Reigning BC Dirt Mile and Turf Mile Champions Line Up in OBrien Stakes

OBrien Stakes – Grade II [BC]
DMR Race #7 7f Dirt Graded Stake
Purse $150.000 For Three Year Olds And Upward.

Such is the competition for BC places that this race see’s a field that is far better than a $150.000 grade three would normally be. You would have to e a good horse to finish fourth in this race and in doing so would make a net loss but a win here is less about prize money and more about a pathway to the championship races in November. Here is how they line up.

1 Unfold Fractious Bridgmohan S X

After 15 of his 18 races being over longer trips and among his best runs a close third in the Pegasus World Cup and a great win in the BC Dirt Mile it was hard to see him back to sprinting. But after a season without a win his trainer decided that a change of scenery was needed and we all know how that can pay dividends with these top class horses. Whether its routing to sprinting or Dirt to Turf we normally see a rekindling of enthusiasm and sure enough when this one dropped back to six furlongs for the Crosby last time he looked a much happier horse. Close than he normally is in routes her kept on strongly for second and despite being a grade one winner and reigning BC Champ gets into this grade three without a penalty. A great draw if he can keep up early on and he must be in this race with a big chance.

2 Harleys Hope TwinTowersRacing Pennington F

This consistent five year old has been churning out good results for a long time and gets the perfect draw today to run into the frame again at probable long odds. The winner of the Fleet Sprint Handicap in April his two runs since have been good from difficult draws finishing fifth in the True North and then slopping through the mud for third in the Nerud. Back to gate two today the trainer will be hoping for a big run.

3 Marx On The Moon Court Jester Racing Ferrer J C

His win record isn’t the best but he has some good form for this sort of race. He ran third in the Jerkins Memorial over this trip last year and has competed strongly at grade one level without wining above grade three yet. He gets a great draw to work with and is more than capable of getting in the finish especially when you see his lightening works this month.

4 Julius Caesar Maxmillion Farm Saez L

Seven furlongs can be an odd trip, not a route and not really a sprint so can turn up horses that specialize. This three year old is too inexperienced to be called a specialist but he has won over this trip when winning the Bay Shore. His form doesn’t match up to the top horses in this race but he does get the three year old weight allowance and we all know what a leveler that can be.

5 Apples To Oranges Mb Stables Fuentes Ru

Third in the KYD, second in the BEL, the winner of the Pacific Classic and a close fourth in the BC Classic doesn’t scream sprinter to most people but here at HRP a good horse is a good horse over most trips and surfaces so it was no shock when he went to SA and won the triple Bend. Things didn’t go so well in the Nerud last time and whilst some may have blamed the off track we must not forget that he ran third in the KYD on an off track. Today we find out whether the Triple Bend was a flash in the pan or enough to put this one into the BC Sprint picture.

6 Tudor One Mb Stables Franco M

The KYD this year was run in near record time for every distance up to a mile and this one was right on the heels of the leader for that time so despite his best efforts being at longer trips he can clearly run very fast sprint sectionals. Now consider he ran on a 1.08 and 1 six furlong split with six pounds more than he does today then any timeform guru’s would tell you nothing could touch him in a sprint. Sadly its not as cut and dried as that but he does have good enough form here to make him a real chance with the three year old weight allowance on his side. the 1.10 flat work a couple of weeks ago says he wins but that didn’t happen in the Jerkins Memorial where he ran sixth so again nothing is cut and dried until they pass the post.

7 Mojave Rattler John Henry Velazquez J R

Bought for $225.000 probably with the hope he can get himself into the BC picture he is another that shows how trip and surface mean little at HRP as his two grade one wins came in turf mile races and today we see him in a dirt sprint. Another reigning BC Champ this time the Turf Mile he hasn’t done badly since being switched to dirt sprinting running on to be seventh in the Triple Bend from a wide draw and then winning the Vigil Stakes last time out. The works aren’t the best but they are in the ball park and you can never write off class in a race like this.

8 Red Strategy Gdp Inc Velez J I

A grade three winner at this trip he was found out next time in the Stephens when a sharper early pace and a wide draw saw him well down the field. It is difficult to weigh up his chances in this but a winner of 5 from 9 including black type can never be written off, especially with the three year old weight allowance. The stable will be hoping their rich vein of form continues.

9 Bad Days John Henry Centeno D E

Whilst some of these have been routers who have proved themselves as sprinters this is a router who is having his first sprint run since April 2019. Just a glance at this race shows you how successful it can be to switch around trips and surfaces and this grade three winner over nine furlongs has worked six furlongs as fast as the fastest sprinters around so it looks like a good gamble. The fly in the ointment is the draw and i doubt he will be able to close from the back at this trip. Interestingly he went on the speed from a wide gate to win his last sprint race 18 months ago so the trainer may be checking out the instructions used that day.

10 Declassified Mb Stables Talamo J

The third stable runner is another three year old this one by Commanding and yet another that seems to flit around trips and surfaces with little change to their form.
He won the TX Mile in his best effort to date and you would think that after a narrow defeat at grade one over the turf mile as a juvenile that that would be his best trip and surface. His last two races however have been as contrasting as most form we see these days, firstly a four length beating in the 10 furlong Queens Plate and then a two length defeat in the six furlong Crosby. His works pretty much say he could run a race at any distance over any surface so we aren’t helped by any real evidence as to what to expect today.

11 Relate D J C Racing Stables Contreras L

Another tricky read when it comes to form this one went from success in a six furlong ungraded race to third in the nine furlong IND Derby and now comes back to seven furlongs s trip which 6 months ago saw him defeated at maiden level. So how the heck are we meant to work this one out? His works over five and six furlongs are pretty good so whatever he is it is clear he can run a fast pace. The draw of course is the elephant in the room.

12 A Beagle Named Boo John Henry Van Dyke

Gets the car park draw which is a shame because this one went into my black book after his effort in the Crosby last time. That run from a wide draw saw him get way back and fly home for fourth. He did a similar thing in the Triple bend as well so this draw may actually not be the kiss of death it may seem. If he gets back but stays within a half dozen lengths and then gets a clear run he could well finish over the top of them. There are of course many if’s in that scenario.


This is actually a really competitive race and wouldn’t be out of place two grades higher. The form however is a web of routers and turfers, sprinters and three year olds that is so tangled to pick a winner it feel’s more luck a lottery pick than handicapping. For betting purposes, I shall pick the three biggest odds on the day and throw a little bet at them because there is nothing in this field that can’t win.

Categories: Grade II, STAKES ARTICLES

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