The OP Handicap- Grade II
OP Race 3 1 1/8M Dirt
Four Year Olds and Up
A nice field has assembled for this running of the OP Handicap. There’s some proven runners in here and some horses looking to make the jump into the handicap division. With rain in the forecast the track could end up being an off track so that will make things a lot more interesting. Let’s look at the field.
1 Laffin Parrot, trained by Mo Mentum Farm
This four-year-old ON bred is coming into the race off a second-place finish in the SA Handicap where he closed from far back in the field. He has really found his best stride as of late running three good races in a row. His one race on an off track was an incredible 8 length romp in the Queen’s Plate so if the track comes up wet he will be extremely dangerous.
2 Edwin Drood, trained by Sanny Village
Trainer Sanny Village has not been heard from recently and the HRP community is keeping him in their thoughts. His entry here will be among the favorites if he makes it to the post as he is coming off an impressive win in the grade 3 Hal’s Hope and a nice run in the Pegasus World Cup. His works are blistering, and he is getting 3 pounds from his chief rival Shootfromthehip, so I like his chances if he starts.
3 Steel Will, trained by Defoe
This five-year-old gelding has been jumped around from sprints to routes in the last couple starts. A disappointing finish in the BC Sprint was followed by a third in the Pegasus World Cup and a dismal effort in the SA Handicap. He’ll need to run the race he did in the Pegasus to win this race.
4 Sweep The Fire, trained by Smokey Stover
After Smokey Stover purchased this horse in March for $150.000 he wasted no time in getting him in to the winners’ circle in an allowance at GP. After a five-and-a-half-month layoff he won that race and is now going for the big purse here. There should be an improvement in his second race off the layoff but not sure he is good enough to win.
5 Dr Carson, trained by TwinTowers Racing
After a couple nice allowance finishes he was thrown to the wolves in the SA Handicap and disappointed by running eleventh for the entire race. Being thrown to the wolves again in this race and doesn’t look like he has much of a chance looking at his past performances.
6 Checking Me Out, trained by Mb Stables
His first start of the year was a victory last out against allowance company off an almost six-month layoff. He is a very solid allowance horse but hasn’t been tested in waters like these yet. The trainer has a habit of entering these types in handicaps to get the weight break with a lot of success, but I think he will have a hard time beating the best in this field.
7 Diamond In The Sea, trained by D J C Racing Stables
A $6.500 claim in August and graded stakes winner just four months later as trainer D J C Racing Stables must’ve known something about this horse no one else did to get him to turn around like that. A couple nice allowance finishes in his last couple, not sure if he is good enough to win here, but never count D J C Racing Stables out of a stakes race.
8 Shootfromthehip, trained by Nakamura Stables
Last year’s KYD and Haskell winner made a winning 2018 debut last start in the San Pasqual at SA. First start with F Prat last out paid off and he’s riding back in this race. He’s a big contender to win here and the likely favorite although he will be spotting up to 6 pounds to the field. If he can cook up some of that derby magic he should win this race.
9 Lord High Admiral, trained by John Henry
Last year’s Arkansas Derby and Rebel winner makes a return to OP for this race. He hasn’t won since that Arkansas Derby, so it’s been basically a year without a win. His best performance since then was a third in the BC Classic. He’s good enough to win on his best day but it’s going to take a major form turn around.
10 Evil Position, trained by Maxmillion Farm
It’s been over a year since he has found the winners circle and it appears he’s not the type of animal to win this race. He’s a solid minor stakes horse with some in the money finishes but doesn’t seem like he could be up to the task. A shot in the dark here from the outside post and class jump.
The storyline here is whether Edwin Drood will be able to make the start. He and Shootfromthehip are certainly the class of the field and it would make for an interesting showdown. Others in here certainly have a chance, especially with the weight break, but the top two are the highlight.