Aer and Mb Show Off Contenders in The TAM Derby

The TAM Derby (Grade 2) (KYD)- $400.000 Purse
TAM- For Three Year Olds
One Mile and One Sixteenth on the Dirt
March 7, 2020

One of the biggest races of the year that is hosted at TAM takes place as the 16th running of the TAM Derby goes to post with its 50-points on the line for the race winner. It is one of three big prep races being run on Saturday, so after this weekend we can really start to see how the KYD picture might be shaping up. There is still time right now, so that is why I am choosing to not yet look too closely at the KYD leaderboard. Personally, the TAM Derby is the source of my most frustrating race of my training career, coming back when I was more seriously attempting to compete in the game, so looking at it is still a little bittersweet. It has not been a frustrating race (most of the time, anyway) for Mb Stables, as he has won the race three times, coming in 2015, 2017, and 2019, so he gives others a chance to win it in even years. This is an interesting field for a prep race of this magnitude as it is primarily up and comers. One of these walking away with 50 points will go a long away in a couple months. Here is the field!

#1- Quarter Plan (Gdp Inc, ridden by J A Vargas Jr)- Just two races for this one, a runner up on debut at TUP, then winning his maiden race six weeks ago at GP. The good news for Gdp Inc here is that he will see a lot of horses that are similar in their resume, but this is a big step up. There is some fluctuation in recent work times too making me a little unsure of what we have in Quarter Plan, but the time is now to show it.

#2- Lord Of Peace (Fractious, ridden by O Flores)- A winner of just one of his six career races, and he has spent a lot of time running with the FL-bred condition. He was successful with Our Athletes in getting a piece of the purse, and that led to a $200.000 sale to Fractious. In their first race together, he disappointed in the Holy Bull, but could be a lot better here if the trainer can figure out what that happened.

#3- Immoral (Mb Stables, ridden by G Saez)- This should be one of the top contenders in the race, and it would give Mb Stables his fourth TAM Derby winner. He is one of only two horses in the field to have already won a graded stake, doing that in the LA Futurity in December. He was seen here last month in the Davis Stakes, and performed well, running third. This experience should come in handy for him while running against quite a few who are stepping up.

#4- Ngannou (Mb Stables, ridden by K J Desormeaux)- Mb Stables, in especially this time of year, likes to fool me into thinking one of his horses is the favorite in the race, then he goes on to win the race with his other entry. So, will Ngannou begin that trend for this year? He’s like many of his rivals here in that he is stepping up, but that work on February 22nd shows that he will not be playing second fiddle to Immoral here and could end up with the win himself.

#5- Laffin Hero (Alydar Stables, ridden by D E Centeno)- Here is the other horse in the field that has already won a graded stake. It was not Alydar Stables who enjoyed that win however, as it came while he was a part of Aer Stables, while winning the Sham Stakes. That was his only race with Aer, who sold him for $750.000 later in the month. Must be nice to have that in your pocket while still having the three year olds that he has.

#6- Tall Greek Stud (Oquinn Farm, ridden by J Bravo)- Making the sixth start of this career, and will be hoping to get his second win. Right now he has just a maiden victory at SAR to speak of. He was entered into the graded ranks directly off of that, and it has not panned out quite yet. He would be gelded, then given several months off, and disappointed off a layoff in the Holy Bull. Work times show he needs to find a couple tenths of speed. If he does, then he’s more competitive with this crowd.

#7- Opus Illusion (Axeman, ridden by J J Hernandez)- The PA-bred broke his maiden in his fifth start a few days before the new year after a run of seconds. By the way, this is another that spent a good amount of time with Aer Stables, so what a great year he has had so far with three year olds in his possession, or who were. After winning, he was sent to the Allison Derby, where he could only manage a fifth place effort. Work times are solid, but he’ll have to show a little more on race day, soon.

#8- Night Creature (Aer Stables, ridden by N Juarez)- If I’m not mistaken, Aer Stables was one of the trainers who pushed for the three horse limit in the TC races. (Apologies if I am wrong). So it may be ironic that in 2020 he may have to do some choosing of his own for the big race. Night Creature is in a great spot in this race if he is able to transition from the grass to the main track, and I think he will be able to do that. Another 50 points in the bag for Aer? May very well happen.

#9- Bell Boy (Rampage Stable, ridden by J L Ortiz)- A lightly raced gelding that is just making his fourth start of his career, putting in that class of hopeful up and comers. Comes out of an interesting allowance, which you’d think would have been an easier field, but it was won by a horse that ended up running second in the Southwest (Workload), and the runner up ran in the BC Juvenile and is still on the trail (Stark). That third place in that race looks much better in that perspective.

#10- Most High (Night Rider Stables, ridden by E J Zayas)- The latest maiden to try a prep race. As much as I like to point that out at all times just to show often these horses don’t win stakes while the ones that might win one gets the forum thread, Most High probably should not be ruled out from the start. He’s worked well but needs to show more on race day as his SRF’s do not impress.

#11- Stormy Sultan (Tiratzo, ridden by A A Gallardo)- This gelding by Pinnacle West will make his stake debut following a near miss in an optional claimer at GP. He’s only won once in his six starts, but also has hit the board in five of those races, so being close is something that he is used too. There are not many opportunities to get into the KYD, so this is worth the shot.

#12- City Sniper- Scratched. Think he would have hit the board if not have been the favorite, regardless of post.

#13- Cheap Trick (Nakamura Stables, ridden by D Van Dyke)- Comes in off the also eligibles with the interesting scratch of City Sniper, who I think would have hit the board here. For Cheap Trick, that would be a bigger accomplishment as he has not shown a much quite yet. He has mainly been a turf horse, and mostly has turf works that are public, and while they are sharp, if his dirt works are in line with them, he could be a sneaky play here.

Prediction: 3-8-12-5-4

— NS


Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES

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