The BEL Derby Invitational is as Wide Open as You Could Want a Race to Be


 5     BEL                     The BEL Derby Invitational (GI)
$1.000.000                    3yo                     1  1/4m         Inner Turf                            122lbs

Big purses are on-tap at BEL this weekend and we look at the field for The BEL Derby Invitational (GI) with a handsome $1,000.000 purse on the line.  With money like that, you expect nice horses and that’s just what we get for this one… I have more questions than answers today but I’ll look for Mb Stables to get the job done with one of his trio of sophomores.  Yeah, that’s cheating a bit, but if you can buy a BC horse for $10.000, I can pick three in one.  I’d like to put Night Creature in this one as well, but I’m just not sure who’s pulling the strings over there, so that’s another question mark.  Max has a pair of hard-knockers as well, so with that, I get six horses in three picks, I like those kinds of odds.

It’s really wide open and should be a hoot to watch, so grab a cold snack and sneak up close to the TV for this one. 

Here’s The Field –

   Gordon Drive    Estero Farms    Gutierrez Mario   122   7/1

Had been going mile+ then shortened up last out to take the six furlong Jaipur (GI) last out, closing to get home by a half length in that sprint.  He won the Dania Beach (GIII) at a mile, but threw a clunker on the main track and tired badly in the American Turf (GII) at CD.   So, who do we get today?

   Night Creature    Aer Stables    Court J K   122   4/1

Tired in the PRK (GI) and got a bit of a break after being on the TC Trail.  He hasn’t won a stakes as a 3yo but was second in the TAM Derby (GII) and third in the BG Stakes (GII), so there is no doubt that he has the ability.  Does he fire fresh off of rest or does he need a race?  That CD work says GO!

   Hollywood Estrella    Estero Farms    Velazquez J R   122   8/1

He’s also looking for his first win of the season, but knowing he won the BC Juv Turf (GI) should give him some clout.  He’s been close in most of his starts this season, but ran what could be his worst race last out when fifth in the PEN Mile (GII).  Can he bounce back to his 2yo days?

   Lucky Storm    Arindel    Gaffalione T   122   7/1   

Another looking for his first win of 2020 but was third in the Dixie (GII) facing older horses only to finish poorly on the main track in the BEL (GI).  He’s a turf horse, I think that is safe to say, but can he run with this bunch?  I’d give him a look. 

   Grandstand Jockey    Night Rider Stables    Castellano J J   122   7/2 

Pulled a back-to-back getting home first on the main track in the Day Mile (GII) then on the grass taking the PEN Mile (GII).  He’s sharp as a razor right now, and you have to give him a big shot in this one as well as he looks like tough right now.  

   Winchester    Maxmillion Farm    Garcia Mar   122   5/1


He’s won two of his last four starts and the other two were close-up finishes vs. graded horses.  He was fourth in the FL Derby (GI) and just missed as a DH-runner-up in the Peter Pan (GIII) over this surface.  The better news is both wins were on the grass and his best efforts seem to be there.

   Sweet Sweat    Mb Stables    Davis D   122   6/1

Went four races where things were looking bad, all against graded horses, but bounced back in a big way when sent to the inner turf here and he won the Pennine Ridge (GII) in near wire-to-wire fashion.  The style was a change as well, as he usually closes… so, do they stick to the same tactics?  He’s part of a three-headed Mb monster.

   Hammerfest    Smokey Stover    Bejarano R   122   8/1 

His only 2020 win came vs. Alw horses at HOU where he won by a gaping five lengths.  His stakes efforts have been solid, a fourth in the American Turf (GII) and a third in the PEN Mile (GII), so you have to give him a puncher’s chance in this one as well.  

   Dons Carry On    Nolespan Racing    Prat F   122   7/1

Talk about all or nothing…  Broke maiden, ninth in Alw company, won the Cutler Bay then ninth in the SF Mile (GIII) then won the Whittingham (GII) at SA last out, so in six races he’s looked like Superman, or Clark Kent…  today?  Cape or suite?

   Immoral    Mb Stables    Tunon M   122   7/2

Seventh in the PRK (GI) but only beaten a length and his race prior to that were tough and he was up in the middle of every single one of those.  Only a single win this year but that was a neck victory in the TAM Derby (GII), then a third in the SA Derby prior to that last out run.  Second part of the Mb three-some, and you know he can run. 

   Iron Nation    Nakamura Stables    Gryder A T   122   9/2

His last four starts have been solid as a rock… won the Black Gold at FG, then took the Translyvania (GIII) at KEE, a third in the American Turf (GII) and a near miss in the Pennine Ridge (GII) over this surface.  You have to think he will be in the mix here.

   Bobs Ticket    Mb Stables    Ortiz I Jr   122   5/1

I was beginning to wonder if he was done after two bad races in the LA Derby (GII) and BG Stakes (GII), but a DH-runner-up in the Peter Pan (GIII) then a solid win when taken back to the turf in the United Nations (GI) where I think he excels.  He’s the third part of the Mb trio, and it sure does look formidable here today. 

   Black Horizon    Maxmillion Farm    Bisono J   122   7/1

He looked for ruins in the United Nations (GI) but fought back down the lane to get the show spot there and that equates to making him a serious threat today, despite no stakes victories.  He is a horse that seems to be on the impove and should be feared. 

   Ohtani    Sccj Stables    Rosario J   122   8/1

Broke maiden, was fifth in the Woodhaven at AQU then shook it up a bit taking the Dixie (GII) at PIM by a length, while scoring at 25/1 odds.  It’s going to be tough from way out in the fourteen hole, but after that last race, who knows?

   Bombay Diplomat    High Voltage    – No Rider –   122   AE

Won the DeMille Stakes (GIII) and was close in a couple of other stakes, so if he draws in, maybe?  He will need a scratch to draw into the field. 



Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES

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