Will It Be a Dandy PRK?

The PRK (Grade 1)- $1,500.000 Purse
PIM- For Three Year Olds
One Mile and Three Sixteenths on the Dirt
May 18, 2019

Two weeks ago, Beach Dandy lived up to the high expectations that had placed upon him, and would win the KYD. Now, the game’s TC bonus is in reach again, and has many wondering if this will indeed be the year. In the real world, it has been the third jewel of the TC chase, the BEL which has done in many recent horses until the successes of American Pharoah and Justify. With two real world triple crowns having been attained within the decade, we can only wonder if it something that we will ever see here on HRP. Unlike real racing, it is the second jewel, the PRK, that has spoiled the triple crown dreams of the Derby winner in our game. Only once has the KYD winner won the PRK, and you have to go all the way back to 2004 to find that one. Fuji Ninja, trained by Fuji Stable, was able to attain the feat, in what was the 14th and 15th starts of his career. It was a different game back then, I think most of us will agree, as after all look at how often Fuji Ninja set the pace in his races and held on to win.

In 2019, it seems different, but is it? Beach Dandy has really impressed, but we were here last year. Much of what is being said about Beach Dandy was said about Pretty Ferro last year. In 2010, the great Five Fives seemed to have just as good as a chance. However, each of Pretty Ferro and Five Fives could not overcome the rested horse. Whether it was Indistinguishable or Mrs Bombastic, that nemesis was able to get in the way. While the KYD winner ran well in each case, both races saw the rested horse win by a nose at the wire. Is Beach Dandy different? Maybe he doesn’t have to be, as remember in each of those races that KYD winner defeated all rested horses except for the one. Both Mrs Bombastic and Indistinguishable were seen as powerful threats to knock them off, and they lived up to that. In this race, I am simply not sure we have a Mrs Bombastic or Indistinguishable. Only four of the fourteen in this field did not race in the KYD. Is it Questionable or Admiration? Does Bo Know? Or will Beach Dandy Not Be Denied? We’ll find out soon! Weather issues seem ok at this time, with just a 20% chance of rain at this time. Let’s look at our contenders!

#1- Hollywood Latte (Nakamura Stables, ridden by J Talamo)- Was not a factor in the KYD, running in the middle of the pack throughout the race before an eventual 10th place finish. He started from the 2-post in that race, so does not have any apparent excuse other then the fact then perhaps he didn’t like it wet. He made it to the KYD by virtue of having won the LA Derby, but is otherwise a little raw when it comes to the stake level. May want to be closer to the front early on here.

#2- Beach Dandy (Joshua Stables, ridden by J J Castellano)- In the KYD, only one horse started to his outside, and now for the PRK he has drawn a much better post, with just one to his inside. There isn’t anything I can say about him that everyone reading does not already know. He has been virtually perfect throughout his career, winning 7 of 8, and has already amassed over $4,000.000 in career earnings. Don’t forget, he also won the BC Juvenile, something that at one time was a jinx in our game. The trainer is concerned about the two week turnaround, like anyone would be, but I don’t see a Mrs Bombastic or an Indistinguishable in this field among those who are more rested. I think he’s going to get it done, and look very good in the process.

#3- Phooeys Queen Blue (Estero Farms, ridden by J R Velazquez)- Pretty Ferro’s trainer looks to play the spoiler in the PRK this year, and Phooeys Queen Blue should have a good chance in this race. He placed sixth in the KYD two weeks ago, but seemed to run a solid race, overall. Based on a previous race that he had an off track, it is possible that the sloppy condition affected him quite a bit. He’s won three of six, which included taking two prep races leading into the derby, most notably the FL Derby. He might not win, but I think he runs a big one.

#4- Ranger (Aer Stables, ridden by Mar Garcia)- While the trainer was a little disappointed with Ranger’s performance in the Wood Memorial, he was rewarded with a positive performance in the KYD. It might be hard to be excited about finishing fifth in that race, since it’s the first position without cashing a check, but it was a good step. After two weeks, he’s at it again and he did race once on short rest earlier in this career, albeit three weeks, and he won (the Davis Stakes) after the short layoff.

#5- Chrystal Believer (Maxmillion Farm, ridden by M Franco)- May have been one of the more disappointing horses in the KYD, especially considering there were quite a few people out there who saw him as the biggest threat to Beach Dandy. Despite a decent start, Chrystal Believer was unable to keep up in the stretch, and dropped to eighth. There is plenty of reason to believe in him, and if he’s fine with just two weeks off, he could remind everyone again why he was seen as such a threat.

