Shoemaker Mile (Grade 1)- $400.000 Purse
SA- For Three Year Olds and Upward
One Mile on the Turf
May 28, 2018
The Shoemaker Mile is a race that has seen many great horses over the years, ranging from two time winner Jagged Account, who won in 2006 and 2008, and Dogma who won in the year in between; to more recent winners, such as Jamfest and the late Desolation Island. It is a race that will often be mentioned when we talk about the BC Mile later in the year, as well as other similar turf races over the summer. Our field of eight have taken different paths to get here, and a victory here certainly can be great momentum to build on as we head into the summer. Let’s meet the field!
#1- T N T Dynamite (Saratoga Stud, ridden by F Pennington)- The great F Pennington heads out west to ride this four year old gelding by Irish Dynamite. He’s won four of 14, but does well to consistently get a check for his trainer, over a span of a career that recently transitioned into the graded level. A win in the $75.000 Fitzsimmons Mile Handicap completed a streak of three out of four wins, and sent him to the Grade 3 TAM Stakes. His last two races have seen second place finishes, including just missing the headbob at the wire last month at the Makers Mark Mile (Grade 1) at KEE. In that race, he beat a couple he sees again today, such as Compress and Far Too Cool.
#2- Slip Away (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by I Ortiz Jr)- Ran third in the BC Juvenile last season, but is still looking for his first win of 2018. He was taken off the grass for a try at some KYD prep races, with his best effort there being a third at the Grade 3 Southwest, and he returned to the turf for this last start. That went poorly, though perhaps he didn’t like the soft CD turf on derby day. That result cost him his ability to breed, and now he enters this race as a first time gelding, something that is always a potential positive factor in one of these races, and he is also the only three year old in the field, giving him a three pound weight advantage.
#3- The Hand Youre Dealt (Mb Stables, ridden by E Maldonado)- His last start was not technically his turf debut, but it may of well have been since the previous other time was very early in his career. In that race, which was an optional claimer at TAM, he scored a five length win. Now, that it is a bit of a class drop from the likes of the Grade 3 Gallant Bob, but it at least showed he liked the grass a lot more then he did in 2016., and the ending race time does get your attention. Now, he goes graded in an effort to pick up his first such victory. He’s my favorite of the two Mb Stables entries.
#4- Far Too Cool (Night Rider Stables, ridden by R Maragh)- He has been lightly raced following a very successful season in 2017. It was a year that saw him win the Grade 2 National Museum of Racing at beautiful Saratoga Race Course (two months away now!) and then capture the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at KEE, earning a 104 SRF in the process. With a little more luck, his two races this year could have been wins as well, missing by half length in both the Sensational Star (for CA-breds), and the Makers Mark. I have a good feeling about him stepping here and picking up the win.
#5- Grounded In Reality (Mb Stables, ridden by L H Colon)- This gelding will make his turf debut in this race after twelve races of running on the main track. He’s attempted some big races, such as the Grade 1 Woodward and Grade 1 Awesome Again, but he still lacks a graded win. He’s been preparing for this race for a while now, so he should be ready to go but this is pretty tough company to make a turf debut in especially when you haven’t won at this level yet. He’ll be competitive, but probably not the best bet. Note that whenever I rule out an Mb horse, they usually win or just miss.
#6- Z One Chance (Serenity Stables, ridden by K J Desormeaux)- Ever since he broke his maiden after a few tries in July, Z One Chance has made it a habit of ending up in the winners circle after a race. He has won five out of seven, with one of the non-wins being a runner-up performance, and in that time he has increased his competition level up the stakes ladder, culminating in a win right here in March at the Grade 1 Triple Bend Stakes. His last start was a bit of a struggle, though passed a few late to get fourth in the mud. We’ll throw that one out. Z One Chance has been very successful in long sprints, but there is no concern about the slightly greater distance here.
#7- Nice Dive (Smokey Stover, ridden by R J Albarado)- On Christmas Day, Smokey Stover found Waldo and saved Nice Dive from the free track to the tune of a $200.000 private sales purchase. He won eight of nine at free tracks, including a 17-length shellacking of the competition on soft turf last November, his last race before the sale. Smokey Stover sent him to SA, and in two starts, he has an open allowance victory. In this race, he will make his stake debut and the works are very impressive.
#8- Compress (Cherrytree Hill Farm, ridden by R Bejarano)- The great Compress has had a storied career, and his four year old season finished by running third at the BC Mile. 2017 didn’t see many wins, but it saw consistent finishes in the money. That has begun to be the story thus far in 2018. No, he has not won yet this year, but he consistently is turning out strong SRF’s. Three finishes have been in the money, and with a little more luck at the wire, he could have wins in both the FG Handicap and the Makers Mark Mile this year. This is the type of race that I could very well see Compress stepping up and reminding everyone that he is still a champion race horse, but I sense it will be more like others this year. In the money, but not on top.