Ten Sophomores to Gate in Affirmed Stakes at SA


  2  SA    Affirmed Stakes (GIII)

$100.000    3yo        1 1/16m Dirt         122lbs +penalties

Sunday Stakes in the SA sun… and Sophomores going at it.  We look at the field for the Affirmed Stakes (GIII) going a mile and a sixteen on the main surface and I’ve landed on Tequila Rise as my top selection.  That was a solid run in the Peter Pan (GIII) at BEL last out and I think the bay can build off of that start to get home first in this one.  I’d give Strange Magic a big look today as well.  He comes in with back to back wins including a nice looking victory in the Sir Barton at PIM in his most recent.  There are a few others that should be considered but let’s go with this duo and see if we can get the job done.

Here’s The Field –

   Catch Speedy    Nakamura Stables    Pereira T J   122   10/1

He’s still looking for his first win of the ’21 season but comes in off of a pair of runner-up efforts including The English Channel at GP on the grass in his most recent.  He was fourth in the Withers (GIII) at long odds, so he can run with this type, and he may have some odds with him.  

   Grayte Cruise    Fractious    Cedillo A   122   9/2

Won his first three starts then was off the board in the ARK Derby (GI) and the PRK (GI), so it’s back down the ladder a spot and they are looking for a spot to get him back on track.  They plunked down a pretty penny to put this one in the barn ($700.000) so they like him.

   Tequila Rise    Nakamura Stables    Prat F   122   5/2

0-4 this season but was the runner up in the Peter Pan (GIII) at BEL in his most recent where he was beaten a length on a wet track.  He’s been close in a few other stakes events, so he has class and ability, but that last out race seems to be key to me and I look for him to do big things today. 

   Familiar Moon    John Henry    Espinoza V   122   7/1

Had been running with the best of the best on the TC Trail but it’s been a tough road as he hasn’t beaten a horse in his last three starts.  Was third in the Lecomte Stakes (GIII) in his first start after changing hands, so he has some good finishes with big horses… can he get back there today?

   Turfway    Patterson Stables    Hernandez J J   122   6/1

Won his only ’21 start taking down OptAlw types at FG, then was shelved again so does he like to run fresh and this sets up nice for him or would you rather see a race under his belt being away since Feb 14th?  His only bad race of late was vs. graded foes, so there’s that. 

   Herbalise    Rousee    Smith M E   122   8/1

Beat OptAlw types at SA to get his only seasonal win from three starts, but has been close in both of his other starts.  This is a step up as all of those were Alw or state-bred stakes, so he’s going to have to bring his best to be part of this one. 

   Toothpaste    Night Rider Stables    McCarthy T   122   7/1

His only bad start this season was in the Rebel (GII) where he just didn’t get much accomplished that day.  Won last out taking down high-end Alw horses at CD where he was game to get up on the wire.  This is another step up in class but maybe he fits a bit better here.

   Fairly Lucky    Mb Stables    Gonzalez Ru   122   9/2

The big barn brings a tough guy here, his only off-the-board race was in the Lexington (GIII) at KEE on a wet track – other than that, he’s been right in the middle of every start showing four wins from seven starts.  It’s a good spot for him to go after a graded win. 

   Strange Magic    La Canada Racehorses   Gutierrez Mario   122   7/2

Looked good taking the Sir Barton at PIM on PRK day where he closed to get home by a length in that one and has to be considered a front-runner in this one as well.  That was back-to-back wins for him as he took down Alw horses at CD in the race prior… give him a big look. 

   Cuban Moon    Nakamura Stables    Pyfer J   122   6/1

Only a maiden win for this one but he has three consecutive Alw runner-up races since the win.  This is a step up, but he looks like he is versatile and consistent and that could prove to be very handy here today. 

COZMAN    3 / 9             Willie’s Green Card    3 / 7 / 8

Categories: Grade III, STAKES ARTICLES

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