San Pasqual Stakes – Grade II
SA Race #8 1 1/8m Dirt Graded Stake
Purse $200.000 For Four Year Olds And Upward.
This whole card is looking like BC day and this race is no exception. Get a warm toddy, a blanket and enjoy November in February!
1 Royal leader, trained by Mb Stables
This one is rather typical of the Mb Stables model. A free track debut, a mid level maiden win and one win allowance and then graded stakes winner all in 5 races. Clearly this one has the magic HRP gene as not only did he win the HAW Gold Cup with a multiple stakes winner behind him but also worked 1.36 flat a couple of weeks ago. He faces some tough competition and two of the best horses from last season but he looks like the best horse in the race today in HRP’s rather unique form book.
2 Iron Step, trained by Sc Lanciano
He went from cheap claimer to stakes winner last year when he took the Berkeley Handicap and whilst none of that form would be good enough today i did rather like his effort in the San Antonio from a wide draw. There is no doubt he has found a lot of improvement from his early starts but this is a very strong field and he would have had to improved again to win.
3 Shootfromthehip, trained by Nakamura Stables
He was a big horse last year winning three grade ones including that famous victory in the KYD. What you mustn’t forget is that he was also second in the BEL and beaten only a length when fourth in the BC Classic so make no bones this was very nearly the best dirt router in the game last year. So the big question is, has he trained on? In some ways i am a little disappointed he wasn’t given a bit more time off as his last start was only 5 weeks ago and that was the run of a jaded horse. But, Nakamura knows him well and obviously feels he can run well here. At his best a very strong chance, if he needs a bit longer off he may disappoint.
4 Fat Lady, trained by Hambletonian Stables
This is a nice horse but nice horse or not the penalty he carries pretty much rules him out of the race. Its a shame as he was quite brilliant in the Autumn Stakes last November flying late to win by a length but this is a well above average field and the odds are against him.
5 Curveball, trained by Luz International
Lightly raced and improving but up against it against three very nice horses. He bobbed around in some fair races last year but didnt set the world a lite until his last start in the Robb Stakes when he ran a super race to win by a length. Not a no hoper but he may be battling for fourth.
6 Clash Study, trained by Smokey Stover
This one just kept improving last year winning six in a row at one point. He was very impressive in the PA Derby where he beat Shootfromthehip and Laffin Parrot and was many peoples fancy to go the whole way and take the BC Classic as well. His run at DMR was pretty disappointing as he was a no show in tenth but looking at how far he was beaten just makes you laugh when you consider his finishing position and you realise it wasnt as bad as it looked. His 1.36 flast work a couple of weeks ago was only 2/100ths slower than Royal Leader and he has accomplished a lot more so though it should be close his record puts him on top.
7 Laffin Parrot, trained by Mo Mentum Farm
This horse never got the credit he deserved after his eight length win in the Queens Plate and was somewhat ridiculed after the rain turned the track into a bog that day. I really liked the way this gelding proved he was no wet tracker with a few good efforts including a brilliant run in the PA Derby where he was only a length behind Clash Study when running from gate 12. He finished the season with a solid win from another poor draw in The Discovery Handicap and he really believe he may be the dark horse in the race.
Wow, two of last seasons best dirt routers clashing in February, it doesnt happen often but this is going to be a real treat to warm up Winter.
O works it looks like Clash Study Versus Royal Leader. On accomplishments its between Clash Study and Shootfromthehip. Though those three look the obvious trifecta i am going outside the box and expect Laffin Parrot to overcome his third bad draw in a row.