Bernardo Handicap (Grade 3)- $100.000 Purse
DMR- For Fillies and Mares Three Years Old and Upward
Six and a Half Furlongs on the Dirt
August 21, 2020
The Bernardo Handicap has been a part of the schedule within the game since 2003, and it was won by Poisonessmonster. The most notable winner of the race was the 2011 winner, Donegal Maid. Other than that, most past champions of the race do not have much name recognition. Last year, Seydoux picked up the victory for Smokey Stover, but she would only race two more times before being retired. Amazingly, despite winning just last year, she has already produced four foals, and two of them have won! For this race, we have a field of eight. Weights are either 119 or 120, so they are a non-factor in this handicap. Let’s take a look!
#1- Good Liver (Arindel, ridden by D Van Dyke)- A very reliable horse to place in the trifecta, as she has hit the board in nine of her last ten starts. Many of those are third place finishes, and the one race where she did not place in the top three was her last outing at the Fleet Treat Stakes for CA-breds right here at DMR. Despite that, she makes her graded debut here, and has earned the opportunity.
#2- Murky Waters (Two Hearts One Love, ridden by J I Velez)- Look who’s “back”. Of course, he never did leave. Once again, the trainer re-tooled his stable by the funds he gained in the auction and private sales under the guise of a sell out, and with some of them, Murky Waters was acquired. It will be the ninth start for the filly, and the first time she has run on the main track. Her work times do not excite.
#3- City Of Soul (John Henry, ridden by K J Desromeaux)- The two entries from John Henry have nearly identical earnings, and each come out of an open allowance at ALB about three weeks ago. In it, City Of Soul got the win and Steady Sneaks was third. That sums them up pretty good, as City Of Soul has been more effective in finding the winner circle, with seven wins in 19 starts, while her stablemate places third much more often. The better of the trainer’s two entries.
#4- Steady Sneaks (John Henry, ridden by A T Gryder)- Battled her stablemate in that open allowance, and got up for third. That’s a place she has finished seven times in her 23-race career. That has also seen her win five times. She has some graded experience in her past, but none of the runs really stand out.
#5- You Just Have 2 Wait (Estero Farms, ridden by V Espinoza)- A little over a year ago, the filly picked up a big win at SAR, taking the Grade 1 Test. So there has been some give and take with big successes, but since then she has made Estero Farms wait for another big result. She has been decent recently, such as running second in the Grade 3 Vagrancy Handicap at BEL in May. This could be a spot where she finds victory love again, so we’ll see.
#6- Maria Alexandra (Hawaiian Shirt Guy, ridden by J J Hernandez)- Quite an interesting entry, in that it is career start 37 for her, and virtually all of that has been on the grass. The last time she raced on the main track was in 2017. Ran in some PA-bred stakes recently, but did not do well, and was claimed on the 8th of this month for $28.000. Now, she is entered here. If she was with Hawaiian Shirt Guy a little longer, I could say she has been prepared for this, but it seems like a shot in the dark. Fortunately, this is HRP and those shots sometimes connect.
#7- All Tuned Up (Jediminds Stable, ridden by G Franco)- We would expect to see her race Maria Alexandra on the grass. She last raced on dirt in September 2018. She’s been decent with hitting the board, but lacking in wins recently. The difference between her and the horse next to her is that she seems a little more prepared for this race then her rival. Still tough to pick in here.
#8- Best of Seven (Chili King Stables, ridden by Ru Fuentes)- This Asset Class filly has managed just one win in her twelve starts, so she would have been long since eliminated in a seven game series, but with just a little more luck at the wire, she could have two impressive wins in NY-bred stakes. She ran longer in them, and was caught at the wire, so perhaps shortening up is all it will take. Expect her to be a top threat here, but I have a hard time putting a horse that’s 1-for-12 on top.