The Dixie Stakes (Grade 2)- $250.000 Purse
PIM- For Three Year Olds and Upward
One Mile and One Sixteenth on the Turf
May 20, 2017
In the 2016 Dixie Stakes, Seven Years set out to accomplish an amazing feat at the age that matches his name, and to win this race for the third year in a row. It was a remarkable accomplishment, but he would not quite be able to do so as Sir Tom, fresh off his BC Mile win, would spoil the party and grab this victory, leaving Seven Years to finish second. Since neither were showing any signs of aging, it did not seem terribly far fetched that they could end up meeting here again, and now, here they are. Seven Years, at eight, will look to win the race for the third time in four years, while Sir Tom looks to win for the second time in a row and do exactly what Seven Years had done before him. It’s a thrilling showdown, but there are six more in here who would love to keep the spoils of the race for themselves. Plenty to be excited about here, so let’s meet the field!
#1- Antelope Storm (Scarletandgraystable, ridden by J Rose)- Scratched out of the Woodford Turf Classic two weeks ago, likely due to the elements, and was not able to attempt to defend his stake championship there. He was brought here pretty quickly, and has been able to a couple of solid works in over this race track. Antelope Storm seemed to have a good shot in that race, and with this race a rung down the ladder, you would think he would be a strong favorite here. He may very well be, but he runs into the territory of Seven Years and Sir Tom here and they will not make it easy. Antelope Storm, however, has won his last two, each with consecutive 103 SRF’s, and while on the rail, he may be the one to beat.
#2- Blue Eight (Blushing Meadows, ridden by D Moran)- He’ll make his debut for Blushing Meadows here after being acquired from Grimley in private sales on the same day that he also acquired Rapid Refund, so likely there was a package of sorts. Blue Eight was sold for $100.000, and Blushing Meadows also puts him on a new career path, as this will be the first time we see him on the grass. His career has certainly stalled out, so you can understand why the move will be made, but it’s a long time back to public turf works for me to get a handle on how he might like the surface. Based on what I do see from August, it may work out nicely.
#3- Tin Lizzie (Stald Gullis, ridden by R J Albarado)- After closing out 2016 nicely, and even starting out this year well, things have slowed down considerably for Tin Lizzie over his last two races. Hopefully he can turn that form around because most of us want to see the last two BC Mile champions go at it between him and Sir Tom. He would seem to be the fitting new name for the stake winner list if we did have a passing of the torch. Something really needs to change, though, as he has been a non-factor in the last two. Adding distance from a mile as he does seems to be a good idea, but you still have to wonder if that will be enough. We’ll be hoping for a nice bounce back race from him.
#4- Inspector Jacque (Jader Stable, ridden by R Bejarano)- The newer stable, who as of press time still has less career starts as a trainer then Seven Years has had on the track, looks to pick up their second graded win with this $250.000 private sales purchase from Kopites. He impressively broke through in March at the Kilroe Mile against Seven Years, Tin Lizzie, as well as others such as Compress and The Perfect Day, and perhaps Kopites did well to cash out on him after that big score. His debut for Jader was dismal to say the least, and the blinkers that were attached for the first time have been removed, and hopefully, burnt.
#5- Tower Isle (Winning Link Stables, ridden by F Geroux)- This seven year old just recently began participating in graded events and gets his chance to showcase his ability against one of the deepest fields he has ever seen in regards to overall talent. He has predominantly run his career in optional claimers, and picked up several wins along the way, but also a little bit of inconsistency as well. In December, the won the ungraded $75.000 Diliberto at FG, and followed it up well in the Grade 3 Bradley. His last start showed some of that inconsistency he has tended to now and again, and he will need to rebound.
#6- Sir Tom (Brave, ridden by J R Velazquez)- Here he is, your defending Dixie Stakes champion, and the 2015 BC Mile Champion. After he won the Dixie last year, Sir Tom then went to MTH and conquered the United Nations, the Grade 1 Stake, that is. Things seemed to be rolling, but his career really hit a lull after that, and with the way things started going at the end of the year, it was fair to start wondering if his best days were behind him. In the 2016 BC Turf, a fifth place finish may have meant optimism as opposed to despair, and he has been resurgent ever since the calendar changed to 2017, including a victory in the Grade 3 Canadian Turf. He knows how to win here at PIM, and this would be a great win for him if he was able to do so.
#7- Horse With No Name (Kopites, ridden by T C Baze)- The five year old will make just his 10th career start, as his career was unquestionably stagnated at the start with the extreme level of horse selling park that surrounded him (18 months, 4 sales/auctions, 1 race). Once it was discovered that he may not have a name, but he can race, he ran a while for Riley Stable before finding a home with Kopites. Since buying him in private sales, Kopites, as he seems to be master at, has taken his career from the bottom to the top, and in his last start, he ran in the Grade 2 Elkhorn. The result, on soft turf, was not good, but it can be a building block to this race.
#8- Seven Years (Alydar Stables, ridden by J R Leparoux)- It is an honor to cover him in the Dixie again, which will be fourth time that this horse who is now older then his name, will have run in it. He won the first two times, but came second to Sir Tom last year. With just a little more luck, we could be talking about a four-peat here. Pretty darn amazing, but even two wins and a second is very special. Seven Years has won just over $4,000.000 in his career, which has now spanned 58 races. He is still in great form, as after leaving here in the Dixie, several solid finishes allow him to get into the BC Mile in November. Like Sir Tom, maybe there was a stretch there where you started to wonder about him, as he went some time between victories, but his last four starts has seen two runner ups before finally ending a 11-race winless streak in his last outing, the Grade 3 Miami Mile, topping the likes of Jamfest and Compress along the way. At the end of the day, you just have to like a horse that knows how to win this race.
Prediction: 5-7-1-3 *
*- These picks are somewhat sentimental. I do think Antelope Storm is really the horse to beat.