Newsnight Has Tough Post to Overcome in Davis Stakes

The Davis Stakes (Grade 3) (KYD)- $250.000 Purse
TAM- For Three Year Olds
One Mile and One Sixteenth on the Dirt
February 10, 2018

Let’s get set for the 14th running of the Davis Stakes, a Grade 3 event held at TAM that has valuable points for the KYD on the line. It’s a race that we know one thing with certainty: Mb Stables will not win. The star trainer drew posts 11 and 12 in the post draw, and subsequently scratched out both of his entries, in search of a better spot in the gate somewhere else. Such a move is very telling about the state of the game and the importance of the post position though, you can’t help but notice that obvious situation when a trainer like Mb does as he did here. There’s likely not a trainer in the game who would second guess that move. Two also eligibles move into those two spots, so the gate will still be full. Mb Stables won this race last year with Profound Connection, who at the time was seen as a top threat to win the KYD. Showing that it is still early in prep race season, Profound Connection peaked a bit too soon, and despite just missing in the Travers later in the summer, never won a stake again. 2014 winner Laffin To Mia, however, did win the KYD, though as a 13/1 longshot. It’s time to meet our field for this race, so here they are.

#1- Cheapsnake (John Henry, ridden by T C Baze)- Frequently the subject of private sales transactions early in his career, John Henry picked up the Snakie gelding for $200.000 gelding in November, and they have had one race together, though he did not impress, coming in the $100.000 Mucho Macho Man. That result cost him his ability to breed. His work times have shown considerable progress since that last race, so put that into the equation with coming off the geld, and he’s quite the sleeper in this field.

#2- Audioslave (Alydar Stables, ridden by J Rose)- This gelding hopes to turn loud music into loud cheers in his effort to pick up a win the Davis Stakes, but like Cheapsnake the past performances are not going to stand out at you. In September, Audioslave struggled to finish 9th at the Grade 3 Iroquois, his only stake attempt to this point. Unlike Cheapsnake, I am not seeing the same kind of progress in his works, but it’s been a while since he worked a mile publicly.

#3- Creep City II (D J C Racing Stables, ridden G Boulanger)- A winner of three races in seven starts thus far, although he has not won since starting out three-for-four. That stretch was highlighted by winning the $75.000 ELP Juvenile, and after that race, we began to see the trainer try to get Creep City II to run a mile or longer. It began in the Grade 3 Iroquois, where he was passed in the stretch and only finished 5th, and neither the Sleepy Hollw for NY breds or the RP Springboard Mile could see him finish in the money. He’s had some rest, but I would have liked to have seen a little better work from him on January 14th, in comparison to his November work. Not much change.

#4- Storming Cobra (Mo Momentum Farm, ridden by V Espinoza)- Two Snakie foals in this race, I love seeing that. I’d never have sold him if I planned on continuing to breed, and eventually one will do a little more then Slither and others have done before him. Maybe its Cheapsnake, or maybe its Storming Cobra, of whom Mo Momentum Farm picked up in private sales recently for $80.000. Their first race together was successful, as Storming Cobra won the $75.000 Gold Rush at GG. Now, he takes the next step forward, and while it seems like a tough assignment, I like that his career is definitely on the upswing.

#5- Living Healthy (First Class Stable, ridden by R J Albarado)- This has been a consistent racehorse in his career thus far with six finishes in the money out of seven starts. That was highlighted by an impressive wire to wire victory in the Grade 2 KY Jockey Club last November, but just when things were looking good, there would be that race that ended up being a setback. Was Living Healthy carrying too much weight? Of course, I am talking about the $100.000 Mucho Macho Man, where he carried 127 pounds compared to everyone else carrying 121. I can’t completely throw that race out yet, but I can look past it for now, and think Living Healthy is back in good shape.

#6- Thrilling Mist (Crocker Ggs, ridden by J J Castellano)- After running second in an optional claimer at this distance three weeks or so ago, Thrilling Mist makes a big jump into stakes company. That race was also his first time running over a mile after several short sprints, so we could look at it as just being a tune up for this. Work times seem to be pretty good, and he deserves a shot to take on this company. He won’t be the favorite, but cannot be overlooked.

#7- Lane Frost (Sanny Village, ridden by J Talamo)– Sanny acquired this colt by Thats Entertainment for $210.000 in private sales following his win in the $100.000 Kittens Joy, a race in which he earned an impressive 97 SRF. It was third of three wins in a row for Lane Frost, but if you’re thinking, “Isn’t the Kittens Joy a turf race?”, you are correct. That is where Lane Frost has made his living so far, so the story here will be to see how he handles the change back to the main track. I think it is going to go very well.

#8- Yanoro (Blushing Meadows, ridden by D E Centeno)- The lightly raced gelding is making the fourth start of his career, and is coming off a win in a statebred maiden at GP last month. That race came on the turf, and he seemed to be working well on the grass, but the trainer hopes that form can also be seen on the main track. Put in a good work, showing progress at SA at a mile, coming after that race, and a little progression puts him in the mix here.

#9- Mister Force (Brave, ridden by K J Desormeaux)- It’s been a while since I have seen Spanish Force as the sire of a promising horse like this, that is something that used to be more of a common occurrence. Mister Force has been sprinting for most of his career, though there was one try over a mile, which was the Grade 3 Iroquois, and he finished five lengths, running 10th, behind Living Healthy, who was second. He’s struggled against graded company, but the talent is there. Eventually, the results will come.

#10- Newsnight (Sir Daniel Martin, ridden by J R Velazquez)- If it was not for the double digit number on his saddle cloth, he would be my pick to win this race. But with Mb Stables scratching out not one, but two entries that would have started immediately to his outside, how much of a disadvantage is it really to be starting from this post, and how much extra will Newsnight have to overcome in order to win this race? On talent alone, I do think he is the class of the field. There’s been three straight wins, which is culminated by a triumph in the RP Springboard Mile, and I recall being rather impressed with that performance. Speed figures continually get better. There’s everything to like, except for the post, but I am still going to make him my pick anyway. Let’s see if he can buck the trend!

#11- Secret To Success- Scratched

#12- Wild Fame- Scratched

#13- Lg The Menace (Jkk Racing Stable, ridden by F Pennington)- Drawing into the first spot after the scratches, Lg The Menace will seek to win the second race of his career in his seventh race. He’s no stranger to stake company, having attempted the Grade 3 Pilgrim and $100.000 Awad, but like a couple others, those were turf races, and on the main track he is a little more untested. He’s usually in the mix, but has to overcome a tough post, which will be the 11th post here.

#14- Maniaco del Controll (Threshold, ridden by C S Nakatani)- Starting all the way out on the outside, which we know this trainer is not fond of, Maniaco del Controll looks for his second win in his eighth start. He comes into this race after breaking his maiden at TUP on the grass in his last race, coming in mid-December. Because of the drop down in class for that one, and the struggles to win against tougher company, I am hesitant to see him as a threat in this race, and that would have been the case from anywhere in the starting gate.

Prediction: 10-5-1-7

— NS

Categories: Grade III, STAKES ARTICLES

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