DED Jackpot (Grade 1)- $1,000.000 Purse
DED- For Two Year Olds
One Mile and One Eighth on the Dirt
November 18, 2017
Last year in this race, I scored the biggest win of my training career. I was unable to watch it live, and recall part of my day that day had me driving past Saratoga Race Course, at around the time this race was running online. As I drove by the exit, which was rare for me when the meet was not in session, I thought to myself that this might be a good omen. Logging into the HRP, I made sure I hid all information that would be able to tell me how I performed in the race before watching it live. So even though it was a couple hours late, I still had thrill of watching Night Terra in the stretch, and cheering for him to hang on. Fortunately, no one else was home, so I could be as loud as needed to be. I had to pinch myself, then it set in when I looked at the larger amount in my account. It was part of a big weekend for me as Slither also picked up a big ungraded stake win. For once, I had experienced the highs of this game. Then, in his next work after the race, he turned out a career best. Excitement built even more. Then, a switch was flipped off, somehow while he was at the farm. Nothing was done differently. It didn’t make sense how it happened, and others in the barn saw similar around the same time so it was not just Night Terra. The lowest of the lows, and the realization that no matter why this happened, actively playing this game at the pay level just was not for me. It’s a year later. I hope this year’s winner has a better fate. Let’s meet this field, one that seems evenly matched with no particular standout.
#1- Indistinguishable (Mb Stables, ridden by J R Velazquez)- On the rail, this Moment Of Madness colt has gotten his career off on the right foot, winning three of five. This includes two CA-bred stakes over the summer, the Nevin and the Graduation, each $100.000 purses. Showing versatility, one was won while on the lead, and the other was won coming from behind. About six weeks ago, he went long for the first time, in the Grade 1 Frontrunner, and finished in the middle of the field. Should be a contender here.
#2- Tallmadge (Oquinn Farm, ridden by J Bravo)- Last week, the trainer purchased this colt from Sccj Stables for $200.000, which netted Sccj a nice $175.000 profit after one race. The price looks to be a bit of a gamble, as after all, he’s only won once in five starts, but he is working nicely. His only attempt was two races ago in a MTH allowance, and he did not run that well. Surely, he has gotten better since then, and looks to impress here.
#3- Theory (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by I Ortiz Jr)- A strong summer saw Theory win three races as he steadily moved up in class, and that was highlighted by his win in the $200.000 Funny Side for NY-breds at SAR towards the end of that meet. All of those wins were at shorter distances, so his attempt last month at the Grade 1 Champagne was extra tough in that it was the first time he ran longer. There are several in here that are working better, but you can’t discount this Naigra colt.
#4- People Doubted (Mb Stables, ridden by R J Albarado)- The second entry for the trainer in this race, People Doubted is looking like one that is going to keep wanting longer and longer distances. After a few tries to break his maiden, he finally broke through in August, but an allowance win in September at PRX shows that he keeps liking the gradual progression in race distance. He ran third last month at the Grade 1 Breeders Futurity, making him a strong contender to get the trainer’s second DED Jackpot win.
#5- Johannes (Eastern Equine, ridden by R Bejarano)- After a couple of races did not impress, the trainer gave Johannes the snip on the day of the race in September at BEL. Amazingly, Johannes showed no ill effects of having been gelded earlier in the day, and would break his maiden at BEL, earning a 93 SRF. Only Rootin Tootin has scored a higher SRF in a race, so don’t look past Johannes just because he doesn’t have as impressive of a past history. He’s been training here for the past month, and is ready to roll.
#6- Cheapsnake (Smokey Stover, ridden by J R Leparoux)- This was the post that Night Terra broke from and won from last year, so I love the irony that there is a Snakie foal starting from the post. Snakie is out of the same mare that Night Terra was. My decision to enter him into that race was because of a big maiden win at a mile that impressed me. Cheapsnake is doing that, too. Looked good in his win at MTH, and he has had a couple months to prepare for this. He might not be the best pick or the favorite, but this is who I am going to be rooting for. Regardless, I hope the career ends better for Smokey.
#7- Past And Present (Mb Stables, ridden by F Pennington)- This is another case of a horse being gelded working out. The third Mb Stables entry did not get the job done in his first three races, which included a dismal outing at BEL. That would be the final straw, and Past And Present would lose his ability to breed because of it. He responded well, with a late October victory going long up at FL to break his maiden, and he is entered here off that race. Turned in a nice work last week. Likely not the strongest chance for the trainer in the race, but he has proven me wrong plenty of times before.
#8- Tune Me Up (John Henry, ridden by J L Ortiz)- Sometimes to be successful, you have to look bad before you look good. While Tune Me Up did fine in sprints, his first try at going long saw him get gassed in the Grade 1 Champagne and quickly drop out of contention after being on the lead. He’ll try again, with adjustments obviously being made to make sure he can handle the distance a lot better. Worked very nicely here last week, and is poised to bounce back nicely.
#9- Rootin Tootin (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by J J Castellano)- This colt has won just one of six starts, and his last three races have been at the graded level, so he’s getting valuable experience. In July, at the Grade 3 Sanford at SAR, he was a non-factor, when starting near at the back. At the Grade 1 Hopeful at the same track six weeks later, he ran with the leaders and was a far more competitive fourth. Though last month at the Grade 1 Champagne, he was at the back early and got closer late. He has talent, and is learning. Maybe this will be his race.
#10- Tyreese (Threshold, ridden by C H Velazquez)- The trainer hopes to extend the SRF-writer stranglehold on this race to two with this FL-bred. He’s won one of four, and has mostly been seen running with the FL-bred condition. His last race saw him attempt the sloppy $400.000 In Reality, part of the FL Sire Series, and he came on late, but was mainly a non-factor. Works are showing that he can be a contender, but we know the trainer was not ecstatic to see the post draw.
#11- Champion In Action (Night Rider Stables, ridden by R Maragh)- From the outside, we come to this Natural Drummer colt that will have all the other jockeys looking over their head in the stretch. Champion In Action’s style may make this post not be all that bad as he looks to come from well off the pace. He has also been seen in a lot of FL-bred races, and also comes here out of the $400.000 In Reality, and he was three lengths better then Tyreese in that race, finishing third. I’m not sure, though, how much early pace there will be in this race, so Champion In Action has to be sure not to fall too far back, or else the hole likely will be too big to overcome.