Sophomore Sprinters Go Seven in The Stevens


2 BEL      The Stevens (GI)

  $400.000        3yo         7f  Dirt              122lbs

It’s a day where the 3yo’s will shine, but this is the sprint version for the big money as we have a full gate set to go 7f in The Stevens (GI), here at BEL.  All eyes will be on my top choice and I can not go past Scafati here today.  He will forever be known as the pace setter in that 1:081 split in the 2020 KYD, and boy oh boy do I want to see if he can pull of those splits again here today.  If he does, good night, and drive home safely.  If not, let the conspiracy boys start the chatter.  Either way, I think he’s the one to beat… period.  Let’s put Red Strategy in the second spot here today.  That was a nice run at SA last time out where he won the Berrera (GIII) in fine fashion. 

It’s a race with a ton of talent and a big prize on the line…

Here’s The Field –

   Play Along    Royalty Stables    Hernandez R M   122   6/1

Back to back wins for this lightly raced gelding.  Broke maiden at FG then took an Alw race at WO in wire-to-wire fashion, so this is a bit of a step up in class.  He looks like a nice horse and may be ready to tackle the big boys.  I’d give him a look, especially for a minor portion. 

   Mexican Swagger    John Henry    Velazquez J R   122   5/1

Has been on the TC trail, but I think the idea of a sprint is right where this guy wants to be.  Was ninth in the PRK (GI) so he’s back on short rest, but has run some very solid races at a mile, so this 7f extended sprint is certainly something he should like.  He is looking for his first win of the season, so there is that…

   Scafati    Fractious    Bejarano R   122   2/1

Oh boy… did the heavy lifting in the KYD (GI) where he set a torrid pace and I’m sure all eyes will be on him to see if he can do the same here today.  Anything close to that should send him home a winner, and I can’t wait to watch his splits in this one. 

   Sail Away    Mb Stables    Court J K   122   12/1

Won the Hopeful (GI) at SAR back in Sep and it’s been a long road since.  He was a DH fourth in the Sham (GIII) and other than that it’s been long days at the office while facing very good company.  Mb Stables doesn’t come to play, but this one is hard to like. 

   Dragster    D J C Racing Stables    Beschizza A   122   8/1

So what is the bigger story… the fact that he’s been on the TC road and it’s been a bit of an uphill fight or that he’s been in a DH in his last three starts?  His only ’20 win was vs. Alw horses, so it’s going to be a tough spot to get a big check today.

   Doom    Rampage Stable    Rosario J   122   4/1

He’s been tough as nails since the vet stopped by for the most unkindest of cuts.  Broke maiden then an Alw win, then a couple of third place finishes vs. graded horses where he’s been in the heat of the battle in both of those.  Those stakes efforts were at today’s distance so he should like this.

   Ngannou    Bigking    Davis D   122   5/1

Paid immediate dividends after the private purchase, taking that ON-bred stakes up at WO where he got home in good time, by a length, and for a decent purse.  That was softer than his prior races, add in that he had a pair of bullet works getting ready for today… he should be watched in this one.

   Pollinate    Mb Stables    Gryder A T   122   6/1

Back to back wins including his first black-type win last out.  That’s three wins in five starts and he goes for his first graded effort here today.  Last out was on the grass, but his prior races were on the main track so he doesn’t seem to care where you line them up.  He looks like a nice horse.

   Red Strategy    Gdp Inc    Bridgmohan S X   122   3/1

He is four for seven after that nice last out victory in the Barrera (GIII) at SA where he rolled home by a length.  That was a bit of an upset as he was sent off at 14/1 odds, but you can’t ignore the field that he beat and he has to be one of the favorites in this one as well.

   Ghost Sword    Estero Farms    Saez L   122   8/1

Sold for $300.000 after that win at TP in the Rushaway, but disappointed at CD when fifth in the Day Mile (GII) on KYD day.  I don’t think it gets any easier with this bunch so he had better bring his best if he wants to be in the hunt here.

   Iron Return    Alydar Stables    Centeno D E   122   3/1

Back to back wins including the Lang Stakes (GIII) at PIM last out, and they fire him back on short rest today.  Four wins from eleven starts, but he’s really looked sharp in the last two outings, and got the job done in 1:09 flat last out.  Let’s see if he get’s home that quick today.

   Lock Away The Key    Fractious    Van Dyke D   122   7/1

Bounced back from a couple of bad races, but he was facing tough ones in both efforts.  Took a stakes sprint north-of-the-border last out to get things on a good note again, but here he is looking at tough graded horses.  Who shows up today?

   Aussie Steel    Arindel    – No Rider –   122   AE

Closed well at PIM on PRK day when fourth beaten a length in the Lang Stakes (GIII) and had run some nice races.  He will need some help to draw into the field here. 

Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES

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