BC Turf – Grade I
DMR Race #16 1 1/2m Turf Graded Stake
Purse $4,000.000 For Three Year Olds And Upward.
Although the three year olds have only won 5 times out of 14 it is significant that they have won the last three years running of the BC Turf, a trend that has appeared since slow development took a back seat. Strangely the last five years seem to have favoured wide drawn horses a fact that may have something to do with the extreme trip but its an interesting fact considering that most races show an advantage for lower draws. The last four winners have all won either the Sword Dancer or the Hirsch in the lead up to victory here so its worth looking seriously at those races too although in general pretty much all the winners have shown their hand well before the race so its doubtful we will see a winner of this race with little stakes form coming into it.
So without further ado lets look at the runners for this great race:
1 Crafty Shenanigans, trained by Mb Stables
Here we have a horse that hasnt even won a stakes race running in the richest turf race of the year and believe it or not he is not without a chance. Gelded after two average maiden runs as a two year old he won his first race as a three year old and then added two more wins at allowance level before tackling stakes company for the first time. He ran very well to be second in the Read Stakes at Grade two pushing Antelope Storm all the way to the line and had Sean Hannity behind him that day and then very nearly won the grade one Secretariat Stakes next time going down by a neck to Taniwha. He started favourite for the Northern Dancer next time but ran poorly to be a never dangerous sixth but bounced back in the Pacific Classic last time out to run Major weiner to a length in the slop.
There are lots of things that buck the trend with this one. Firstly he is an autogen with only average sprinting bloodlines. Secondly he hasnt won any sort of stakes race coming into this and thirdly his HRP rating hasnt gone past 90. So on the face of that you should be able to rule him out but beware freaks, this one is working strongly and is not far off a dual grade one winner.
Last work: 58 and 3 breezing 5 furlongs on the track
2 Major Wiener, trained by Night Rider Stables
Another one who ended his two year old season as a maiden he didnt take long to get into the winners circle as a three year old winning his maiden in January. Tested after that he ran third in the SUN Derby but failed in the AR Derby and Risen Star and whilst he won another race on dirt we didnt find out until September that his future was to lie on the turf. Winning the Super Derby he went straight for the Pacific Classic and caused a big upset in running from gate 13 to win that race at nearly 50/1. Now realistically we must note that that huge victory was in the soft and though he remains unbeaten on turf and is clearly a much better horse on the surface it is hard to base his chances on that one win. Having said that his late surge was very impressive and he won fairly easily and with a turf work of 1.09 and 2 for six furlongs and a great draw he could be the one to upset the bigger names in the field.
Last work: 35 and 1 for three furlongs at LAD
3 Solow, trained by Smokey Stover
Won black type as a two year old on the turf so clearly had always shown ability and has been on the fringes ever since but has picked up just one more race which was in the American Turf back in May. It is a worry that his only win this year came on soft ground but he has run well enough on a sound surface to suggest he is more than a wet tracker. The two runs that give him his best chance in this race would be a game second in the Shoemaker Mile and then a flying late finish when beaten just a length by Clockwork Chai when fourth in the BEL Derby. He was only bought recently by his current owner and managed a fourth in the Sky Classic and a fifth in an overnight but i am struggling to see is chances beyond that of an outsider.
The draw will certainly help him and he isnt that far off the best turf three year olds so it wouldnt take much of a stretch to see him in at the finish.
Last work: 1.34 and 3 over the mile at SA
4 Cju, trained by Maxmillion Farm
This five year old is a bit of an unsung hero. Unraced as a two year old he only raced three times as a three year old breaking his maiden on in his last start. Since then he has built a superb record culminating his four year old season with a second in this race. In the lead up to the BC last season he took the Sky Classic and was then third in both the Norther Dancer and Pacific Classic a testament to his trainers patience. There was no stopping him as he turned five, quickly getting back into the groove with a win in the San Marcos. After a go at the dirt which was unsuccessful he has had a great build up to this race narrowly beaten in the Manhattan and then getting close to Clockwork Chai in the Arlington Million. In his last start he was drawn wide in the Henry Championship and after making the running the usual thing happened to a wide drawn front runner and he got collared. As i said earlier this one has all the form to run a big race and is within a length of all the top names and with a great draw will be well supported.
Last work: 1.21 and 2 over seven furlong at SA
5 The Land, trained by Wolf Ridge Stables
A competitive four year old he had a good season as a three year old wining the Pennine Ridge and the Commonwealth Derby but never getting beyond grade three level. He has continued that good form into this season taking the grade two Baruch Handicap by a head and running a close second in The Nijinsky Stakes. In his last start he raced on the pace to be a close third under top weight in the Knickerbocker Handicap and whilst his form is solid and consistent i havent seen the sort of X Factor that is needed to win a BC Turf. So beyond winning i can see him on the pace from this nice draw and with a career full of triple digit speed figures i would expect him to be there for a long time. A top four potential at rewarding odds.
Last work: 46 and 3 breezing over four furlongs on the track.
