Commercial Grade Weaponry in West Point

The West Point- $150.000 Purse
SAR- For Three Year Olds and Upward Foaled in NY
One Mile and One Sixteenth on the Inner Turf
August 28, 2015

New York breds will be the theme on Travers Eve at beautiful Saratoga Race Course, with a total of five stakes for such horses on the card.  Kicking it off will be The West Point, a race contested on the turf for just over a mile.   There will be a field of six going to the gate for the race, but for we get to that, how about a little history lesson.   Last year, we had a fittingly named horse for this race as Boomtown’s General Custer beat a field of seven by three lengths.  Unfortunately, he has not won again.  The race was not held in 2013, but in the two years prior Ludwig Van Beethoven made sweet music at the spa, winning the race in back to back years.  The 2012 win ended up being the final race of his career.  Our field of six this year is generally inexperienced at the stake level, and when you combine all of them there is a total of just won stake win in the field.   That would be Commercial Grade, who won the Calloway, part of the NY Stallion Series about three weeks ago.  Let us meet him and the five others as we run through the field!

#1- Plucky Monster (Hambletonian Stable, ridden by J R Leparoux)- This gelding by Plucky Dogma was also in the Calloway on the 10th of this month, and he finished the race in third, one length behind Commercial Grade.   That pretty sums up Plucky Monster on his past performances, as you don’t see him winning often, but he always seems to hit the board, and it always seems as though he is within a length at the end.   One of his two race wins came last month at this very distance, and while it can be easy to dismiss the three horse field, the ending race time was very impressive, and earned him a 98 SRF.  I look for him to be a top contender in this race.

#2- Beav Barley (Oval Express Farms, ridden E Trujillo)- Some might say it’s fitting for a horse named after Beav to be a horse that you never seem to know what to expect out of.  He has raced eleven times, and has two nice looking wins in his career.  Then, he has nine other races where he never hit the board.  A couple of those were very tough assignments, such as the Grade 1 HOL Derby last November (he was sixth), but others I would have liked to have seen him be more of a factor.  He has shown the ability, as evidenced in his optional claiming win.  Now, he just needs to find consistency.  This would be a fine time to start.

#3- Dawn Ride (RNP Stables, ridden by S X Bridgmohan)- Four career races, four career owners for this Dawn Invasion gelding.  Prior owners have not thought too highly of him, with Mb Stables (his second career) owner only racing him once before auctioning him off.  La Canada Racehorses was content to keep him in claimers, and the second such one ended up with RNP Stables picking him.  Even with that trainer, he was put in a claimer.  He won that race and did so in very good form, but this seems like a stretch, especially when considering it will be his third race in August.   As good as he was in that win, he still has to pick it up a couple tenths to beat a few of these.

#4- Performing Arts (Blushing Meadows, ridden by I Ortiz Jr)- The Beauty King gelding has won two of his seven career starts, with those wins each coming in his last four.    Those wins were his maiden victory in his 3rd start at the esteemed TUP race track, but then he did well to win an allowance on soft turf at BEL in late June.  That was a nice win, and if it were to rain on race day (it is not likely), then he is more appealing.   Earlier this month, he put together a decent closing bid in the Grade 3 National Museum of Racing right here at the Spa, and if he can start that a little earlier here, then he could have a shot.

#5- Commercial Grade (Team 7 Illusions, ridden by J Alvarado)- Team 7 Illusions sold this Chief Charley foal as an unraced two year old, and was so impressed by what the colt has become, that he paid five times the amount that he at one time received.  That private sales purchase was for $200.000 earlier this month, and the new trainer wasted no time filling out the nomination form for the Calloway as soon as the horse stepped in the barn.  That victory was not a fluke, as he was on a run of good form with prior trainer, Grimley, as well, including a 2nd place in the Grade 2 Firecracker at CD where Pip Cozzene was one of the horses he defeated.  There’s much to like here, my only concern is that an overall lack of early speed in this race could prove problematic if he wants to come from off the pace again.  However, I might just be looking for something wrong when I say that.  He is the one to beat.

#6- Make A Decision (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by J R Velazquez)- No one has been in the starting gate more then this four year old Got Baked colt, as he will make his 22nd career start.  The bulk of his career has been running in allowance company at mid or high level tracks, and he does have a couple second place finishes.  The most recent runner up showing was the $100.000 Stymie at AQU in March, when he lost to Hyper Silver.  Yes, that Hyper Silver, the one you just saw finish second in the Pacific Classic last weekend, and win the Suburban Handicap back in July.   I would have liked to see more progress off that race by Make A Decision to out him over Commercial Grade.

Prediction: 5-1-6-2

— NS

Categories: NG Stakes

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