Ten Set to Contest Palos Verdes Stakes

Grade 2
Purse $200.000
6 Furlongs at SA
Four Year Olds and Upward

Domination Nation has raced twice since his second place finish in the BC Sprint in November. He should be the favorite here, but coming off a one-week rest, it remains to be seen how competitive he can be here. Last out, he finished fifth in the Mr Prospector behind two of the horses he will be competing against here, Hit The Switch who won that race and is riding a three-race winning streak and Rock Boat who, at age seven, is looking for his first graded win since the Grade 3 Vigil in May.

Several owners have more than one entrant in this contest. Ekli Stables sends three to post. Clatther looks the best of those three, coming in off back-to-back wins and back-to-back 100+ SRFs. Kopites sends two – Gemini Warning and Sir Jive, both looking for their first graded wins. Seven of the ten entrants have already faced off against each other, either in the Mr Prospector, the Kennedy Road, and or the Midnight Lute.

Here’s the field:

1 Jesse The Bandit
Owner: Scarletandgraystable
Breeder: Allinthegate

Lightly raced five-year-old gelding hit the board in all eight of his 2016 starts, including a win in the $75.000 Johnston Stakes for CA-breds. Claimed for $25.000, then finished second in his first graded attempt, the Midnight Lute Stakes (Grade 3) here at SA. Looking for a rematch with Hallelujah.

2 Halleluja
Owner: Eastern Equine
Breeder: Yahudi Stables

Eight-year-old with a lot of run left in him. Finished fifth in the BC Sprint, then won the Midnight Lute (Grade 3) by a length over Jesse The Bandit. Consistently earns triple-digit SRFs,, including a 102 in winning the Triple Bend Stakes (Grade 1) here at SA. Looks like the one to beat here.

3 Oh My Senor
Owner/Breeder: Ekli Stable

Won the Grade 3 Jersey Shore at MTH in July. Followed that up with a string of Optional Claimer starts and another attempt in graded company, finishing fourth in the Kennedy Road (Grade 2) at WO. Comes in off a win, but will have to step up to compete with these.

4 Gemini Warning
Owner: Kopites
Breeder: BomBay Stables

Has had some success in ON-bred stakes, but this is a tough spot to try graded level for the first time. His last performance in Optional Claiming company was the first time in eleven starts that he failed to hit the board. That was on a turf course rated as Good. Shortens up and returns to dirt, but will need a big effort to get to the winner’s circle

5 Sqawilther
Owner: John Henry
Breeder: Ekli Stable

Led at every call but the last in the Fall Highweight Handicap (Grade 3) two starts back. Beaten by a head at the wire. Tried graded company again in the Mr Prospector (Grade 3) but could do no better than sixth in an unusually flat performance. Usually very competitive at this level. Look for him at the wire.

6 Sir Jive
Owner: Kopites
Breeder: Melbourne Lodge

Finished eighth in each of his last three starts after winning the Mr Prospector and finishing third in the Crosby (Grade 1). Looks like too big a jump in class.

7 Rock Boat
Owner: Night Rider Stables
Breeder: Salamanca Stable

Won the Vigil Stakes (Grade 3) in May, but hasn’t been back to the winner’s circle sine. Last out finished fourth in the Mr Prospector (Grade 3). Another one that will need some luck and a top effort against these.

8 Hit The Switch
Owner/Breeder: Mb Stables

Mb Stables’ other entrant has already beaten four of these in the Mr Prospector (Grade 3) last out, coming from well off the pace in the final furlong. That was win number three in a three-race winning streak. Always competitive, this four-year-old hasn’t finished worse than second in seven starts, going back to May 2016. Good chance of extending that winning streak to four.

9 Domination Nation
Owner: Double J Stables
Breeder: Lawdawg

Missed the win in the BC Sprint by a neck, dead heating for second. Next start in the DFM Dash (Grade 3), he dead heated for third. Finished well back in fifth last out in the Mr Prospector (Grade 3). When he is good, he is very, very good, but with just a week off, may be asking too much.

10 Clatther
Owner/Breeder: Ekli Stables

Coming in off two big wins. Won the $100.000 Gravesend Handicap two starts back in the mud and earned a 101 SRF. Last out in the best performance of his career, the four-year-old colt scored a career high 102 SRF and came within a few clicks of the track record in the Toboggan (Grade 3) at AQU $20.000 OTB Derby at PM. Should be in the mix and could come away with another win.

Categories: Grade II, STAKES ARTICLES

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