Ali (Grade 3)- $200.000 Purse
KEE- For Four Year Olds and Upward
One Mile and One Eighth on the Dirt
April 14, 2018
The Ali is a long running event that prepares to run for the 14th time. As a Grade 3, it is not meant to attract the greatest horses out there, but has been won by the likes of Bbff in the past. More recently, this race has been owned by Night Rider Stables, who won the race with Rajivs Roadblock each of the last two seasons. While that one is still active, he is not running at the graded level any more, and has moved on from Night Rider Stables. The trainer will not have an entry in this race, so the streak will not be extended. In the meantime, the snakes have taken over the race. Let’s look at field!
#1- Jake The Snake (Mb Stables, ridden by B J Hernandez Jr)- This four year old gelding was at his best during the fall of last year, putting together a four race winning streak that culminated in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup. That sent him to the BC Classic, and he ran well there, placing fifth, just shy of a check. Despite everything looking up, all we have seen out of him this year so far is an open allowance. Time to reassert himself.
#2- Kiss The Snake (Nakamura Stables, ridden by C J Lanerie)- Not sure if he will kiss Jake The Snake, but this gelding should also be a contender. He was recently purchased for $200.000 in private sales, and has made just one start with Nakamura. That did not go well, but perhaps they just needed to get acclimated to one another. He’s won five out of fifteen.
#3- Summertime Blues (TwinTowersRacing, ridden E Maldonado)- You didn’t think we were done with the snakes, I hope. Summertime Blues, despite not having snake in his name, is also a Snakie foal, just like the two to his outside. He’s won just two of 16, but has done better finishing in the money, doing so in half of his races. His graded attempts are not the highlights of his past performances, but a runner up in the $75.000 Curribot Handicap gives him another shot.
#4- Acquisitive (Mb Stables, ridden by A Beschizza)- This one comes in off a long layoff, as his last race was at the end of September last year. When we last saw him, he was running in fifth in the Grade 1 Vosburg, and a little before that, he had won three straight. Works are great, so it doesn’t look like he was lost in the shuffle, so he should be fine in general, but the question will be, does he need a race first?
#5- Final Tune (Simmer Down Stable, ridden by S X Bridgmohan)- One that knows how to win, with twelve victories in 21 career starts. It began nicely for Final Tune, winning his first four career races, and while he’s been close at the graded level, he still looks for his first such win. He does have a couple impressive NY-bred stake wins. His last start saw him win the $100.000 KY Cup Classic, but it was a less then impressive field there.
#6- Hidden Slew Laff (Gdp Inc, ridden by J J Castellano)- This one is dropping down in class, after finishing 6th and 4th in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup, and Grade 1 SA Handicap, respectively. Nothing was wrong with his performance in either, he was simply up against the best, so this race is perfect for him. Six wins, with no places or shows in 13 starts is a pretty interesting line, its either win or nothing with him!
#7- L A Raw (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by J Talamo)- Claimed cheaply for just $14.000 in January, the trainer has done good work with him so far in two allowance starts, as his adds were adjusted. This is a jump up in class, but on April 1st, he put forth an eye opening bullet work at AQU. Hopefully, that was not just an April Fools joke. Definitely anyone would want to see what they have after such a workout, and this is a great spot to see how he matches up. I could have some concern about him, but am intrigued by what bute has done for him.