The Razorback Handicap – Grade III
OP Race #1 1 1/16m Dirt Graded Stake
Purse $500.000 For Four Year Olds And Upward.
With the two top weights scratched this has become the silliest looking ‘handicap’ yet run at HRP. With 2Lb between the runners it seems none will be handicapped by the handicap.
2 American Deal, trained by Nakamura Stables
This one has been winning pretty regularly at a lower grade but with very little difference between the grades we can safely assume that he is up to this assignment. His last start win in The Jazil was super impressive, cruising home by three lengths in a fast run race. With the inside today he should be able to get into the stalk again and if he can do what he did last time again i expect him to almost win.
3 Evil Position, trained by Maxmillion Farm
A tough tryer who has been knocking on the door for a while now. He ran second in the San Pasqual Stakes and third in the Marathon last year but could only win at lower levels suggesting he may be just below the level needed to win here. Sure to run a solid race but would need one or two others to get into trouble to have a chance of winning.
4 Two Codes, trained by D J C Racing Stables
A lightly raced four year old who has improved significantly recently. The best he could manage last year was a couple of smaller overnight races but he came out like a different horse in January when he took The Kenner Stakes by a fairly comfortable length. Although that last win was over six furlongs he should stay this trip well enough but he will have to improve again to be in at the sharp end.
5 Copper Beast, trained by Night Rider Stables
I am not sure how he ended up with bottom weight but this five year winner of over $3,000.000 has some of the best form in the race. Second in the KYD as a three year old he was also second in the BC Classic that year making him one of the best of his generation. As a four year old he was only beaten a length when fourth in both the Pegasus and the Foster Handicap but like a lot of very good three year olds he struggled to find his best form last season. His seasonal reappearance was a little disappointing and had a couple of flags raised when a pretty well beaten fourth in the Jazil behind American Deal. His best form wins this but his best form may have come and gone.
6 Cube Zero, trained by Aml Racing
There’s plenty to like about his form but with just the one win to his name questions have to be asked about his will to win. He was huge when second for Yahudi Stables in the Pacific Classic by far his best ever performance but since joining Aml Stables he has failed to show the same sparkle. His seasonal reappearance in the Skip Away came from an outisde gate so he can be excused a pretty non descript effort and what may be a more telling piece of information is the 1.36 and 1 work out he did a couple of weeks ago. His works have taken a definite turn for the better recently and if that is signalling a return to his Pacific Classic form then he could win this.
8 Charley Cowgirl, trained by Fractious
Has been running over shorter than this but running like he could get this trip all the same. Claimed for just $25.000 last summer he improved dramatically running a nice race in the Jerkens memorial before taking a high level allowance. He was a close sixth in The malibu last time running on strongly at the end of the seven furlongs and as he has worked a 1.36 and 2 this year i reckon he may be ready for this step up. An interesting entry with no weight on his back he may be a good bet at a bigger price.
9 Clear My Way, trained by Mb Stables
The champion trainer has this winner of five from eight in a good spot here especially when you consider how easily he won an overnight at the end of last year. Generally running in lower grade he has been super consistent and with a 1.36 flat work out at the end of January you have to take his chances very seriously even with a wider gate.
10 Shake, trained by Mb Stables
Took the grade three MTH Cup last year and was then a very close fifth in the grade one Travers. Those efforts were very good and after a blip in the OK Derby he has looked in good shape taking two confidence boosting wins at over night level. Like all the stable runners his works are super quick and with two runners in the field the trainer should be able to negate atleast one of the wide draws.
With both Mb Stables runners drawn wide you would expect atleast one of them to get away with it so its more of a matter of guessing which one rather than looking at the rest of the field. Failing one of the Mb two Cube Zero looks to be working his way back to form and American Ideal looks like an improver.