sprinter that has put together a record of (7-3-2-1) since his distance returned to sprints. He hasn’t won one of the graded stakes that he has attempted yet, but did score a nice win in the $150.000 SSM Sprint at GP in January. The work times are very similar heading into this one as they have been in previous races, so there is no reason to think that Just Wiggle It won’t be a contender.
#8- Kiwiw Ripoff (Threshold, ridden to V Carrasco)- I must admit, I love this horse. Back in March, I had the honors of being able to watch him win the Grade 3 Fool Handicap, and set a track record in doing so. If you’re going to set a track record, six furlongs at AQU is a pretty impressive to do it at. Sure, the 115 pound part helped some of that, and in his last outing, when he was back up to carrying 123 in the Kona Stakes at SA, he was only third, but it was a three-way photo, after all. For the MD Sprint Handicap, we can split the difference on those two weights he carried, and he gets 119, which is pretty similar to the rest of his rivals here. He and Tiberius Claudius are the only ones in this field to run triple digit SRF’s in 2015, and they both have done it twice. His works show that he is ready to go, and I expect to see nothing but the best from him today. He is my top choice.
#9- Lonely Town (Emerald Racing Inc, ridden by K J Desormeaux)- Regally bred by Northern Dancer and out of the great Mai Mia Bambina, this five year old gelding seems to be getting better with age. He toiled around in lower level allowances and claimers for the early portion of his career, until he was entered into a $50.000 stake, the Governors Handicap in May 2014, where he would place 2nd. This seemed to lead to higher placement, and Lonely Town would deliver. Since then, he has won two ungraded stakes, including the $75.000 Inn Sprint in most recent outing at TAM last month. Prior to that came his only graded attempt so far, the G3 GP Sprint Championship, but he would not be a factor. He’ll get another chance today, and as an improving horse, you cannot count him out.
Categories: Grade III