Can John Henry’s New Acquisition “Sunpunch” His Way Into The BC Turf?

Coming off a brilliant late closing two length victory in this season’s Gr. III AP Handicap back in mid July over a soft turf, his new trainer has been diligently getting him ready for this event, and he looks ready for anything.

  • DMR Handicap- Grade II ( BC) – Purse $250.000
  • Del Mar Racetrack- For Three Years old and Up
  • A Mile and Three eighths- Turf course.
  • August 17th, 2019.

With automatic entry into this years BC Turf event in November going to the winner of this affair ( excluding entry fees of course ), twelve hopefuls are looking to seal the deal here at Del Mar on Saturday. While this distance is definitely a favorite for the likes of Techfluence ( The Sidley Stud ) who sits atop the BC Turf point chart with 24 points, it is most likely that six year old has his sights set on next months Northern Dancer race up at WO. That definitely makes this group breath a little bit easier, and trainer John Henry is hoping that his first asking of Sunpunch will give him that ticket to compete in this years event. Eleven others all have the same goal in mind, so lets rundown this years field of entries;

Weights- Will follow horses name in parenthesis.

1 Sunlander ( 119 ) Estero Farms – Competed in the restricted Snow Chief Stakes for California breds’ in June, and he was able to walk away with a three length victory against other sophomores. He posted an impressive 1:45 and one time for the nine panel event while earning a 100 SRF figure as well. Morning six furlong works have been consistently under the 1:10 mark and Maldonado is back in the saddle again. That event came from the inside post as well. Possible repeat?

Tr/Jk ( 1-1 ) 100% Hr/ Jk ( 1-1) 100% Hr/Ds ( 0/0 ) BC Turf Pts- 2

2 The Joker ( 119 ) D J C Racing Stables – This five year old out of Champsville has been struggling to find his old turf form for most of the season. Showed some life in an OpClm75 race which he lead throughout, only to be edged out by a head at the line. Did close to finish second two starts ago in the Gr. I Man Of War, and hopefully his trainer will have him to that form today. Has a dirt work five days prior to this event, so that surprises me.Dug deep back to 2017 for a rider who may bring a spark. Wait and see??

Tr/Jk ( 0/0 ) NA Hr / Jk ( 1/1 ) 100% Hr/Ds ( 0-1-0) BC Turf Pts- 6

3 Give You All ( 117 ) Mb Stables – This six year old chestnut will be attempting the turf for the very first time in his career, Has been pounding out the efforts in the sprint arena, with finally getting to the winners circle in the Malouff Handicap at ALB going seven eights. He had three runner-up efforts prior to this victory, so the horse is competitive. The horse was a star as a three year old winning four Graded events, three of which were Grade I affairs, but he has never gone over a mile in his 35 career starts except for a single mile and a eighth race, and an untested distance is not to this writers liking. Pass.

Tr./Jk. ( 0/1 ) 0% Hr/Jk ( 0/1 ) 0% Hr/Ds ( 0/0 ) BC Turf Pts – 0

4 Portal ( 119 ) Nakamura Stables – Was claimed at the end of last season, then was sent to the farm for the winter. Made his return in late March to take home an allowance fourteen non winners of three lifetime, and has repeatedly won since then. His most recent was his first try on the grass in the $75 Buckeye Native, and he walked away with a closing effort to win by just under a length. That was his second stakes win of his career, and with his late running style, the extra distance should not be a problem if he doesn’t get to far back early. In for a share.

Tr./Jk. ( 0/0 ) 0% Hr./Jk ( 0/0 ) 0% Hr/Ds. ( 0/0 ) BC Turf Pts. – 2

5 Sunpunch ( 120 ) John Henry – Was purchased for a C Note on the last day in July, that coming after this four year old bay gelding out of Cherokee Sunset walked home with the Gr. III AP Handicap. His new interests were responsible for the bullet work at a mile over this track surface in a time of 1:34.43 on the date of purchase. Obviously John Henry looked quickly for a fit for his next event, and that starts here. Trainer is known to have a good record with horses winning their last start, firing at 20.6 %. Lunar Blaze looks poised for the BC Turf, this one could keep him company. Factor

Tr/ Jk ( 0/0 ) 0% Hr/ Jk ( 0/0 ) 0% Hr./Ds. ( 0/0 ) BC Turf Pts.- 4

6 Running Bien ( 117 ) Chili King Stables – After continuously running restricted claiming events over at Parx, his trainer decided to send him down the road to his new home in July. Has already had one start for his new barn, placing fifth two lengths shy to a runner he will face once again here. Was made the post time favorite for that event with two victories coming into that affair, so maybe the black five year old was still making adjustments. The drop of five pounds from his last effort should be a welcome relief. Needs to stay focused throughout to avoid closers sneaking in.

