The New Orleans Handicap- Grade II
FG Race 12 1 1/8M Dirt
Purse $400.000 For
Four Year Olds and Up
While this race may have not drawn the best older male dirt routers, it has some horses looking to make the jump to the big stage of racing with the goal being the Breeders Cup Classic. The weight spread between low and high is only four pounds, so this is an evenly matched group. With the racing season really starting to heat up this is an interesting race so let’s look at the field.
1 Bay Of Plenty, trained by Team 7 Illusions
Here’s a horse that will be going over 7 furlongs for the first time in his career. He’s a top-notch sprinter but with more money to be made routing there’s no surprise he’s trying out the longer distances. He’s a grade one winner and ran a very good race in last year’s Breeders Cup Sprint finishing 4th. The big question though is if he can get the distance.
2 Charley Cowgirl, trained by Fractious
The lowest weighted horse in the field has only run twice at a routing distance and hasn’t hit the board in either start. He looks outclassed on paper and not looking like he can get the distance. The only way he wins is if he gets a perfect trip and if the weight break can help him out at all.
3 King Louie X I V, trained by Mb Stables
The only entry from champion trainer Mb Stables is this horse. After winning the NY Derby at FL last summer he’s only run three times, finding the winners circle once. His last start was a very average effort, but it was on the slop at a distance he had never run before, so I’ll give him a pass. The question is how good he is and if he’s ready to run in his first start of the year.
4 Jesse The Bandit, trained by Smokey Stover
Last year this horse was mainly campaigned in sprint races. He ran 7th in the Breeders Cup Sprint and then was sold for $65.01. After winning the San Antonio Stakes he ran a poor 7th in the General George at LRL. This will be his first start for his new trainer after he bought him for $80.00. Worked a very fast mile prepping for this and although he has top weight must be considered a serious contender.
5 Stanger, trained by Sanny Village
The class of the field here with almost $1,100 in career earnings. A NY Derby winner in 2015 he has been campaigned in the biggest route races and has shown well. His best performance was in the Alysheba at CD in the slop on derby day last year where he ran a monster to win by 11 lengths in a dead heat. A recent allowance win shows he still has some in the tank and is my pick to win the race.
6 Jason Bourne, trained by Maxmillion Farm
Has been stretched out in his last two trips to the post and seems to have found his best stride winning both. His last effort was at today’s distance, but it was a muddy surface so not sure what we can take away from that. This will be a step up in class so will need to run his best to have any chance.
7 Rookaholic, trained by TwinTowersRacing
After being a turf horse most of his career and being graded stakes placed, he ran 2nd in the Grade 1 Clark at CD last year. A not so great effort in a four-horse allowance at SA last out worries me a little bit but seems to be working decently. I would not be surprised if he won nor would I be shocked if he ran last.
8 Seminole, trained by On The Map Racing
You do not run across many auto gens in the game any more and certainly not in stakes races but we have one here. Has finished first or second in 8 of 11 career starts including a couple of grade 3’s. Does her running on the front end and since she has drawn outside can be confident she will be setting the pace here. If she can slow the pace down she has a big chance.
With some good classy horses, a sprinter trying to stretch out, and some horses looking to make the jump to big time races, this looks to be an exciting race. Stranger is the pick of the race but Seminole and King Louie X I V should make it a battle and nobody can be completely ruled out.