6 Midwestern Slang, trained by Oquinn Farm
On a line through the Sword Dancer he has the beating of pretty much all of this field as he took that race impressively by a length. That win came amongst a domination by the three year olds of biblical proportions and really did come out of virtually nowhere. Before that famous win where he had the Hirsch winner Sean Hannity behind he had looked good but not outstanding with a narrow win in the American Derby and a couple of good efforts in lesser grade. His trainer took a bold step as a warm up for this race by taking him to the Awesome Again on the dirt, maybe to try and give him the choice of the classic or maybe as just an unusual route to the Turf, whatever the reason the horse ran a cracker to be third beaten less than a length.
So just how good is this horse? We only have that one win on the Sword Dancer to go on but with a great draw there is no reason he cant win.
Last work: 1.08 flat for the downhill six furlongs at SA
7 Love In Charge, trained by Team 7 Illusions
Way down in 44th in the qualifying list but this one gets in on his win in the DMR Handicap. An easy winner of three overnights before that grade two win it was still a big surprise to see a three year old winning a top handicap especially as he had to handle a wide draw and coming from 8 lengths back in the final three furlongs. That win was just huge and really brought his sire Cherokee Sunset to everyones attention but whilst many of us were thinking we had a real star on our hands his next race brought everyone back down to earth. That run and his last before this race was in the Kentucky Cup Turf and he was a little disappointing in only finishing third and never really looking like a winner. So where on earth do we place this colt with only the one win that gives him any chance? A good draw will help and hs trainer has been there and done that so a win wouldnt surprise.
last work: 59 and 1 5 furlongs breezing here at DMR
8 War Scent, trained by Our Athletes
This grand old fella has ten wins from 39 races and is closing in on $2K in prize money. He won his first race back in 2013 as a two year old and didnt look back winning the Nijinsky and HAW Gold Cup as a three year old and the Hirsch as a four year old. That four year old season saw him run a cracker in this race to be a hard closing third from this same draw and if he can recapture that form he could be a hero to all the veterans. He was less successful as a five year old winning just a couple of overnights but he did do well in a few good races suggesting the ability was still there.
When he popped up as a five year old and won the Fort Lauderdale first up it looked like he was going to have a great season and that was confirmed with a nose second in The Whittingham and a head second in the grade one United Nations. He then had a poor draw in the Arlington Million but ran OK although unplaced but his last start started the alarm bells ringing as he struggled to make any ground in the Northern Dancer ending up seventh.
He certainly has the class to run well here but i am nervous about that last start as older horses can collapse pretty quickly at HRP and i wouldnt want to be putting my house on his chances.
Las work: a brisk 58 and 2 breezing the five furlongs on this track
9 Techfluence, trained by The Sidley Stud
A win as a two year old in the AP Washington Futurity in only his third start set this horse on a long road of good runs in stakes company but it was to be another year before he got into the winners circle again. As a three year old he once again was consistency itself in good company finishing second in the Marathon and finally getting another graded stakes at the end of the year when he took the Valedictory Stakes. He really looked like he was developing into one of those ‘bridesmaid’ types always running well but not winning often but this season as a four year old he is beginning to break out of that mould a little. He was having a good season before he was switched to turf for a go at the Sky Classic a race which he won by a neck but then in his next start he was to run a lifetime best. That run was in the grade one Northern Dancer where he raced on the pace and won by a fairly comfortable length in a race which has proved to be a good stepping stone to BC glory. Many would have kept him quiet until the BC but his trainer decided on the Pacific Classic just a couple fo weeks ago and whilst he ran well for a long way he eventually weakened on the soft ground and could only manage fifth. The choice to go for the big purse could be his downfall as a tough race just 20 days before the BC may prove too much but if we see the soft ground as his reason for defeat i wouldnt be too worried about it.
Last work: a fast 1.34 and 1 for the mile at BEL
10 Spotted Cat, trained by Chili King Sables
This is a real solid little horse but he has always struggled a bit with consistency. The HOL Derby winner as a three year old he had previously run eighth in the BC Dirt Mile on an unsuitable surface. As a four year old he was a close second in the Sword Dancer before an attempt at the BC Turf but he was faced with a horrible draw and made no show. He started off this season very strongly with a win in the Pan American and then a great win in the Woodford Turf Classic and then ran pretty well to be a hard closing eighth in The Manhattan. After a weaker effort in the United Nations his trainer clearly felt his days were numbered as he sold him for $200 to his current owner and things havent gone so well in his two races since. An eight length tenth in the Sword Dancer was followed by a six length sixth in the Pacific Classic but whilst those two efforts really do shout decline there was a glimmer in that last start. He got behind as he always does but where he made no ground in the Sword Dancer he did make up a fair bit in the Pacific Classic and he may just have one last big race in him.
