MTH Cup (Grade 3)- $300.000 Purse
MTH- For Three Year Olds and Upward
One Mile and One Eighth on the Dirt
July 18, 2020
It’s Haskell Day at MTH, and that also means plenty of good races on the undercard as well. One of them is the ninth running of the Grade 3 MTH Cup, which is for three year olds and upward on the main track. While some purses have gone down, let’s take a moment here to acknowledge that the purse in the MTH Cup is higher then its ever been, which is for $300.000. This helped the race draw a very good field of well accomplished horses as well as some up and comers. Last year, Mb Stables picked up the victory with Opus Force, being the second consecutive winner with “Opus” in his name. He would not return for his four year old season, and now serves as a hopeful stud for Mb Stables. For this race, we started with twelve, but now have eleven heading to the gate. Here they are!
#1- Marx On The Moon (Court Jester Racing, ridden by J Bravo)- Coming off his second career graded victory, and it was right here at MTH in the Grade 3 Iselin Stakes. With similar conditions in that race, there is no reason to think that Marx On The Moon cannot win again here. But, does that half furlong make a big difference for him? After all, his races at this distance are really not that great. One such race was the Haskell last year, where he ran 11th. We should be optimistic, but if he gets passed in the stretch, then we’ll know why.
#2- Masons Day (Gdp Inc, ridden by J Stein)- It’s interesting that on Haskell day, we still have six horses in this race that are three years old when the Haskell didn’t fill to capacity. Says a lot about what people think about the importance of weight. Masons Day looks for his first stake win, and has had several opportunities to do so. He would even try the BG Stakes, but that is a race that trainer would love to forget, and for Masons Day, that’s certainly why he is here and not the Haskell. He’s been taking on PA-breds lately in overnights, and won his last start.
#3- Mad King (Mb Stables, ridden by R M Hernandez)- This three year old is here because Mb Stables has a gazillion options for the three year old exclusive races. We can classify him as an up and comer, as he makes his graded debut here. His last race was also his stake debut, and in it he ran third in the Pegasus Stakes right here last month. He knows how to hit the board, doing so seven of nine times, but has never been tested like he will be here, and it’s hard to see him winning. But he is saddled by the master.
#4- Serengeti Sands (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by M Tunon)- The colt has been a steady fixture now at the stake level, and this has allowed him to amass nearly $600.000 in earnings. That’s due to general consistency, but his claim to fame in terms of winning is still the KY Jockey Club, a Grade 2, in late 2018. Brought good form into his last start, but did not run well at all in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap.
#5- Broke Red (Mb Stables, ridden by A Beschizza)- Entry number two of two for Mb Stables, and I like his chances more then I do his stablemate. That said even he is an up and comer, making the seventh start of this career. Up until now, he has won half of the races in which he has been entered, alternating wins and other finishes. On that pattern, it would not be his day today. He comes out of a win in the $100.000 All American over Memorial Day weekend at GG.
#6- Steak And Potatoes (Tiratzo, ridden by J K Court)- After arriving at Tiratzo, Steak And Potatoes continued to run as well as he did before the sale, running third in the Grade 2 San Felipe before winning the Grade 3 Coolmore Lexington. The latter was a must-win in order to get into the KYD, so it was good to see him step up. Since then, there’s been frustration, but different forms of it. First, the frustration of the dud in the KYD. Then, the agony of finishing 5th (and by less then a length of a win) in the PRK, and collecting nothing. This is the one horse I am surprised not to see in the Haskell, but I guess that’s what Tiratzo has been doing, such as entering the Coolmore Lexington over the AR Derby. Difference here is that this is a loaded field well. Steak And Potatoes will be one of the ones to beat, though.
#7- Achilles (Diablo Diablo, ridden by D Davis)- The five year old gelding did not run well in his last start, but do not let that deter you from looking at how good his form was prior to that. He had scored consecutive wins in the Grade 1 SA Handicap, and then the Grade 2 CT Classic. Occasionally, he doesn’t show up, and that might be all that has to be said about the Grade 1 Gold Cup in May. The concern is that he doesn’t always bounce back in his next start after a race like that. What a win would do for him is put him over $2,000.000 in career earnings. He should have a good chance here.
#8- Space Commander (Nakamura Stables, ridden by A T Gryder)- He also comes out of the Grade 1 Gold Cup, and he crossed the line at about the same time as Achilles. Unfortunately for both, that was for fifth and sixth. Prior to that, he had won the Grade 2 Califonian at SA, and has been a run of alternating wins and non-wins, so he has done better in his career then Achilles has when you look at how they bounce back. When he was last worked here, in the middle of June, he was extremely impressive, so he was ready to run then, but has stayed on the shelf a little longer. Those works make him very intriguing.
#9- Komet (Estero Farms, ridden by S X Bridgmohan)- This three year old has had a few chances at the stake level, but they are not the best races in his past performances. He is a lot more competitive in overnights, so with that, he can be hard to like. Lately, he has been sprinting, but he is by no means a newbie when it comes to running long. They are also not his best race lines. He did work very well on Tuesday, so there is reason for optimism, but he is tough to pick.
#10- Insist On Beauty (Chili King Stables, ridden by J Lermyte)- I won’t say, anymore, that I feel a horse has no chance. I have learned my lesson, and one of the trainers that have taught me that lesson is indeed Chili King. So, I am not officially going to say that, but I will very surprised if he does. He comes here off a maiden win, which was good for what it was but almost a second slower when others here are running for nine furlongs. His mile work, is also about a second slower then what others are working. I’ll pass.
#11- Chaos Broke Out- Scratched
#12- Eclipse My Knowledge (Nakamura Stables, ridden by A Cedillo)- Starting on the outside, this five year old gelding is going to make the 30th start of his career. He has accumulated over $1,100.000 in earnings over that time period, thanks to nine wins and 18 in the money finishes. He is still winning graded races just fine, as two starts ago he was your victor in the Grade 3 TX Mile. A couple other recent lines are not that inspiring, but in reality, he was just at the end of a classic jumbo finish. Not my top pick, but he is one of my top four.