Gallant Bob Stakes (Grade 3)- $300.000 Purse
PRX- For Three Year Olds
Six Furlongs on the Dirt
September 23, 2017
It’s a big weekend at PRX as the PA Derby and the Cotillion are going to go to post, but that’s not all we have going on. It’s a great card of races, which also include the 11th running of the Gallant Bob Stakes. This is a Grade 3 race for three year old sprinters that potentially, though not always, sends its winner to the BC Sprint. The race has been won by many good horses, of course, but interestingly, there is only one past winner who accumulated more then $1,000.000 in career earnings, and he didn’t even win the race outright. That would be Unlv Runnin Rebel, who won in a dead heat in 2010, and was part of his $1,900.000-plus in winnings. Part of the reason for this is that race did run ungraded in its early days, though since 2008, there has been little variation in the purse monies. For 2017, we’ll see seven going to the starting gate with some interesting stories amongst them.
#1- Dark Phooey (Ekli Stable, ridden by I Ortiz Jr)- This is the only entry in the field who did not spend any time this year running long. In a six furlong race, it’s a little interesting to see that, so Dark Phooey should have them right where wants them. Six furlongs is his distance, and altogether, he has won eight of twelve races. While that all sounds good, then you see this is his first time against graded competition, so even he is making an adjustment. He has a plethora of experience in ungraded events, as well as two wins in NY-bred stakes. Starting on the rail is a good thing, and I expect him to be a top player in this race.
#2- Shen Valley (John Henry, ridden by R Bejarano)- Prior to running the Haskell, previous trainer Keikowin Racing said that would be his last race as a trainer. Well, the trainer has bounced back, but Shen Valley is doing his running with John Henry now, and will look to finally pick up that elusive second career win. His final runs going long were poor, so John Henry is looking for answers and sent him seven furlongs in his last race, and that did not go well either. He cuts him back another furlong here, but if it works out, it will only be if there is a tactical adjustment as well.
#3- Report (Nakamura Stables, ridden by J Rosario)- Spent the early portion of the year going long in maiden claimers, and that did not go according to plan. After being cut to six furlongs on the fourth of July, Report was finally able to break his maiden, and followed it up with a win in a SAR allowance. In the allowance, it looked like he was restrained a bit, and it led to him turning in a career high SRF of 97. He moves up in class, but really the way this field has ended up, that’s a common theme.
#4- Di Zanzi (Gdp Inc, ridden by J R Velazquez)- In his career so far, this Di Medici gelding has been consistent, hitting the board in eight of nine career races, and all of races if you give him a debut race mulligan. Thing is, they are not always wins, as five times, he has been the runner up. Two of those seconds were, like mostly everyone, when running long, but he bounced back with the biggest victory of his young career going six furlongs in a PA-bred stake here at PRX at the beginning of the month. Winning this, though, will probably require a quicker time.
#5- The Hand Youre Dealt (Mb Stables, ridden by R J Albarado)- Yep, he spent this running over a mile as well, doing so in his first four race of 2017. He was in graded company for those races, and the best performance in those stretch was a third in the Grade 3 Marine Stakes WO in late May. He, too, has an ungraded win under his belt. In his last race, he cut back his distance and went second in the $100.000 Tale of the Cat at SAR.
#6- True Code (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by F Pennington)- Pennington gets to ride where he is normally expected on a stake weekend, we don’t often see that in our virtual world. For the Gallant Bob, he will be on a ride that has more experience sprinting then most of his rivals. However, he too, has run a long a bit, and is coming off a win at a mile in an ungraded stake at FL. In other races, I might be a little more concerned about him spending so much of the season running at smaller tracks, but in this field, I am not. He’s turned in a good work, the jockey knows the track, and I’m making him my pick.
#7- Special Guy (Axeman, ridden by L S Quinonez)- As a two year old, Special Guy was a regular participant in NY-bred races and began used to running six furlongs. That was with his former trainer, Yankee Doodle Stables, of whom he was purchased from in March via the auction. Axeman immediately starting running him long and he got some solid results, but even Special Guy might not be ready for the wire to come up so soon here. Based off his previous run, though, I do think he has a very good shot.