Looking for a Happy Medium in The Fleet Sprint Handicap

The Fleet Sprint Handicap (Grade 3)- $400.000 Purse
OP- For Four Year Olds and Upward
Six Furlongs on the Dirt
April 14, 2018

This Saturday at OP, sprinters will get their chance to show their stuff in front of a large AR Derby crowd. It’s the 13th running of the race, and way back when, it was won in consecutive years (2007 and 2008) by Ljosalfar, a winner of nearly $5,000.000 in his career, thanks to 36 victories in a whopping 75 starts. For this race, we have an exciting field of eight that all seem to be pretty even. It can be said a lot, but this is certainly a race that anyone could finish first, and anyone could finish last; it’s just that balanced. Who’ll get the breaks is the question to ask on this one.  The weights for this handicap range between 118 and 121 with most of the field at 118 or 119, so I do not think that weight will be a big factor in the race. Here’s the field!

#1- Sonar (Mb Stables, ridden by R J Albarado)- On the rail, Mb Stables saddles Sonar, a gelding that has won over half the races (8 of 15) he has been in, although many of them came early in his career. He won a Grade 3 last year, the $100.000 Barrera at SA, but otherwise, Sonar has been an excellent allowance horse that has not really gotten it done consistently at the graded level.

#2- Candyman (Canadian Racing, ridden by J Rosario)- The Candyman can make his graded stake debut in this race, which will be his 18th career start. His biggest win came at this time last year, taking the $200.000 Eddie Stakes for CA-breds at SA. Otherwise, his success has been in starter allowances and optional claimers. Speed figures have been improving of late, so this is a good spot to test him at this level.

#3- Awkward Tremor (Asgar, ridden by R Bejarano)- Recently, this four year old Brilliantly Awkward colt has been performing against LA-breds, and having success. His last two victories have been $50.000 LA Cup Sprint and the $100.000 Premier Night Sprint, the latter of which being his most recent race. Like Candyman, he is venturing into graded company for the first time, but his career is trending upward with very impressive SRF’s coming into the race. He will be a factor.

#4- La Lune Rain (Mb Stables, ridden by I Ortiz Jr)- Purchased in December from Smokey Stover for $60.000, La Lune Rain makes his third start for Mb Stables. He’s run at this level before, but never sprinting. In fact, he ran fourth in the Grade 2 Dandy at SAR last year, which is not a bad thing for the overall resume. His career has most recently been in optional claimers, mostly at PRX, though is fresh off a nice win at GP.

#5- Prince Of Wales (Chili King Stables, ridden by J R Leparoux)- After a three race winning streak at the beginning of 2017, Prince Of Wales has won just once in his last ten starts, but Chili King is not deterred by that. He’s had some close finishes, after all, and was within a length at the Grade 1 Triple Bend Stakes at SA last month. Looks like this is a horse that just needs to catch a good break. Maybe this will be the day.

#6- Happy Medium (Night Rider Stables, ridden by R Maragh)- Claimed by the trainer for just $16.000 in July, things have really paid off. With Night Rider, he won his first two races, one of which was the CC Rapid Transit last December. Following that, he was placed in the Grade 1 Malibu, and ran third. He’s been lightly raced this year with just one start, and this will be a very pivotal race for him going forward.

#7- Moriches Bay (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by J R Velazquez)- With just two wins, and six in the money finishes in 23 career starts, it will be tough to throw support behind Moriches Bay. This is an inconsistent horse, and while he does have some ugly race lines, every now and then, he will put forth a beauty. To the credit of the trainer, he has kept him at the graded level instead of dropping down to look for a positive result.

#8- State Police (Team 7 Illusions, ridden by R Sanatan Jr)- While the trainer bred this one, the majority of his career has been with Allinthegate, and Team 7 Illusions recently re-acquired the Cherokee Sunset colt, for $300.770. He would find immediate success with a pair of victories, though struggled in his last start. This is a return to sprinting as well for State Police, as he has shown versatility in being able to sprint, and go long.

Prediction: 6-3-8-2

— NS

Categories: Grade III, STAKES ARTICLES

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