After 12 full seasons of being competed at the six furlong distance after the inaugural event went out at seven eighths of a mile, this will be the third season back at the seven furlongs distance and many trainers and riders would be honored to etch their names on this trophy.
- The Toboggan ( Gr. III ) Purse- $150.000
- Aqueduct Race Track- For Four Years old and Up
- Seven Furlongs in Distance- Main track
- January 18th, 2020
This will be just the fourth season that we will see a full field of twelve compete for this title. With last season being dominated with sophomores capturing just about every top billing event, this affair has had its share of some senior moments in its past. For those who have been a fixture since HRP’s inception back in 2003, many will remember the name Ljosalfar ( Barking Stables ), a true champion when it came to sprint events. Many was the time we would see he and Alpha Ultimo ( Jerry Garcia Racing ) go head to head in the BC Sprint races in 05, 07 and 2008. But as an eight and nine year old , Ljosalfar managed to etch his name on this trophy in 2008/09, the only horse to win the event twice. Another senior runner who would claim the title is nine year old Kiva Kon ( Night Rider Stables ) in 2016, his final stakes victory of his career. Night Rider Stables has returned with a gray six year old this season by the name of Caviar in hopes of becoming only the third trainer to win this event more then once. Last years winning trainer Estero Farms is looking for a repeat performance from Out On A Limb, last seasons winner.
Here’s a look at this years field;
1. Fahrenheit ( Mb Stables )- Grabs the rail post, and has just narrowly missed from this post in two graded company affairs, the Gallant Bob by a head and the Grade I Stephens by a neck. Both events earned him a 98 SRF figure, but is using the services of 9 percenter Diaz in the irons, one who has only been winning at slightly less then six percent. Hopefully the instructions are bang on here.
2. Born A Diplomat ( D J C Racing Stables )- Has been a router in his past six tries last season, and now cuts back to under a mile for this affair. Does have two wins out of three going shorter in his career, but the four year old bay has yet to recover at least half of the initial investment this trainer laid out to purchase him. Will be interesting to see which strategy he decides to use with him here, but it could be a tough struggle with top caliber runners. In heavy.
3. Out On A Limb ( Estero Farms )- Last years winner of this event has returned in hopes of becoming the second back to back victor. Surprising that he wasn’t snatched up in last years $32 claimer with his more then $1,800 in career earnings, a race he narrowly missed winning. Rider Davis has returned to the irons from his efforts in last seasons Westchester, and he will need to have this one a little close to the front to be effective down the lane. Will need to be within three or less at the turn for home.
4. Saturday Khartoum ( Rousee )- Top active horse for this stable and he will be looking to add his first win for his trainer this year. Closed out last year way back in late August where he showed some early speed in the Gr. I Forego, but faded to finish ninth, just two shy. Did compete in last years running of this event with a sixth place finish and hopefully unlike the Forego where he placed ninth in the past two seasons, he is able to find a higher placing this season here then sixth. Zero for five starts last year.
5. Commanding Know ( Delta Farms )- Was on a tear last season winning five straight victories in seven starts as a sophomore. He closed out last season over a muddy Gulfstream track at today’s distance, and while he had success in off tracks in the past, this event ( Gr. III Mr Prospector ) left him struggling to close to within five by the line. Did take home the Bet On Sunshine Stakes in his previous race over a fast surface, and it looks like he will have to battle the snowflakes on Saturday. Will need some of that winning efforts from last season here.
6. Kiss The Snake ( Nakamura Stables ) – Nak and this six year old bay will probably draw top billing at the mutuals here with his efforts coming out of last years BC Sprint race, where he closed to within a length at the shorter six panel distance. Won both the Gr. I Forego and the Gr. I Vanderbilt Hdcp. leading up to the Sprint, so he definitely has put away some top notch runners in his career. Second highest career earner of this group, with more then half that coming last season. In my opinion, he is definitely the one to topple here.
7. Caviar ( Night Rider Stables ) – Trainer has been earning a majority of his victories this season at the claiming ranks, and now hopes to add a stakes title this season. This gray closed out last season with two starts at this oval, a third in the Hudson which he missed by a neck in a five way photo, then failed miserably in the Gr. III Fall Highweight Hdcp. placing eleventh. Did not fair well in the earlier Gr. III Bold Venture Stakes up at WO, placing 12th, some four length out. While trainer would have preferred Cancel in the irons, he has looked elsewhere. Maintaining speed is the key.
8. Grand Speed ( TwinTowersRacing ) – His three year old campaign consisted of a record of 8 ( 3-3-0 ), with his victories coming all at sprint competitions. Two starts prior to the end of last year he was able to take home a victory in the $150. Mr Prospector Stakes at MTH going six furlongs. Most of his races have been in smaller fields of five or less, and his last race was a full field of eleven in which he placed ninth, two shy with a late closing effort. Has been showing a late running style in his past two stakes events, and may get up for a share if all goes to plan.
9. So Profound ( Asgar ) – Was able to win fifty percent of his starts last season, and now looks to try an capture his first ever Graded title. He was able to capture the $100 Overskate Stakes at WO last season going today’s distance, but it could be a struggle with lightly raced jockey Fukumoto in the irons on Saturday. Trainer would like nothing better then to add another Graded title alongside’s Ghastly’s Grade II win back in 2016 in the Bayakoa, but this could be a tough uphill battle here.
10. Dodger Blue ( RNP Stables ) – Went out with a bang last season capturing the CC Rapid Transit down at GP going today’s distance. Had a very impressive record last season with 13 starts, and finished 5-2-4 in total, earning almost all of his career earnings that season. Now as a four year old, he is hoping to build on his two show finishes in the Gr. III Jones Stakes and the Gr. III ONT Derby. Both those were longer route affairs in which he closed late, so rider needs him sparking at the top of the lane. Could possibly hit one out of the park.
11. Along For The Ride ( John Henry ) – Things start to get tougher the further out from the rail, but in first asking for this new trainer from the twelve hole, this then four year old closed late and nearly stole away a victory in the SA Sprint Championship. The winner of that event closed out last season winning the Gr. I Malibu and he did finish ahead of Pulpit in his runner-up effort, that one just winning last weekend here. Should be the main threat to Kiss The Snake today.
12. Mr Cat Summers ( First Street Stables ) – Competed last season in all three TC events with his best effort coming in the Preakness which he led down the stretch and only lost by a neck in a four way photo. In all three of those events he was positioned in outside posts and he had to manage his speed and placement. This shorter affair could play well if he gets sent out early from the start and maintains a suitable pace to leave some late energy to the wire. Works and maturity will definitely help. Could surprise.