Can Zombies Be Controlled In KY Jockey Club?

KY Jockey Club (Grade 2) (KYD)- $200.000 Purse
CD- For Two Year Olds
One Mile and One Sixteenth on the Dirt
November 25, 2017

Points for the KYD are on the line on Saturday, even though the big race is still five and a half months away. Who knows, perhaps what is earned here will be the difference between a horse qualifying for the Derby, and another being left out. With some of the better two year olds currently having just raced in the BC Juvenile, or in the DED Jackpot, this race provides an opportunity perhaps for horses will be on the bubble later on to earn valuable points. Last year, and in the last three even numbered years, Mb Stables was the winner of the race. Call Of Destiny got it done in 2012, and finished 8th in the KYD the following May, but with Sarah Stables. 2014 winner Much Notoriety did not run in the KYD, nor did 2016 winner Final Delivery. When other stables had the chance to win this race in odd numbered years, 2013 winner Pistol Whip was towards the back in the Derby for Sanny Village, and 2015 winner Swift Winner, while still active, has never won another race. That is just the recent history, as the race does date back to 2003. Let’s see what happens this year, as the starting gate will be full.

#1- Id Rather Go Blind (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by C J Lanerie)- As the distances started to get longer for him, Id Rather Go Blind, finally began to show considerable promise. Late in September, he broke his maiden at BEL going a mile against a smaller field, but showed it was not a fluke with an impressive runner up performance at the $200.000 Juvenile Stallion Stakes at CD. In a race without a true standout, that’s as good of a resume as anyone else in this field, and it is always good to start on the rail in this game.

#2- Mean Err Pirate (Estero Farms, ridden by R Santana Jr)- Participated in a couple of strong NY-bred races, the $200.000 Funny Side at SAR, and the NY Breeders Futurity, and finished in the middle of each field. Decent runs, but the type that might make you wonder if gelding will make a difference. Lo and behold, that is exactly what Estero Farms has since done with Mean Err Pirate, and now we will see how much of a difference it can make. It could be a winning move.

#3- Moneyballer (Mb Stables, ridden by C H Borel)- Did not show much when sprinting over the course of five starts, winning just one smaller race. This led to him being placed in the auction by former trainer Smokey Stover, where he was then acquired by Mb Stables for $38.130 in September. With all the talent in his stable, it says something that he went out and purchased this one, so we’ll see if he can work his magic with Moneyballer. It will be their first race together.

#4- Splash Mountain (Smokey Stover, ridden by C Hill)- This is one of my favorites in this field, because he knows how to get to the winners circle, having done so in three out of five races. His one stake attempt, the Grade 1 FrontRunner at SA in late September, saw him finish in the middle of the field, but it was overall a tight pack. He followed that up nicely with his allowance win where he earned a 93 SRF, so I expect a strong performance as he returns to graded company, but not quite FrontRunner quality.

#5- Joffre (Mb Stables, ridden by F De La Cruz)- Acquired by Mb Stables in June from Jerry Garcia with a $43.580 winning bid, Joffre had been on a turf path up until he ran in the rain in the Grade 3 Borbon, and finished way out of it. The trainer had enough, put him on the main track, and picked up a win in the $80.000 Street Sense late last month. As is the case with many here, this race is key to see how he follows up his potential, and that is a little unknown right now. I’m looking elsewhere, but do not rule him out.

#6- Zombie City (Pan Farms, ridden J R Leparoux)- This looks like the horse to beat in this race, even if he has only won one out of five starts. Early in his career, he showed potential with a couple of strong second place runs, and the trainer figured that was good enough to graduate him from maidens, anyway. That proved to be a good decision as Zombie City ran very well in two NY-bred stakes, scoring another second in the Bongard before ultimately winning the Sleepy Hollow last month. All Zombie City has needed, it appears, was for the races to begin increasing in distance, and he has taken a true liking for it. His 95 SRF for the Sleepy Hollow has been topped by only one in the field, and we’ll be getting to him next.

#7- Controlled Lion (Our Athletes, ridden by B J Hernandez Jr)- The colt by Controlled Hook also looks to be a top threat in this field as he moves east from racing solely in California thus far (which is always good to see in our virtual world). During the summer, he scored a win in the $100.000 SA Juvenile, and in his last start, he did nothing wrong in a second place run at the CA-bred GS Juvenile at the beginning of this month. He earned a 97 SRF for that race, which is the highest that anyone here as earned in their career. As an aside, keep an eye on the winner of that race, Residue. That race was seven furlongs, so the question mark for him, and why I put him behind Zombie City is distance. He’ll be fine, but I think his rival may have the upper hand at it.

#8- Living Healthy (First Class Stable, ridden by J S Rocco Jr)- Put his name on the radar a couple of months ago when he ran second in the Grade 3 Iroquois, which is always a race that attracts some of the best two year olds. That race was won by What Have You Done, who proceeded to finish fourth in the BC Juvenile this month. In that performance, he came from well off the pace and gained seven lengths in the final two and a half furlongs. The follow up saw him go to the lead against allowance company, but get passed by a couple late. Instructions may be extra important for this one.

#9- Babalu Time (Night Rider Stables, ridden by M Mena)- This WV-bred has spent a lot of time running in his home state, and on the bullring known as CT. The results have been good, with a pair of wins against that crowd. His biggest win was the $50.000 Mercer Memorial in late September. That’s a four and half furlong sprint, so for many reasons this race is a lot different then what he has ever seen before. That does not mean that he can’t step up, and there are similar in this situation here.

#10- The Drifter (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by J K Court)- The Flick The Switch colt has won two out of four career races, and that includes his most recent run, which was an allowance win at BEL. That came last month with an impressive stretch run. Its an effort that should mean he will have no problems drifting to this longer distance. It seems like he is missing a little spark in here when comparing him to the others in the field. He’s certainly capable, but I think his biggest wins are yet to come, other then right now.

#11- Geek Once Over (Nakamura Stables, ridden by A L Canchari)- Nakamura Stables had no luck with the post draw, at all, with his only two horses starting for the two outermost posts. Geek Once Over comes from the strong and underrated Knowledge Geek bloodline. He would debut very cheaply, in a $3.000 maiden claimer at MD, and has since begun to thrive as the races have gone longer. He is still lightly raced, and takes on the strongest field he has ever faced. I like him a little more then the trainer’s other entry.

#12- Dominant Position (Nakamura Stables, ridden by C Landeros)- From the outside, the second of the trainer’s entries also makes his stake debut. He’s won one of four in his career thus far, doing it more impressively then did Geek One Over, coming at SAR. I would have more confidence in him to have a dominant position in this race, if he ran better in his last race, and allowance at BEL. That’s the same race that we earlier reference The Drifter as having won, and Dominant Position was three lengths behind him. There could be a very good reason for that, but I will pass on him here.

Prediction: 6-7-4-2

Categories: Grade II, STAKES ARTICLES

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