Go For Wand Handicap (Grade 3)- $200.000 Purse
AQU- For Fillies and Mares Three Years Old and Upward
One Mile on the Dirt
December 2, 2017
A small field of five assembled at The Big A on Saturday for the 12th running of the Go For Wand Handicap, a race that was once held at SAR during its early days, while going for a little higher of a purse. It was also a Grade 1 during that time. 2017 will be the seventh time that the race has been run at AQU, and carries its Grade 3 designation for the fourth straight year. That’s a steady decline, as the first three years at AQU saw it be a Grade 2. Field sizes have not been affected in our game, as it really has never drawn big fields. In 2016, we saw just four runners, and the race was won by Spark Racing and El Gran Tigercat. She’s still active, but has not won since. However, she’s also only raced twice since and neither nor her trainer have been seen since March. Let’s take a look at our field here.
#1- Library Of Congress (Royalty Racing, ridden by A A Gallardo)- The only filly in this field that is not carrying 119 pounds, as she will carry 120. That’s interesting, because she is also the only one in here without any graded stake experience. She is being penalized in this handicap for her win in the $145.000 OKC Distaff last month. Winning is something she has been accustomed too, with four wins in seven starts, and outside of her debut, she has never finished off the board. That said, every single race other then her debut has been a five-horse field. She’ll be looking to come on strong from behind.
#2- Therapy (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by R Bejarano)- The four year old has won two of 14 starts in her career, and seemed to take a while to break her maiden. That second victory came in her last start, which was an allowance at GG that was also her return to the main track after attempting the grass a few times. It was her best start in her career, which is important because the speed figures do look like she is going to have to at least equal that to have a chance here. A couple others in here seem better, to me.
#3- Chase (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by J R Velazquez)- This Mr Creepy filly has mostly been sprinting lately, and most recently saw a win in the Iroquois, a $150.000 ungraded event for NY-bred females. It was six and a half furlongs, and in it she ran a career high SRF of 98. Her final half furlong was impressive, so maybe she has been wanting this distance for a while. The only try at over a mile is a race I don’t want to put too much stock on, as it was in April against better competition, and she may have lost the race at the start. I doubt she will be that far back at the start, here.
#4- The Reaper (John Henry, ridden by J Rosario)- You can combine the earnings of the other four in the field, triple it, and still not attain the over $2,300.000 in earnings that The Reaper has had over her 27-race career. It’s been glorious, as she won the 2014 BC Juvenile Fillies, and followed it up by winning the KYO in 2015. She has not won another stake since the KYO. That “what have you done for me lately” crowd will criticize her, but she still has the ability to win, with two allowance triumphs this year. Her two graded efforts, the Phipps and DEL Handicap, both $750.000 Grade 1’s, were not bad runs, by any means. She won’t see any Notarized Kate’s here, and I think she’s still running good enough to be the horse to beat in this field.
#5- Work Out (Mb Stables, ridden by I Ortiz Jr)- Finally, the Ice Warrior filly has got off to a promising start in a still young career, with three wins in five career starts. Those wins were not always at a high level, twice coming at LS, and once at LAD before attempting graded company at CD in September in the Grade 3 Locust Grove. She was one of three entries by the trainer in that five horse field, and ran second. I’m not sure how much weight I want to put on that, but she still has a lot of potential and is one to watch here, and going forward.