May 24, 2015
Over the years, the Grade III LS Handicap has been a good race for horses trying to establish a firm footing without facing the best of their division and since its first running 1997, stars like Congaree, Bob And John and Awesome Gem has proven best in this 8.5-furlong event over the main track. However, at HRP, it was been taken down by some of the best horses to ever look through a virtual bridle including Icicle, Thumbsy and Little Slick, who are all BC Classic placegetters, and more recently by BC Dirt Mile winner Siberian Shooter and multiple Grade I winner Jesse James. Another Grade I winner will try to etch his name into the history books on Monday against only four other rivals but to do so, he will have to overcome some bad recent efforts and that might leave a turf star as the decent contender in his move to the main track for the first time.
1-Conditional Gold (Three-year-old gray gelding / Owner-Broken Spoke Stables)
Back in 2011, owner Broken Spoke Stables won their first and only Graded Stakes race with Wicked Ways in the DED Princess and will try to do it again on Monday with Conditional Gold, a three-year-old taking on older runners for the first time off a huge win against state-bred company last time out. The fact that he only beat two runners is a bit of a knock against him but his speed rating was quite good and if he can sit a trip inside, he might be able to rally enough to get a minor award, although his talent against this class is still a question mark until proven otherwise.
Analysis-Takes on older rivals and might need a race under his belt
2-Flying Shawklit (Five-year-old bay gelding / Owner-Threshold)
Flying Shawklit has been a mainstay of marathon turf races for the better part of his career and after a trio of fourth-place efforts going huge distances, he cuts back to his shortest event in 16 months and more importantly, makes his debut on dirt in a semi-reachable spot. His speed ratings are some of the best in the field but those come with a big caveat and if you can find a way to like him on the dirt, the price should certainly be right for a big upset.
Analysis-Turf to dirt in a good angle but there are so many unknowns
3-Nashua Flair (Five-year-old bay gelding / Owner-Sanny Village)
A trio of Graded Stakes placings made Nashua Flair a main contender for the Grade I Whitney Handicap last year and he did not disappoint with a resounding victory going nine-furlongs but he has yet to hit the board since and comes in off two dismal efforts for his new connections and will try to turn this around with a drop in class. On paper, he looks like the horse to beat but there are more questions than answers and he will need to pace to chase, and speed in the lane, to prove best over a course that was not kind to him in a claiming event back in 2013.
Analysis-Might be over the top but this is easier
4-Clementine Cottage (Four-year-old black colt / Owner-A And I Stables)
An extended stay at PRX led Clementine Cottage to the winner’s circle more than once and a big score in the Grade III TX Mile makes him the logical favourite in the LS Handicap, especially since he carries the same weight he did last time and handled that with no problem. He is the speed of the speed and gets a chance to set a more modest pace and anything slower than his last race gives him all the tools necessary to make a huge impact and most assuredly take down what could be a career-defining win for his up-and-coming connections.
Analysis-Big winner last time looks to double his fun
5-Rocket Man (Four-year-old bay gelding / Owner-Downwind Stables)
Stakes placed in a number of races last year, and with more than $500.000 in seasonal earnings, there were big hopes for Rocket Man heading into his four-year-old season but he gets a later start at the big levels than many and with the outside stall, will be trying to engage the favourite for a share of the early lead. Purchased a week ago for a scant $50.000, he was a winner at LS last time out but with only a modest speed rating and he will need to improve on that in order to make an impact in the top three placings here.
Analysis-Good but probably not good enough on this day.
Clementine Cottage looks like a dominant force in the Grade III LS Handicap and a repeat of his last in the TX Mile should give him another big win and set him up nicely for a step up into Grade II or even Grade I company. Nashua Flair is the proven commodity but has not been good recently and will need to regain his form while Flying Shawklit is proven on turf but untested on turf and might be able to use his stamina edge to get a minor share if he can close well enough.
Win-Clementine Cottage (Even)
Place-Nashua Flair (4/1)
Show-Flying Shawklit (6/1)
Triple T Racing 🙂
Categories: Grade III