Invicta Group Llc Looks To Celebrate With Stars and Stripes

Stars & Stripes (Grade 3)- $100.000 Purse
AP- For Three Year Olds and Upward
One Mile and One Half on the Turf
July 11, 2015

This weekend we will have the tenth running of the Stars & Stripes, a race who’s name you would have thought would have been held last Saturday, instead of this coming one!  We’ll keep that patriotic feeling alive this Saturday as well as six go to the gate for this long turf event.  In it’s early years, the race was run for a $200.000 purse, but this will be third time the race runs for $100.000.  The last two races were run for $150.000, so this does represent a slight cut from 2014.   No trainer has won this race more then once, but jockey E E Perez will be looking for his third consecutive victory, having ridden Wild Snowflake last year for Mb Stables, and Power Creek in 2012 for Sanny Village.  The race was not held in 2013.  Let us meet his mount this year, as well as the other five in our run through the field.

#1- Antelope Storm (Frozen Tundra, ridden by E E Perez)- Frozen Tundra will be E E Perez’s biggest fan in the jockey’s bid to win this race for the third year in a row and this Stormy colt should have a pretty good chance.  Over the course of his career, Antelope Storm has won half the time he has been on the track, taking six of twelve, but he has not won since taking the $75.000 Let It Ride stakes at DMR in November.   In his last outing, he showed early speed in the American Stakes (G3) at SA, but placed fourth in that mile event.   Antelope Storm hasn’t raced much at this distance, and his longest race, nine furlongs,  is almost exactly one year ago at this very race track.  Expect him to run well, but it’s questionable as to whether he can beat a couple in here at this distance if they run their race.

#2- Chateau Angel (Invicta Group Llc, ridden by C A Emigh)- If I were giving out an award to the horse most prepared to run twelve furlongs today, it would be given to this seven year old gelding as that is simply, what he does.   Since being purchased in October 2013, 13 of his 14 races have been run at this distance, and the one that wasn’t was only a furlong less.  He was won four times, including the $100.000 Johns Call at SAR last August.  Also, he finished second in the Grade 3 McKnight Handicap in November to a horse named Eve of Destruction.  You may remember him winning the Grade 1 United Nations last week.   Chateau Angel has won his last two and knows how to step it up when the fields are stronger.  That is the case today, and this gelding will be up to the challenge and be very hard to beat.

#3- Aaliyahs Angel (Eastern Equine, ridden by F Geroux)- Wearing #3 will be the only three-year old in the field, and as such Aaliyahs Angel will get a four pound weight allowance to the rest of the field.   This Charming Behrens colt had an excellent two year old campaign, that saw him place fourth in the BC Juvenile Turf, after a second and a third in a Grade 3 Pilgrim and Grade 2 With Anticipation. Despite that he never actually won a race until this year when the trainer opted for a traditional MSW for his horse.  In April, he finally won a stake, taking the $75.000 La Puente at SA.    This will be the longest race of his career, but judging by his finishes in the races at a 1 1/8, he may have just been begging to go this long.  He’s going to be a contender, but can he beat a couple of the more conditioned veterans here? That is the question.

#4- Secret Song (Blushing Meadows, ridden by S Russell)- Back in October 2013, Blushing Meadows made an investment on this Secret Ensign gelding, purchasing him from Waldo for $200.000.  Now, over a year and a half later, he has yet to eclipse that figure in career earnings, but would with a win today.  The trainer attempted three $100.000 ungraded stakes with him soon after purchase, but he would get a pair of seconds, but his win in his last start was only the second time he has won in his current silks.  That victory came in an optional claimer at LAD at 1 1/4, where he earned a strong 97 SRF.  With the confidence restored, Secret Song now has a chance to meet the higher expectations he initially had.

#5- Hyper Drive (Nakamura Stables, ridden by E T Baird)- With a sire named Mi Lord, and a mare named Inspired, you can see why the trainer is willing to take what seems to large shot with this six year old gelding that he claimed for $10.500 and has yet to win with.  Hyper Drive has had some very good races, including a victory in the Grade 3 Smith Handicap in November 2013.  Around that time, he attempted a handful of graded stakes.   Though as 2014 went on, previous trainer Riggins Racing seemed to lose confidence with a gradual drop down, and he wasn’t actually rewarded on the track.  This led to the $10.500 claimer in December where Nakamura Stables picked him up.  His last race showed some notable improvement from that claiming race, so there is possibility he has figured something out which may or may not be related to him losing the blinkers.   Would be a nice comeback story if he wins, and you can say it’s in his blood.

#6- Iron Throne (Marcus White, ridden by J Graham)- As of press time, this trainer has not yet run in 2015, but he has certainly signaled his intentions to race aggressively when he purchased this four year old Crown Thief colt from Maxmillion Farm for $550.000 last week.   They don’t take a lot of time to get acquainted with each other, and just eight days later, he will hit the gate here.  His last outing was a very strong Louisville Handicap (Grade 3), where he placed third and there is no shame in losing to the top two there.  (Copper Clappers and Pure Violence).  In that, he earned a 99 SRF, a figure in which he has matched four times in his career, three of which were while running this distance.  That puts him right in line to be one of the favorites in this race and the trainer hopes for a quick reward after their heavy investment.

Prediction: 2-6-1-3


— NS

Categories: Grade III

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