Tr./ Jk. ( 0/0) 0% Hr./Jk. ( 0/0 ) Hr./Ds. 2( 0-1-0 ) BC Turf Pts- 0

7 Devilish Luck ( 121) D J C Racing Stables- The only trainer in this event to be sending out a double entry. Won the Gr. I Makers Mark Mile three starts ago, and has been silenced since that affair. Attacked this distance last time through in the Gr. II Bowling Green Handicap. and he was left trailing in the stretch by some seven lengths back in ninth. Had the services of Johnny V for his past four starts, but that rider has looked elsewhere for this event. Cooler temperatures are in the forecast and the quicker turn around may spring some life back in him. Uphill climb today.

Tr. /Jk. ( 0/0 ) 0% Hr./Jk. ( 0/0) 0% Hr./Ds. 3(0-1-0 ) BC Turf Pts.- 10

8 Siberian Prince ( 117) Sir Daniel Martin– I feel honored to be in the presence of someone who has been knighted, and has already two BC victories to his credit in just his fourth full season. This is his top earner for his stable and the trainer is still looking for his first stakes victories of the season. Placed three lengths shy of Sunpunch in the AP Handicap affair after being in a group of closers. His last two events have come over off track surfaces, and he will definitely appreciate the firmer footing here on Saturday. Hopefully this four year old still has what it takes to win. Fringe effort.

Tr./Jk. ( 0/0) 0% Hr./Jk. ( 0/0) 0% Hr./Ds. (0/0 ) BC Turf Pts. – 2

9 Cherokee Charlie ( 120 ) Team 7 Illusions– Out of this trainers top sire, this gray five year old was able to capture the Gr. III Louisville Hdcp. two starts ago going a mile and a half at Churchill. Last years DMR Handicap met with disaster for this gray gelding as he took to the lead early and was some seven lengths in front as they past the grandstand for the first time, but as he was reaching the far turn, the jockey had to steady him and he would finish last, some 17 lengths back. Trainer is looking for redemption, and he is give J Talamo another shot at the ring. Definitely a different race today.

Tr./Jk. ( 0/1 ) 0% Hr./Jk. ( 0/1) 0% Hr./Ds. 3( 1-0-0) BC Turf Pts.- 6

10 Long River ( 119) Aer Stables- Was purchased in late May for a sawbuck after being unraced for over a year, and since coming over to this stable, this 8 year old statesmen has won a squeaker at WO by a nose in the photo against OpClm80 company, then tried the Gr. II Bowling Green Handicap at today’s distance and placed second, four lengths shy. Has to add a couple pound here from that event, but he is looking like he still has what it takes to be competitive. 19 of 24 in the money numbers in route events, so don’t discount to early. Could factor.

Tr./Jk. ( 0/0 ) 0% Hr./Jk. ( 0/0 ) 0% Hr./Ds. 1( 0-1-0) BC Turf Pts.- 4

11. Laff All Day ( 119) Maxmillion Farm– Has four starts this season with just a victory in an OpClm62.5 event at SA. Two starts ago he would place 4th just a length shy of the eventual winner in the Gr. III Louisville Hdcp. after being some eleven lengths out early. His most recent at WO saw him take to the lead early in the Gr. III Singspiel, but would fade late to finish five back in eighth. Did go runner-up in the Smith Hdcp to close out last season at this distance, but it will be hard to overcome this outside post without going early to find the rail. Questionable.

Tr./Jk. ( 0/0) 0% Hr./Jk. ( 0/0 ) 0% Hr./Ds. 1 ( 0-1-0 ) BC Turf Pts.- 0

12 Block Message ( 119 ) Tiratzo – Is still winless this season with a place and two show efforts in five starts. In those starts he did find an off track for three of those events, but two of his show efforts came over those surfaces. Had the early lead in the Makers Mark only to drop back to third at the wire. His other show effort was in the Tropical Turf Hdcp. where he was closing late to finish three quarters of a length shy. Dreaded post 12 was definitely not in his trainers wishes for this event. Did compete here last season in the DMR Mile from post 10, and closed to within a length, so who knows. He is stretching out after consistent mile affairs.

Tr./Jk. ( 0/0 ) 0 % Hr./Jk, ( 0/0) 0 % Hr./Ds (0/0 ) BC Turf Pts – 5

Also Eligible:

Bligh ( 117 ) Nolespan Racing– Was claimed in early April winning by a 4 length margin while going a Mile and an eighth on the turf at TAM. Has had two starts since the claim, with a fading effort late in the Gr. I Man O War at today’s distance, then in his most recent he earned a victory against OpClm40 company. Both races Lasix was added to his regiment. Is three for seven on the grass, and his trainer was hoping he would make the cut to show more.


Categories: Grade II, Races, STAKES ARTICLES

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