Temple Of The Brave Looks for BC Sprint Glory

BC Fillies & Mares Sprint – Grade I
DMR   Race #11   7f   Dirt   Graded Stake
Purse $1,000.000  For Fillies And Mares Three Years Old And Upward.

We have seen ten runnings of this race at HRP and this is the first time it has been raced at the DMR track. Three year olds have won three which is below the general win ratio for other races but most significantly they have won the last two runnings at a time when three year olds have been more and more dominant in the championship races. Last years winner had just one stakes victory leading into the race and has not won since but the previous winner Distant Cousin had been more successful before and since. I think the trip is the difficulty with this race as seven furlongs can suit milers off a  strong pace or sprinters off a slower pace so you really have to look at the runners to get a feel of how fast they may go to get a decent shot at picking the winner.
Here is how the girls line up as they shoot for BC glory.

1 Fooling Me, trained by TwinTowersRacing
A lightly raced five year old she didnt do much in her early career and was claimed for ten dollars after being beaten in a claimer. Sent back to dirt sprinting the condition in which she had won her two previous races she started to string some good form together culminating in a game win in the Vagrancy Handicap at grade three in May this year. She went onto to also win the Honorable Miss Handicap which is a strong form race for this beating Plucky Elmo, Turn On The Lights and Gottahotone and although she got a couple of pounds from them she still showed plenty of grit to run out a head winner. Her last two starts have been a little disappointing finishing sixth in the Ballerina and ninth in the TC Of America and questions have to be asked about her possible decline. I am not so sure it does come down to that but whatever the reason she failed to cope when raised in class and i wonder whether she is quite good enough to beat the best of these on level weights.
Last work: 1.24 flat ridden handily over 7 at KEE

2 Valiant Champ, trained by Mcl Stables
A lightly raced three year old she won two from four as a two year old but didnt really fire until she broke three. Straight out of the gate she won the Foxy JG Stakes and then tried the KYO route with a run in the Acorn where she was well beaten and sealed her fate as a sprinter. Back to sprinting she got beat a nose in the Great lady M Stakes but then ran a cracker to be a one length third in the grade one Ballerina. Beaten that day by Where To Find Me and Gottahotone she proved she can live with the best over a sprint trip. Her last start in the LA Woman Stakes was a little disappointing so whilst she doesnt look the obvious choice on paper a very nice draw puts her right in this with a chance.
Last work: 59 and 1 breezing on this track over five furlongs

3 Phun Stick, trained by Axeman
Another fairly lightly raced three year old she only raced once as a two year old and spent her early career running on the grass. After just a maiden win she was switched to dirt for a go at the Acorn but finished down the field in tenth. Rather than go back to the turf she was sent sprinting on the dirt and has rewarded her trainer with some decent results culminating in this chance of BC glory. She looked speedy when taking an allowance in June and was then sent to the grade three Seaway where she again showed blistering pace to win by a quarter length. She then finished seventh in the CT oaks but improved on that last time out when a good third in the grade two Raven Run. I am not sure she quite has the class to win today but she has a great draw and is sure to show up for a long way.
last work: 1.11 and 4 breezing 6 furlongs on this track

4 Temple Of The Brave, trained by Crocker Cgs
Just an average two year old she really hit her stride at three and has won five from eight this year. Her good run of success started in March when she took two ungraded stakes in a row before taking on older horses in a handicap and gave them weight and a beating which is pretty unheard of, certainly in the real life world. That win screamed out her speed and class but  for some reason her trainer decided to take on older horses in a handicap again in The Honorable Miss and this time she couldnt perform the impossible under top weight. Finally her trainer seemed to get the message and then sent her to the Prioress where her speed and class shone again even though the muddy track was against her. Arguably her best race came in her prep for this which is a very good sign as she took out the TC of America by a very easy two lengths. When she gets to the front there has been nothing that can stay with her and with this super draw she will start among the favourites.
last work: 1.24 and 3 breezing over this course and distance.

5 Fangs, trained by John Henry
A winner of 6 from 12 this three year old has the right credentials to do well here. She sprinted well to take The Miss PS back in May but it is her last two starts that give her her best chance in this sprint championship race. She handled the mud to win the Grade one Test over this trip but that was a fairly light field and the fact that it was a muddy track threw the form lines out a little. Her last start may be a better guide to her chances as she ran a nice race in the CT Oaks to be third just a length behind General Flecha. On that form she has a little to find with the winner but it was a good effort and proves she can run with the best of these. A very competitive draw will help her cause.
Last work: 1.11 and 3 ridden handily over 6 furlongs at SA

6 Darling Smile, trained by Mb Stables
Her form or atleast her entires have been a bit all over the place but she proved in her last start she is still up to this grade. A winner of 7 from 11 she won 4 from 5 as a two year old ending her season with a win in The Princess Elizabeth Stakes. When she reappeared in the Forward Gal she continued her great run with another gutsy win over the seven furlongs. She raced from a wide draw next out in the Alexandra Stakes and even though she finished a disappointing seventh it was surprising to see her taking on overnight racing for the next 6 months. Whatever the reason she obviously needed time because it took her until August to win again but she repaid the trainers patience by following that win up with a victory in the PID Masters at grade two last time out. It is difficult to weigh her up but she clearly has ability and comes here pretty fresh, in top form and running from a nice draw.
Last work: 1.12 and 1 breezing 6 on this track.