Last work: a solid 1:10 and 4 breezing 6 furlongs on this track
11 Spanish Showboat, trained by Mb Stables
What is there left to say about this magnificent seven year old who for all of his 44 races has been pretty much at the top of the tree. It was way back in 2013 as a three year old that we saw his first BC day appearance as he ran a cracker to be second in the BC Marathon, one of his best efforts on his rare forays onto the dirt. It was as a four year old after being bought for $200 by Mb Stables and set to turf that he really started to hit the headlines running up three grade one wins including the Arlington Million and the Hirsch. He went into the 2014 BC Turf a strong fancy but a wide draw pretty much killed his chances and he ended up seventh. In 2015 he took the Woodford Turf Classic and went for the BC Mile instead where he ran off a much better draw to end up fourth. Last season he took the Northern Dancer before trying the BC Turf again but ran an awful race to end up 13th. So onto his fifth year of racing and the grand old campaigner showed no signs of age in winning the Manhattan and then running a great third in the Arlington Million on the way to qualification for his fourth attempt at the BC. He really has won everything worth winning on turf except a BC race and it would be great to see him run his true race.
Last work: 58 and 2 breezing 5 furlongs on this track
12 Sean Hannity, trained by Maxmillion Farm
A minor maiden winner and bought for just $12 he was contesting allowances when the rest of his generation were chasing TC glory but things changed quickly for this gelding. At a time when the stable seemed to be growing turf routers from some sort of freak popcorn machine this one started throwing very fast mile works and after an allowance win in April and an ungraded stakes third in May he burst onto the scene with a third in the Read Stakes and a third in the grade one Sword Dancer. Those were both remarkable efforts for a horse that had seemed just ordinary but he took one step further last time out by taking one of the biggest scalps this season in The Hirsch Turf Classic. Settling back off the suicidal pace set by a rabbit he cruised through and recorded a very easy two length win from teh Mb Stables pair Bring The Pain and Clockwork Chai. That is one of the best pieces of form for this race but what are the chances of a rabbit in this race? Certainly if it ends up looking like the Hirsch did we may have an uproar but that may be this ones best hope of beating Clockwork Chai again. The draw has been unkind but may not be a bad thing after his come behind win last time.
last work: 56 and 3 for the downhill five furlongs as SA ridden handily.
13 Clockwork Chai, trained by Mb Stables
This son of Proud Chai was looking unbeatable this year taking six in a row including five graded stakes. It all started off in the Palm Beach before winning the San Francisco mile against older horses in April, a feat almost unheard of in real life. That win was the real start of his rise to greatness and he then waltzed home in the PEN Mile before a battling nose win the the BEL Derby both against his own age group. Showing just how good he can be he then made all to win the Arlington Million and headed into his prep race for this, the Hirsch Turf Classic, being hailed as the BC Turf champion in August. A wide draw and a stretched out field saw him third in that race and you must really ponder as to why it all went wrong. He handled the wide draw and a rabbit setting a suicidal early pace in the BEL Derby so that may not be an excuse and he is still working faster than most older horses so it may not be the fact that the age groups are getting closer again. It may of course just be a flat spot in an otherwise spotless season and it’s probably too early to start shouting decline so though he still has a huge chance in this race we have seen a chink in his armour that some will no doubt try and exploit again. The wide draw will make it very tough for him but his trainer is the master tactician who will try and weave a place in HRP history for thsi three year old.
Last work: 1:10 and 3 breezing 6 furlongs on this track
14 Dogs Dragon, trained by Maxmillion Farm
This five year old has proved so versatile over the years that it is hard to leave him out of this race even though he faces the worst gate in the race. He won three as a two year old one over five furlongs and one over a mile and that really set the scene for a career that has been equaly good be it over a route or a sprint trip. He ran some good races as a three year old over route trip but his best effort came in the BC Sprint in 2015 where he was only beaten a neck into third. As a four year old he won the PARX Dash over 5 furlongs and the HOL Turf Cup over a mile and a half, pretty silly on the face of it and a reminder that this is HRP and not real life, but nevertheless top class efforts. As a five year old he as been kept back from sprinting concentrating on the route races picking up the grade one Man O War and the grade two San Louis Rey and looked for a while like he was having his best season yet, that was until his last race. In that last start he ran too badly to be true beaten seven lengths into ninth in the grade three Kentucky Turf Cup and you ave to wonder whether the ride has come to an abrupt halt. At his best a contender but you have to take that on trust from a horrible draw.
latest work: 57 and 1 handily on the SA downhill five furlongs.
AE’s Its a bit of a shame because Decibel, TS Crystal and Romantic Pirate could have all won this race had they drawn in. As it is if someone pulls out they will have to run from a wide draw which will hinder their chances but if anything does drop out then these three deserve a serious look.
With the more established stars drawn wide and the one hit wonders drawn inside this race could be real tricky to try and pick a winner from. Sean Hannity and Clockwork Chai would be obvious chances but will need a bit of luck or a rabbit from their draws so it may be worth seeking some value from some of the other runners. Techfluence should run well and i rather like Midwestern Slang from his nice position so i would be putting those two in if i was seeking to get the favourites beaten.