The Ft. Lauderdale Stakes (Grade 2)- $200.000 Purse
GP- For Three Year Olds and Upward
One Mile and One Eighth on the Turf
December 14, 2019
Depending on how you look at it, this is either the 12th or the 13th running of the Ft. Lauderdale Stakes. There were two editions of it last year, one coming in January and the other in December, with race going from its former distance of 8.5 furlongs to the current distance. It does seem as though the race was moved at the real-life track level that year. Those more familiar with the real life track know the deal. The most recent race was won by Lets Do It Bog Boy for RNP Stables, and the Cherokee Sunset gelding has gone to have a good year this season. This year, we started with nine, but that’s now down to a field of eight. Here is the field!
#1- Grande Chai Latte (The A Stable, ridden by N Juarez)- After breaking his maiden at BEL in October, the trainer showed a lot of confidence in him but elevating him into the Grade 3 River City Handicap, and he scored the big win there, earning a 101 SRF in the process. Weights were basically even there, so it wasn’t as if he had a weight advantage. Pretty interesting story, with one race in 2017, then a long layoff to August of this year.
#2- Going Gone (John Henry, ridden by J R Leparoux)- The right jockey is on this horse, as Leparoux is a three time winner of the race, winning each of the races between 2015 and 2017. He’s been active in Grade 1’s recently, with the highlight being a win in the Shoemaker Mile. His last race was the BC Mile, where he was okay but without a check in a sixth place finish. Seems due for another big run.
#3- Chipotle (Arindel, ridden by E J Zayas)- The gelding makes the 23rd start of this career and hopes that it will be as successful as when he began the year, right here at GP. In January, he was the winner of the SSM Turf, but has not really built on that any further. He’s been good in the overnights this year, but has not picked up another stake win.
#4- Oxford Manor (Smokey Stover, ridden by P Lopez)- Looking to win his third race in a row. Last month, he won his graded stake debut, coming in the Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf. This is an impressively consistent horse, earning some sort of a check in 14 of his 15 races. He has consistently been able to step up when he has been asked to, so he moves forward a bit here in competition level.
#5- Sezarchai (Ekli Stable, ridden by E Jaramillo)- He’s been second in his last two races, including just missing at the wire in the River City Handicap to Grande Chai Latte. Sezarchai is a Grade 1 veteran, but since last year’s HOL Derby, they are not the best races in his recent past performances. However, races like this, where he is not quite going up against the elite, he has been better.
#6- Name Drop (Fractious, ridden by M Tunon)- Acquired in October for $350.000 from John Henry, Name Drop has not lived up to the price tag in either of this two races. He last ran in the BC Mile, and was a non-factor throughout the race, and only beat one rival. Though, prior to that he was also disappointing in the Shadwell. Go back one more race, and you see the horse that the trainer hopes he can become again, in winning the Fourstardave.
#7- Cheapsnake (Nakamura Stables, ridden by Ro Maragh)- Makes his debut with his new trainer after being acquired in private sales from John Henry in mid-August for $75.000. This will mean that he has not raced in about six months, something that probably hints at trouble behind the scenes, or he would be racing regularly. Hopefully, Nakamura has worked out whatever issues there may have been for this race.
#8- Hefner- Scratched
#9- Decibel (Threshold, ridden by E S Prado)- It will be a 90-day layoff for the five year old Decima gelding, and hopefully that rest means he will race a lot better then his most recent race. In the Northern Dancer BC Turf, he was only 11th, but the race was probably just too long for him. His form was pretty good before that, so it’s a little surprising he didn’t reappear sooner, simply at a shorter distance.