7 Happy Clapper, trained by John Henry
An eight race winning daughter of Quench she has been very consistent this year never getting beaten more than a length in all her starts. She ran up a good sequence before being purchased by this stable but after failing in the Ballerina as a three year old she was eased back in grade to find her feet a little. This season has seen some good sprinting and a win in the Hendrie Stakes on a wet surface which may be her best bet for victory today. Having said that she is no one trick pony as she proved to get within a length of Darling Smile in the PID Masters last time out when fourth on a faster surface. She is sure to run her usual honest race and will be right in there for her owner with the only question being can she improve a little for today and grab some purse money.
Last work: 1.10 and 4 ridden handily over 6 furlongs at BEL

8 Black Sunshine, trained by John Henry
I wouldnt have been giving this one too much chance but a good win in the Raven Run last time from General Flecha makes her an interesting late entry. That race only gives her 2 weeks rest before this race which is a tough ask but General Flecha is a solid horse and she beat her fair and square. Bought for $225 after a win in the Fury Stakes she went on to run a good second in the Victory Road and a decent fifth in the Cotillion, good enough to give her a chance without that last win. Her draw is fair but it will all be down to how she came out of that last race.
last work: 33 and 4 ridden handily over the PRX 3 furlongs.

9 Gottahotone, trained by Team 7 Illusions
This four year old won a couple of ungraded stakes as a three year old and did the same at the start of this season but after a pricey looking $277 purchase by Team 7 Illusions she has been upped in grade and has performed well. Racing from a wide gate in the Ballerina she very nearly made all but had to settle for a close second to Where To Find Me. That was a very nice run from the wide gate and proved she could compete and maybe win a race like this. Her last start came in the Bloom Handicap where she again showed the early pace and only went down by a head to Dashboard Rahy. It will be interesting and probably decisive as to where she ends up in the running today because she has bags of early pace and runs well from the front but she has also done well from the stalk. Any further back that a couple of lengths early on may see her chances ruined.
Last work: a fast 34 and 3 for the three furlongs on this track

10 Your Are My Sunshine, trained by Stone Creek Farm
A bit of a dark horse in this race she is pretty close to a good few of these and wont be far away. Winning just once as a two year old she was kept to cheap lower end races until August picking up 4 wins in poor company. Proving once again that the class system is not relevant here at HRP she went from a little win at ELP to a great third in the Bernado Handicap and then an even better run when beaten just a head by Darling Smile in the PID Masters. Her last start saw a solid third in the L.A Woman Stakes and whilst they are all good efforts nothing screams BC winner to me. The draw will make it tough as she is an on speed type and i can see her getting stuck out wide.
Last work: 1.10 and 4 ridden handily at CT over 6 furlongs

11 Natural Zone, trained by Mb Stables
A lightly raced sort who only had one start at two she really exploded onto the scene at three distancing the field in The Skipat Stakes after an easy maiden win on seasonal debut. She went for the Acorn next but didnt stay the trip finishing seventh and then was brought back to sprinting in the Victory Ride where she came back to the winners circle a one length winner from Black Sunshine. She then got beat a length by Fangs in the grade one Test in the mud which set her up for this race nicely. An easy prep in an overnight at BEL and she comes here with a very nice record and bags of potential. The draw will cause her problems but if anyone can overcome them its her trainer.
Last work: 59 flat breezing 5 on this track.

12 Asclepios Trail, trained by Axeman
In the early part of this season i would’ve given this one a fair chance as she managed a decent second in the Vinery Madison and a good fourth in the Humana Distaff but since then she has been sold twice and has struglled a little to recapture that good form. She managed a fourth in the Bloom Handicap but was behind Gottahotone and getting weight so i cant see her turning that around and has since been given a go on turf to try and find herself again. She is still working well so the ability is still there but i havent seen enough improvement from this nasty draw to put her in my top four.
last work: a brisk 46 and 3 breezing 4 furlongs on this track.

13 Where To Find Me, trained by Mb Stables
A free track maiden winner after not racing at three she quickly got into her stride winning an allowance and an ungraded stakes before a bit of a surprise win in The grade one Ballerina. Believe it or not she started favourite for that race despite never having taken on graded stakes class before and also facing her multiple grade one winning stable companion Lea but the three year old weight allowance and crazy fast works were enough both for the punters and the win. Her last start saw her coming with her usual late run in the CT Oaks but she could only finish 4th on a track that certainly doesnt favor her running style. With plenty of speed in the race she will certainly be coming from behind again today it is just whether she can pick her way through a big field from this horrible wide draw.
last work: a solid 58 and 4 breezing her at DMR over 5 furlongs

14 Silk Houses, trained by Alydar Stables
A hard closing eighth in this race last year she raced from a horrible draw and actually ran a super race. This season has seen similar form with two grade three wins the last one in the Bed O Roses Handicap. Her last start was in the Honorable Miss Handicap where she was well beaten by a couple of todays runners and it is a bit of a struggle to see her turning that around. Having said that she did well last year and if that last race was just one of those HRP blips then she would have a good chance of atleast getting as close as she did in 2016 from yet another nightmare draw.
Last work: 1.12 and 2 breezing six on this track

AE’s
Set In Stone ran a nice mile work and certainly has some ability, not the worst of she draws in. Of the other two Cyclonic looks the best of them but she is a long way off of BC class despite a brisk pre BC work.

SUMMARY
With agreat draw everything is pointing towards Temple oF the Brave but looking outside that one i think Natural Zone and Where To Find Me are dangers if they cope with their draws and Fangs and Gottahotone shouldnt be discounted.



Categories: BC 2017, Grade I, Races, STAKES ARTICLES, The Breeders' Cup

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