GII – Nijinsky
$175.000 Graded Stake 1 1/4th Mile Turf Race For Three & Up
2016 Champ: Stormy Passing
A big field of ten will load into the gate Saturday afternoon at WO. The field is headlined by TC runner The Force Awakens, gutsy vets Steel Kelp, Admirals Aces and Bama Blue Streak. It is go time for the BC so anyone not in the top five need the points that come along with this race if they want a shot at being in DMR in November.
1- Steel Kelp (Trained by John Henry, Ridden by Lermyte J)
The rail position in the Nijinsky goes to the old gutsy gelding Steel Kelp. He comes into the race with fifty six career starts and over $1100.000 in earnings to go along with those starts. He came out of the gate in 2017 with an impressive wire to wire win in the GIII McKnight Handicap but has had his struggles as of late going 0-3 since then. He could be part of the early pace and the cut back in distance should help but likely wont be too much of a factor in the race.
2- Admirals Aces (Trained by Mb Stables, Ridden by Boulanger G)
The 2016 winner of the BC Turf is looking to ramp up his effort as the summer quickly passes by and will soon enough be BC time again. He was a fast closing fourth last time out in the GI Manhattan which is run at this same mile and a quarter distance. Top WO jock Boulanger G will get the mount and will give him another quality start in what has been an impressive 2017 with a almost 25% win percentage this year. Expecting a big race from him as he gets ready for another BC.
3- Kenny Wisconsin (Trained by Aer Stables, Ridden by Da Silva E R)
The GI United Nations saw Kenny Wisconsin go off at pretty low odds but the race lacked any excitement for him as he ran a steady pace all race long and could never kick it up a notch when it mattered. He looks like a horse looking for a bit shorter of a distance.
4- The Force Awakens (Trained by Diablo Diablo, Ridden by Campbell J M)
The only three year old in the field this year is The Force Awakens. After a grueling TC run he is giving turf a shot. Based on his recent works he should like the turf but could be in tough for his first turf race. His biggest advantage in the race is the five pound weight allowance he gets over the rest of the field.
5- The Land (Trained by Wolf Ridge Stables, Ridden by Rainford M)
An interesting horse in the race is The Land. Nothing about his 2017 year jumps off the page but at closer look could be a bit better then it first seems. His last few loses have not been too bad and suggest the added distance is exactly what he may be looking for. This is his first time in his nineteen career starts going the distance and might be what he has wanted all along. Should get a great price on him at post time and is worth a look.
6- Mean Street (Trained by Nakamura Stables, Ridden by Hernandez R M)
The Manhattan was not the performance the connections of Mean Street were expecting. He finished a fading eleventh that day but is looking to rebound here. He typically does a good job of backing up a poor performance with a good one so expecting a much better effort this time.
7- Stuck Here (Trained by Wolfs Den, Ridden by Garcia Alan)
A few recent quick works have landed Stuck Here in the spot light of the Nijinsky. He has had a busy year with nine starts already but has only brought home one victory. It doesn’t seem like the added distance is something he is looking for. It will be his first race at the distance and could end up one of the early pace setters but will likely fade as the race hits the stretch.
8- Bama Blue Streak (Trained by Hambletonian Stable, Ridden by Wilson E J)
Bama Blue Streak has had a busy 2017 as this race will be race number twelve of the year. Six of those first eleven have ended with him in the winners circle and he is hoping to make it seven times in the Nijinsky. His latest start wasn’t a winning one but may have been his best race of the year. He was only three quarters of a length off the winner in the GI United Nations. Even at six years old he seems to be improving and has a great shot here.
9- Playmaker (Trained by RNP Stables, Ridden by Husbands P)
Playmaker has struggled in his last two attempts at stepping up into stakes company and is hoping to change that luck here. He has a couple things going for him that he may not of in those other attempts. The distance appears as though it may just suit him well and he is still improving. He will be in tough but could be one to throw in your exotics and could get you a nice price.
10- Gestut Ammerland (Trained by Miata Farm, Ridden by Moreno O)
Starting from the far outside is Gestut Ammerland. He is coming into the race off two straight claiming victories. He has enjoyed the step up in distance and is hoping to carry that momentum into this one. It is a big jump up in class and probably too tough of an assignment to get done.
My Selections: 2/8/6