The Pan American – Grade II
GP Race #9 1 1/2m InTurf Graded Stake
Purse $250.000 For Four Year Olds And Upward.
1 Taniwha, trained by Aml Racing
Took the Secretariat Stakes at grade one last year before the infamous running of the Hirsch Turf Classic where The SA Handicap winner Chrystal Pip was used as a ‘rabbit’ and set a suicidal pace making the race a bit of a farce. Even though he managed fifth from a distant trail the race was enough to force the resignation of Yahudi Stables who sold the horse to fellow Kiwi Aml Stables. He took the HOL Turf Cup for his new trainer before the winter break and then won his seasonal debut very easily suggesting he is as good if not better than he was last year. From the ace draw he has plenty of options and barring another crazy pace setter he should run a huge race.
2 I Have Arrived, trained by Mb Stables
Won the Bowling Green Handicap last year but has always been a bit of an under achiever finding it hard to follow up on his half length third in the 2016 Secretariat Stakes. Two recent losses at allowance level wont sell his chances very well but his last start wasnt too bad finishing strongly in a very fast run race. He has the ability to get in at the finish and a great draw to work with but this is a field with a couple of outstanding turfers in it and he may be stretched to get inside third.
3 Range Of The Sun, trained by Team 7 Illusions
Won last years Marathon at the BC festival but has won on turf so that shouldnt be counted as a negative. A recent 1.34 and 3 work on the grass suggests he has some untapped ability on the surface and he may just turn out to be a fly in the ointment.
4 Techfluence, trained by The Sidley Stud
The class horse of the field he has had a dominant start to the year winning both the Connally BC Turf and the Diarmida. The winner of last years grade one Northern Dancer BC Turf he was 4th in the BC Turf at the end of the year putting himself close to the top of the pile of turf routers. He looks even better this year which is an ominous sign for the rest of them and he must be the top choice for this competitive race.
5 Sean Hannity, trained by Maxmillion Farm
His only stakes win last year came in that crazy Hirsch Turf Classic where he won by a very easy two lengths after half the field had burnt themselves out running sprint splits. He had previously been third in the Sword Dancer and ran pretty well in the BC Turf leading at the 2 furlong pole from a wide gate but weakening down teh stretch. There’s no doubt he has bags of ability and he ran a brave seasonal reappearance in the San Gabriel Stakes when dead heating for the win in a very close finish. A fast pace would suit him down to teh ground and he is one of the main players in this field.
6 Jamie Mach, trained by Gdp Inc
A decent sort and a winner of 6 from 13 he meets a tough field here in his biggest chance of breaking through at this level. Fourth in the Twilight and always recording big speed figures he doesnt look good enough on paper to beat a couple of these but strange things can happen at HRP.
7 Midwestern Slang, trained by Smokey Stover
He won last years Sword Dancer and very nearly won the BC Turf going down by a nose after a huge late run. He dead heated with Sean Hannity on seasonal debut in the San Gabriel Stakes finishing strongly again. For some reason his trainer then sent him to the General Geroge Stakes over seven furlongs on the dirt, one of the strangest training decisions i have seen in a while but that was their last input into teh horse as Smokey Stover snapped him up in his shopping spree for $450.000. Back over his best trip on his best surface he is sure to be in at the finish,
8 My Plucky, trained by Hambletonian Stable
An 11 race winner he is very useful indeed and it would be no surprise to see him defy the wide draw and take some big scalps today. His two efforts this year have been top notch finishing just behind Midwestern Slang and Sean Hannity in the San Gabriel and then comfortably winning the San Marcos Stakes last time out. His works are solid and if he can get any sort of run from this draw he will be in at the sharp end.
9 Bring The Pain, trained by Mb Stables
He has won 4 from 8 and was second to Sean Hannity in the farcical Hirsch Turf Classic so is no outsider despite a horrible draw and just one worthwhile piece of form. I worry that he may be used as a pacemaker which could affect his chances but he ran on the pace to win a decent open allowance on Boxing Day so it ay not be the worst tactic if he doesnt go too fast.
This is a pretty hot turf race and pretty much any of them have a chance of winning but there are a couple of standouts. Techfluence and Midwestern Slang look the one two for me with Sean Hannity close along with Taniwha.