The Eatontown Stakes (Grade 3)- $150.000 Purse
MTH- For Fillies and Mares Three Years Old and Upward
One Mile and One Sixteenth on the Turf
June 20, 2020
For the 14th running of the Grade 3 Eatontown Stakes, we appear to have a very evenly matched field that should provide a very entertaining, and perhaps one of our classic finishes at the wire. In the prior races, there is a pretty even split between races won by three year olds and by older horses, with the threes having a 7-6 advantage, but looking more recently, you can see that the threes are on a five race winning streak. That has an 83% chance of being extended this year since only one of our six horses is older. That will put Smokey Stover’s Cracked The Code at a six pound weight disadvantage. Last year, the race was won by Angel Shark and Maxmillion Farm, in what was at the time, the third race of a four race winning streak. It was part of her rise to bigger and better, and that resulted in her running fourth in the BC Fillies and Mares Turf. She currently remains competitive at the graded level for John Henry. That is a lead all six of these are hoping to follow, so let’s meet the field!
#1- Sweet Tip Toe (Estero Farms, ridden by Mario Gutierrez)- Starting on the rail, we get a horse that has simply taken a great liking to the grass ever since she was able to run on it. While on turf, she has been part of the exacta in four out of five races and is on the upswing, overall. Managed a good looking win the CA Cup Oaks ($200.000 Purse) at the start of the year, and has progressed fine into the graded ranks, other then one blip. Her SRF’s have been increasing steadily, and I don’t think that is only because she has been picking up her competition level. This will make her a threat in this field.
#2- Cracked The Code (Smokey Stover, ridden by C P DeCarlo)- It is going to be a tough assignment for this filly to crack the code against the young ones, and that’s really the main issue at play when looking at her. She is certainly a very reliable horse, as she has picked up at least some portion of the purse in all 16 races of her career, and thirteen of those were one of the top three positions (four wins). Cracked The Code has been experienced in ungraded stakes, but has only raced in a graded event once, where she was 2nd in the Grade 3 Fox at GP. I really appreciate her consistency, but with giving up six pounds to every other runner here, that is tough.
#3- Czarina (La Canada Racehorses, ridden by M Tunon)- Picked up by the trainer in the September 2019 auction for just $15.020 after her maiden win, and La Canada Racehorses has done well to take her another step forward. A big part of this was by running her at least a mile, and she has now won three of her last six races. In that, she has also picked up at least a portion of the purse every time out. Most recently, we saw her finish third in a small field at the Grade 3 Gallorette at PIM, which in terms of condition, is pretty much identical to this race. Never runs a bad race, and that should not change here.
#4- Starship Rhythm (Arindel, ridden by T Gaffalione)- This filly by Starship Command spent the early portion of her career running in FL-bred stakes, won the FL Sire Stakes- Vixen as a two year old. She remained strong in what was a heavy racing schedule that fall, but that has not carried into this season that way it looked like it could, and you have to wonder if she was over-raced just a little bit late in 2019. After only getting a week between starts, she struggled for a while, but may be turning the corner now. Running on the grass may be helping, but the jury is still out on her future, as a whole.
#5- Starbound (Mb Stables, ridden by Mar Garcia)- Early in her career, she was one of those horses who was always running well, but just could not win. That would finally come in her seventh race, when she won at TAM in a statebred, giving a good reminder for trainers like myself to remain patient with a horse you like but just cannot catch a break at the wire. That is something that Mb Stables knows very well, and since then has won two more times. Her last start saw her win the $75.000 Powder Break over soft turf at GP, and that’s earned her the trip up I-95 to her graded debut here.
#6- Rising Fashion (Nakamura Stables, ridden by A Beschizza)- Here is another horse that simply does a great job being able to get at least something for their trainer after a race, getting a piece of the pie in all nine of her races. Two have resulted in wins. Now, she is making her graded debut fresh off a third place performance at the $100.000 Hilltop Stakes at PIM. It will be a tough go for her, but she is certainly very capable of earning the win in what is a good field of evenly matched horses who know how to get it done.
Prediction: 1-3-5-2 (Though I can see all six of these horses finishing in any of the six spots, and expect that the field will be within two lengths, tops, at the wire).