June 6, 2015
Over the years, a number of very good horses have won the Canadian version of the Eclipse Stakes, including Queen’s Plate winner Royal Chocolate, Hall Of Fame entrants Overskate, Frost King and Izvestia, and more recently, True Metropolitan and Hunter’s Bay amongst others. At HRP, the early years saw the likes of Icicle and Rancho Ruler prove best as part of their massive careers while recently, as a Grade II event, horses like Grade I Irish Flu have won and set the tone for this forgotten but important race. This year, only five horses are signed up to go the 8.5-furlong distance but many are coming in off decent efforts and the role of favourite will be tough to choose with each having claims on the top prize.
1-Broomsticks Camelot (Five-year-old gray gelding / Owner-Canadian Racing)
Broomsticks Camelot came into his own earlier this year with a four-race winning streak but he got derailed going a marathon distance at PRX last time out and will try to step up in class but cut back in distance and regain his form once again. However, his speed ratings are well below the top marks in this field and although he likes to win, this is a tough task for him and while he will try to take them gate-to-wire, his likelihood of doing that is slim to nil.
Analysis-Front running type does not seem to be fast enough
2-Phelps (Four-year-old bay gelding / Owner-Mb Stables)
Claimed and reclaimed back and forth for high prices, Phelps has finally settled into the Mb Stables barn in 2015 after taking the Grade II Autumn Stakes over this same course and distance last year and with three straight wins, including the Grade III Ali at CD, he looks to be the choice and a good bet to become a Grade I winner by year’s end. Immensely talented but unproven against the best, he has taken all the time he needs to become a top class four-year-old and while others in the country might be running for bigger money, this gelding looks to be all class and should be well-meant here.
Analysis-Towers over this field on class alone
3-Optimist (Five-year-old black gelding / Owner-Mb Stables)
Mb Stables packs a one-two punch for the Eclipse and while the favourite might be decided, Optimist will have something to say about the final outcome as the Grade III Precisionist winner actually drops weight off his last win and should be right at home going this distance. While his speed marks might not be the best, they are certainly good enough to win and his stalking style will have him just off the favourite, making his lack of racing experience over the surface the difference between the win and just a great showing.
Analysis-Has the right moves to win but his stablemate is better
4-Esskelorth (Five-year-old chestnut horse / Owner-Alegria)
A $5.000 claim who became a $30.000 claim, who then became a Graded Stakes placed five-year-old, Esskelorth will try to go one better Sunday afternoon in the Eclipse and finally earn that first stakes win. The addition of Lasix has certainly helped his cause and the horse who beat him in the Westchester came back to just miss in the True North so the form and class is there and he just needs to find enough room to close into the inside speed.
Analysis-Last on the scene but first under the wire?
5-Devilish Intentions (Five-year-old bay gelding / Owner-Night Rider Stables)
A closing third in the Grade III Ali but only a lackluster seventh in the PIM Special behind a decent field, Devilish Intentions will try to step back up into tougher company and run back to his Evening Attire win, which netted him a very respectable triple-digit speed rating. He will be coming from well off the pace and over the WO oval, that can be tough to do, so he will need to improve his early speed if he hopes to have enough room to run at this shorter distance.
Analysis-Closing can be tough over this track
Owner Mb Stables runs a hole in the wind at WO in the Grade II Eclipse Stakes and tries to add another stakes win to their credentials with the duo of Phelps and Optimist, both coming off Grade III wins and both coming in with huge opportunities to step up. Phelps looks to be the better of the two on paper with four straight wins and a score over this course so he gets the slight nod over Optimist, who posted a better speed rating in winning last time out, and Esskelorth, who could be picking up the pieces if the inside speed falters in any way.
Triple T Racing 🙂
Categories: Grade II