Phoenix (Grade 2) (BC)- $250.000 Purse
KEE- For Three Year Olds and Upward
Six Furlongs on the Dirt
October 8, 2021
Exciting racing comes early this weekend, as a key race in the build up to the BC Sprint takes place on Friday at KEE in the 18th running of the Grade 2 Phoenix. This race was initially a Grade 3 and would be upgraded in 2016. It’s purse has hovered around the $200.000 mark for much of its life, with the current $250.000 being its most common offering. Last year, D J C Racing Stables got the win with Stark, though he would not run well in the BC Sprint a month later. If you were a fan of his, he’s available in the shed these days. Peculiar Sensation, one of the co-winners in 2019 ended up running sixth in the BC Sprint a month later. The horse he was in a dead heat with, Di Bug, did much better in his BC effort, placing second. We’ll have a full gate for this race, and here are the participants!
#1- Tallmadge Star (Our Athletes, ridden by J R Velazquez)- After being acquired by Our Athletes in private sales for $200.000, Tallmadge Star rolled off a streak of being first or second in five straight races. Three of them were wins, and two were Grade 2’s much like this one. However, his last start at SAR was a shocker, but I am willing to forego that as being a throw out. Amazingly, in his 24 career starts, he has been in the top four in all but two.
#2- Golden Treasure (Mb Stables, ridden by Ru Gonzalez)- This is another horse that simply does a fantastic job in getting in the top four. He has not had as long of a career yet as Tallamadge Star, so it does not wow me as much, but it is still impressive. He arrived at Mb Stables in December for $55.000 in private sales and had two very different races at SAR in August. He’d win the Amsterdam, but was then nowhere to be seen at the end of the Jerkens Memorial.
#3- Angelsinheaven (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by E Jaramillo)- The autogen has had a thirty race career, and raced in the Phoenix last year. He’d run fourth, and he would be a part of the BC Sprint a month later, placing seventh. This year, he’s won twice, with the top result being a win at the Grade 3 MD Sprint Stakes at PIM in May. That’s the last time he won, and he was disappointing in his last start, placing fifth while trying to run longer in the Seagram Cup (Grade 3).
#4- On The Turning Away (Gdp Inc., ridden by D Davis)- In his younger days, he looked good as a dirt sprinter, but then he was moved to routes, and then to the grass and while that was not a waste of his time, he went back to dirt sprints at the start of this year, and has been efficient with five in the money finishes, and two wins. Ran third in the Crosby at DMR, then went east for the Forego and failed to hit the board.
#5- Funny Cide (Iolaus Racing, ridden by M J Sanchez)- After running nine and then ten furlongs in his last two starts, hopefully he will be ready for the finish line to come up when it does. Two of his three career wins have come in his four career sprints, so he will probably like this alot. The best race to look at with him was back in April, when he ran second at the Big A against NY-breds in the Times Square.
#6- Shifu Tan (Fractious, ridden by A Cedillo)- He has traded in his Keikowin Racing silks for those of Fractious as he makes his debut for his new trainer following a $280.000 private sales transaction on September 24th. Had a good looking runner up performance at the Grade 1 Stephens in June, and Fractious is hoping for more of that. His last two races have been subpar, including running eighth in the Jerkens Memorial.
#7- Papa Nature (Night Rider Stables, ridden by B J Hernandez Jr)- Another horse that comes out of the Jerkens Memorial, and another that did not hit the board in that race. Papa Nature was fifth best there. Like Funny Cide, his career highlight to this point is the Times Square from April, but in that race, Papa Nature took home the win by half a length over the rival he sees a couple posts to his inside. Seems to be a bit of an inconsistent type.
#8- Settle The Score Vr (John Henry, ridden by T Gaffalione)- Picked up in private sales this June for $75.010, a month after he won the Grade 3 Lang Stakes. Since then, he has raced three times and picked up one win, that being an allowance. He does come here off a more impressive outing, though, where he placed second in the Grade 3 DeFrancis Memorial Dash a few weeks ago. I’d expect to see more of the same on Friday.
#9- Twilight Flame- Scratched
#10- In Captivity (Mb Stables, ridden by S X Bridgmohan)- This just may be the first horse we get to here that enters the Phoenix off an impressive performance. Sure, Settle The Score Vr was good in his last as well, but In Capitivity is here off of two triple digit SRF’s, and was third in the Grade 1 Forego in his last. This shows that this seven year old gelding just keeps on ticking, and this will be the second time he’s run in the Phoenix. He was also here in 2019, but he’d like to forget how he did.
#11- Dragonheart Hanny (Jive Inc., ridden by D Moran)- He’s won four of twelve, and there is a stake mixed in with those. That would be the $40.000 Cole Stakes for NM breds at SRP in May. But you have to start somewhere, and Dragonheart Hanny would be seen in the Amsterdam for his graded debut, and was sixth in the mud. A month later, he was involved in a three-way photo for win at the Rumson, getting third. He’s on the upswing, and he usually finishes near the front and in the money. Not the biggest name here, but he may be on his way and is definitely worth a look.
#12- Geronimo (Nakamura Stables, ridden by V R Carrasco)- The trainer/jockey combination teams up again on Friday with this gelding that will forever be remembered as the 2020 KYD pace setter. He follows a theme that others show in this race where he was on great form heading into his last race, and then his last race was a disappointment. For Geronimo, he won the Grade 3 Bold Venture and was second in the Grade 1 Crosby, but would then only be seventh in the Forego. He can bounce back, but this is a tough post to do it from.