The Jerkens Memorial (Grade 1)- $500.000 Purse
SAR- For Three Year Olds
Seven Furlongs on the Dirt
August 25, 2018
Travers weekend is upon us at the Spa, but the Travers is not the only exciting race that we will be able to enjoy. It is a fantastic day of racing, and one I regret to not be able to attend in real life this year. We should actually have nice weather for the race, too, which is much appreciated after what has been a very wet meet. One of the races to be enjoyed is the 16th running of the Jerkens Memorial, a Grade 1 for three year olds going seven furlongs. The race had formerly been known as the Kings Bishop, and was officially changed in 2017 to honor Allen Jerkens, one of the great trainers for our sport in the real world. Our race features a field of ten, with some known names from the TC Chase, battling accomplished stars at this distance, and some up and comers. It should be entertaining! Let’s meet the field, enjoy the race!
#1- Ribot Tilt (John Henry, ridden by F Pennington)- Despite having the services of the great F Pennington aboard, the trainer may be one of the few wishing it would rain on Saturday, at least when it comes to this entry. Ribot Tilt has been his best on off tracks, but he has been able to win on fast going as well. For the most part, he was run in LA-bred stakes or other ungraded stakes, and has one such victory. His lone graded effort came at MTH on an off track, and he he would be second in the Salvator Mile. Looks like he is trying to find his best distance. Worked a bullet with 96 others on the 14th at MTH at six furlongs.
#2- Peculiar Sensation (Mb Stables, ridden by J R Velazquez)- Put together a three race winning streak earlier in the year, highlighted by the Grade 3 Barrera. In those races, he was close to the lead early. His last two races saw him try to come from off the pace, and he would finish off the board in both of them. He was also in outside posts for each of those starts. It can be tough to predict how this trainer will run tactically, but if I were betting on him, I would rather see him near the front, then near the back early on.
#3- Delta Ursae Majoris (Blushing Meadows, ridden by J Alvarado)- After breaking his maiden on New Years Day at GG, Delta Ursae Majoris was thrust into the Withers a month later, and was well off the pace. Since then, he has not been seen at this level, but has put together a couple of solid allowance efforts. Off that, he ran a couple weeks ago here at the ungraded $100.000 Tale Of The Cat, and got up for fourth. Continues to work well, and I like him at the distance, but the competition level may be too steep.
#4- Stainless Metal (John Henry, ridden by R J Albarado)- Participated in a couple of KYD preps, with a third place in the Grade 3 Coolmore Lexington being the highlight. He’d take on the Peter Pan at BEL, and on a muddy track, he ran second. This led to optimism, and placement in the BEL itself, but he’d only beat one rival in that race. His last two races, the Grade 3 Dwyer and Grade 3 Amsterdam, have seen him finish dead last. Tough to pick a horse that in his last three races, has run against 34 horses, and only beaten one; and is not at least, dropping down a bit.
#5- Fox News (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by I Ortiz Jr)- After surprising many with a win the Grade 2 San Felipe, Fox News struggled. In a similar race a month later, the SA Derby, he was a distant tenth, and then disappointed in the KYD. With ratings struggling, he needed to show there was nothing fake about his San Felipe win, and at BEL, he would win the seven furlong Grade 2 Stephens. His Haskell run wasn’t terrible, but it’s good to see him back at this distance again. Had a bullet work here on the 15th, and seems very appealing in this field.
#6- Eureka (Mb Stables, ridden by A A Gallardo)- Making just the third start of his career, and this will be his first race after breaking his maiden at this track last month. He is working incredibly well, and also had a bullet on the 15th, but it came out at MTH. In every race, it seems as though Mb Stables has an entry like this, the up and comer who ends up stealing the show. I should know better and automatically pick him because of that. The trainer has been patient, and it may pay off with this one.
#7- Storming Cobra (Mo Mentum Farm, ridden by C P Decarlo)- The Snakie colt won the Grade 3 Davis Stakes earlier this year, but has not won since that February race. He has been running competitively, however, and was within a length of victory in each of his last two starts: the Grade 3 Affirmed, and the LA Derby (the one at LA, not LAD). This will be his first race at under a mile since the trainer acquired him last year. We’ll see how it goes. Worth a shot at if the odds on him climb a bit.
#8- Diplomatic Moon (Gdp Inc, ridden by R Bejarano)- After an eventful day in April, where he won a claiming race, was claimed by Jader Stable, and then sold to Gdp Inc for more then double the claiming tag, Diplomatic Moon has adapted well. Naturally, the trainer really wanted this one, and made sure he ended up getting him after that claimer, and in his Gdp debut, he would win the $125.000 Lee Stakes. A month later, he was second to another Moon, Moon Landing, in the Grade 2 BEL Sprint Championship, earning a 100 SRF. This distance looks like its becoming “his house”, and it’s tough to bet against those who seem like they are in their ideal set of circumstances. He is my pick to win.
#9- Commando (Fractious, ridden by J L Ortiz)– Claimed by Fractious from John Henry after a win on Valentine’s Day, but has been dumped from returning to the winners circle since then. The results weren’t bad initially, as he was in the money in his next three starts, including running third to Diplomatic Moon in the Lee Stakes in May. However, after that, his last two performances look pretty uninspiring to me, and they were against lesser competition. To bounce back, he cuts back on his distance, and is working well. So too, is everyone else.
#10- Crimson Pirate (Chili King Stables, ridden by J R Leparoux)- Fared well in claimers earlier this year, before being claimed from Nakamura Stables for $37.500. Chili King had bigger aspirations for him, as even though his first two races after the claim were not victories (he did run well in an allowance, placing third), he was placed into the Grade 3 Dwyer. He was fourth there, as well as in the $150.000 Real Good Deal Stakes for CA-breds at DMR last month. So, he seems on the verge of big win somewhere. Could be a big price, he has been in his last few starts, so some consideration in trifecta bets should be made, though I would not put him on top.