Palos Verdes Stakes – Grade II
SA Race #7 6f Dirt Graded Stake
Purse $200.000 For Four Year Olds And Upward.
1 Red Matic, trained by Witeout Stables
His season took off as a three year old when switched back to sprinting after a spring campaign. A close third in the Amsterdam he then ran from the widest gate and after running a wide stalk managed to find enough to win the Grade One Jerkens Memorial. That run was a huge effort and really announced him as a BC Sprint contender but the luck of the draw was against him in a big way after that win and he could only do well without winning again. With 4 horrible draws in a row he gets the inside gate today and i think he may be a very good chance.
2 Oh Awesome One, trained by John Henry
Second in this race in 2016 his career took off in that race and he has been a regular in top sprints ever since. 3 garde three wins and a grade two as well he certainly has the credentials to run up to his 2016 effort but as he turns 6 years old you have to be wary of decline. His works are still strong so i expect an honest effort but a place may be his best chance.
3 Z One Chance, trained by Serenity Stables
A lightly raced four year old he was a close second to Oh Awesome One in the Midnight Lute Stakes on the 30th December and is entitled to improve on that run. His works have been very sharp since that first graded stakes effort and i would have to put him on my short list of possible winners for this race.
4 Glorious, trained by Spankys Barn
He burst onto the scene last year just as the three year olds were starting their domination of the grade one all aged stakes races. Before the grade one Crosby he had won three overnights in a row but had never even tried an ungraded stakes but noone told this horse and he ran them into the ground for a never headed win. Though he couldnt win in 3 efforts after that he did the next best thing finishing second in each of them including a brilliant run in the BC Sprint. He is certainly the standout on recent form but his works are pretty much the same as everything else and we will have to wait and see how he does without the three year old weight allowance.
5 Bay Of Plenty, trained by Team 7 Illusions
A length behind Glorious in the BC Sprint when fourth he had run a huge race to win the Vosburgh prior to that and was a big find last year. The same thing applies to him as Glorious however in that he doesnt get the three year old weight allowance anymore which brings him right back into the pack. Never worse than fourth in 11 runs last year he is another that is in with a winning chance.
6 Swamp Fox, trained by Blushing Meadows
This old warrior is now seven years old but with 12 wins and nearly $2K in prize money you can never write him off in these big races. Better known as a turf sprinter he was a magnificent third in the BC Turf Sprint last year but proved he can run on dirt with a gutsy win in the Fall Highweight Handicap and worked a swift dirt five furlongs just a couple of days ago. He will certainly be in it at the end but it whether the old legs can muster a finish in what is a very hot tight race.
7 Dust In The Wind, trained by John Henry
We are lucky enough to have 3 of the first 4 home in the BC Sprint in this race and this one was third on that day. I feel a bit like a broken record saying it but that form may be a bit skewed as the three year olds were killing the older horse with the weight allowance last year and that doesnt exist now so things will be much closer. With 21 starts he has been busy in his career and only really started to shine in the second half of last year but he is working strongly and joins a whole bunch of horses with a chance in this.
8 Awesome Indeed, trained by Twin Towers Racing
Lightly raced he is one of the less accomplished in the field with just the one win in black type in a small ungraded handicap. His work times are comparable but his form isnt and a wide gate may have ruled out the sneaky little chance he did have.
9 Dark Phooey, trained by Ekli Stable
A nice type with plenty of good runs to recommend him but he may be just below the sort of class that has turned up today. He was pretty impressive in taking the Gallant Bob Stakes last season but he will have to improve a few pounds on that win to be competitive.
10 Inevitability, trained by Smokey Stover
The winner of four from six he took the Mr Prospector last time out with a huge late run and has since changed hands to Smokey Stover. That move will only help him step up further and the wide gate may not be too much of a hinderance as he likes to close hard so should go back rather than forward from the wide gate. My only fear for him is that the trip may be on the short side.
This is a field good enough for a late season grade one so we are pretty lucky to see a race of this quality in February. There are plenty of chances here and its tough to be confident so i am going a little out of the square and going for Red Matic to take victory at hopefully long odds. He has really suffered at the hands of the draw lottery and get a much better gate today to try and turn round the BC form.