#6- Questionable (Mb Stables, ridden by A Beschizza)- Due to the restrictions on KYD runners per stable, Mb Stables is now in the position again to play the spoiler in the same way he did with Indistinguishable last year. Thing is, while I like both Questionable and Admiration, I don;t think either are quite as good. Questionable nearly prevented Beach Dandy from winning the BC Juvenile, and has gone on to win the Fountain Of Youth this year. His most recent race was at the beginning of April, where he finished fourth in the SA Derby, a race won by his stablemate starting in the next post. Likes to come from well off the pace, and I don’t think that’s going to work with Beach Dandy unless he closer to the front early on.

#7- Admiration (Mb Stables, ridden by D E Centeno)- The gelding by Aggravation will look to cause some aggravation to Beach Dandy and his TC dreams. This is the biggest threat of the rested four in the field. He has won his last two races, taking both the SA Derby and the TAM Derby. I also believe that has a better tactical style then does his stablemate, Questionable, to be able to defeat Beach Dandy. His SA Derby win also came from an outside post, so he will like the better draw here. Likely to get a piece of the purse.

#8- Bo Knows (Joshua Stables, ridden by E Jaramillo)- One of the four rested horses in the race, but obviously he is not going to get in his stablemate’s way. Wouldn’t that be something though, if Bo Knows did win the race, then Beach Dandy came back and won the BEL? Bo Knows was once a more regarded horse, and did place fourth in the BC Juvenile. He hasn’t done much of anything this year, but was picked up on Monday in private sales by Joshua Stables for $150.000.

#9- Ardetha (Aer Stables, ridden by T Gaffalione)- Put together a three race winning streak over the winter months that culminated in the $100.000 El Camino. He remained hot over the preps even though he did not win one, placing third in the Grade 2 Rebel and second in the Grade 1 AR Derby. Ran in the middle of the pack at the KYD two weeks ago, and is actually running his third race in five weeks.

#10- Mr Cat Summers (First Street Stables, ridden by P Husbands)- This is another one making their third start in five weeks. He has followed the same path of races as has Ardetha, but ended up winning the AR Derby. Over his career, he had successfully handled off tracks, so this led to him taking a good chunk of money in KYD wagering, but he would not be able to do anything in the stretch after running with the leaders early.

#11- Fear The Dragon (Mb Stables, ridden by A Beschizza)- While no one in the field can say that they ever beat Beach Dandy, Fear The Dragon has come the closest, running him to a dead heat win in the RP Springboard Mile. Following that win, he went on to win both the Grade 3 Lewis and the Grade 2 Rebel, having a trainer switch in the middle from LionKing Stables to Mb Stables. Then, in the KYD, he threw up a complete dud. I have talked about how I don’t see an Indistinguishable or a Mrs Bombastic type horse in this field. I think Fear The Dragon would have been that one if the didn’t run in the KYD, but he too, comes in here on two weeks rest, even if that was for a rather non-existent performance.

#12- Rainstorm (Fractious, ridden by J Pimentel)- This gelding has really come a long way since winning the San Vicente in a dead heat with Socotra Island back in February. He was able to be successful while stretching out even more, and ran third in the Gotham, second in the Wood Memorial, before the big finish last week where he impressively closed to finish second to Beach Dandy in the KYD. He will get another chance at him here, and he did have a time where he raced on two weeks rest, previously. That was the aforementioned San Vicente. Since he has proven that he can do it before, he will be a threat here again.

#13- Red Cup (Our Athletes, ridden by F Geroux)- A horse that has gotten no luck with the post position draws, and once again starts the race towards the outside. He began his career very well, and even recently he has run second in both the Lewis Stakes and San Felipe, but that momentum has stalled in his last two races. He was disappointing in the SA Derby, running 8th, and then was midpack in the KYD, never posing a threat. Of course, those are outside post starts, but it’s something he must face again.

#14- Not To Be Denied (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by A A Gallardo)- The Niagra gelding made it into the KYD field originally, but would be scratched out of it a couple days before the race. Now, he comes into the PRK rested while many of his would-be opponents are not. He’s won four of ten, but all of those wins came as a two year old. This year, while he has not won, he has had a couple close calls, most notably a photo finish second in the Davis Stakes. Has the pedigree to be a spoiler in here, but will have to run his best race to do so.

Prediction: 2-7-3-12

— NS



Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES, TC 2019, THE TRIPLE CROWN

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