Which Direction Will Palos Verdes Stakes Take?

Palos Verdes Stakes (Grade 2)- $200.000 Stakes
SA- For Four Year Olds and Upward
Six Furlongs on the Dirt
January 25, 2020

An impressive field has assembled on Saturday for the Grade 2 Palos Verdes Stakes at SA. It is the 16th time that this race for sprinters has been run. Over a decade ago, Native Son won this race in consecutive years, coming in 2008 and 2009 for trainer Hearts Of Steel. Those wins make that former trainer the only one to win this race more then once. There are a few top trainers in this field who will be looking to get their first Palos Verdes win in what will be a full field of twelve. Let’s take a look at the participants!

#1- Glorious (Spankys Barn, ridden by V Espinoza)- On the rail, this six year old gelding will be making the second Palos Verdes start of this career. He previously ran in 2018, and placed eighth in what was, at the time, the race that immediately followed his second place finish in the BC Sprint. He ran for Spankys Barn then, but then passed through a couple of other hands before returning to familar territory. Spanky made out well there, considering he initially sold him for $200.000 and got him back about six months later for $10.000.

#2- Torque Converter (Greeko Holdem, ridden by J Valdivia Jr)- Makes his graded stake debut here after having success in ungraded stakes, or stakes that ran with the NM-bred restriction. Until this last race, though, he had not won since breaking his maiden. That triumph came at five furlongs in the $65.000 KLAQ Handicap last month. This is a stern test for him, given how strong this field came up.

#3- A Beagle Named Boo (John Henry, ridden by H Figueroa)- A strong 2019 season saw him hit the board in nine of eleven races, but wins did not come to the very end of the year, where he took two of his last three. He comes into this race off a win in the Grade 3 Mr Prospector, which was run in the mud. His work times are remaining consistent, so he should be ready to have a productive four year old season, at least until he has to start facing three year olds.

#4- Machine Gun Tommy (Fractious, ridden by B Blanc)- A lightly raced four year old that makes just his seventh career start. Sat around for a while in the Mb Stables barn without doing anything, though fared well for Tiratzo before being claimed by John Henry. So far, he has not shown that he can handle this level though, as a big jump from an allowance into the Grade 1 Cigar Handicap did not go well. Perhaps he just needed the race.

#5- Rainstorm (Fractious, ridden by D Van Dyke)- After a couple of double digit finishes running long, Rainstorm returns to the type of race that first saw him make a name for himself. He became experienced at seven furlongs, but has not run six since 2018. Seems like he might try to run at or near the lead here early, but regardless of what the trainer opts for, this is a horse that needs a good run. The Grade 1 Awesome Again win is mixed in with some disappointments.

#6- Cardinal Direction (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by N Arroyo Jr)- After having a lot of potential at the beginning of his three year old season, Cardinal Direction found himself at his best when not chasing the KYD dream. He ran next to last there, but it’s been better since he cut his distance back. Ran fifth in the BC Sprint a couple months ago, and is always in the mix when running less then a mile.

#7- Harleys Hope (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by A Cedillo)- Makes the 27th start of his career, and two of his six career wins have come in his last three starts. While he has tried the graded ranks, the highlight of his is the $100.000 Harris against four other CA-breds in October. His works coming into this race are great, and there is no room for a letdown from them here.

#8- We Tallawah (Night Rider Stables, ridden by A Delgadillo)– While he has attempted a graded stake once, this is a big jump up for him in terms of competition. However, I think he is ready for it, given a strong run of form he had in the fall of last year. He did win an ungraded stake in that timeframe, and always seems to be near the front, hitting the board in 10 of 12 starts. Good outside the box pick against bigger names.

#9- Peculiar Sensation (Mb Stables, ridden by F Prat)- This is one of those ever shrinking number of graded stakes that Mb Stables has never won. To try and do that this year, he brings a horse in Peculiar Sensation that has been a steady producer for him over his career. He’s won eight of 20, and two starts ago took the Grade 2 Phoenix. That brought him to the BC Sprint two months ago, and he ran a respectable sixth. Consistent horse that seems poised to get a piece of this purse.

#10- Salili (Nakamura Stables, ridden by A T Gryder)- The four year old Cherokee Sunset colt returns to the main track for the first time since May. His career, overall, has been an even split between dirt and turf, but all but one win was on the grass. That main track win was in his debut race as a two year old. Comes off a beauty of a win at the AQU Turf Sprint Championship. Can he duplicate that here?

#11- Star Sailer (Bigking, ridden by J Rosario)- Claimed for just $7.500 in June, Bigking has done very well with this horse, going back and reworking out the adds and seeing his fortune turn around. Well, he had been very good in smaller claimers up until then, too, but his speed figures increased notably. He won the CC Express last month, and he’s earned this chance against graded.

#12- Di Farley (Gdp Inc, ridden by G Franco)- His last eight starts see two wins and six duds. The wins were in open allowances, including his most recent. The duds all in graded stakes. The winner of the 2018 BC Dirt Mile has had a career to be proud of, but lately, he has not been able to run against this type of crowd. Last week, Audioslave rediscovered himself. Now, the trainer hopes Di Farley can do the same.

Prediction: 6-9-7-3

— NS

Categories: Grade II, STAKES ARTICLES

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