October 9, 2021 16:05
KEE Race #10 $750.000 1-Mile Turf
3YO+ 121/124 Lbs (F/M 118/121 Lbs)
Track/Stakes Record-1:31.91 (A Little Oblivion/Cranberry Punch-2012)
A KEE “Fall Stars” staple, the G1 Shadwell Turf Mile will be contested for the 17th time here at HRP on Saturday. The $750.000 purse will be up for grabs and the winner gets a guaranteed spot in the G1 BC Mile next month at DMR. Three trainers sit atop the HRP standings for this event as Australia Wide (2006, 2009), Mb Stables (2013, 2018), and Sanny Village (2014, 2016) all have two wins to their credit. As far as the jockeys go, K.J. Desormeaux (2007, 2009), R. Bejarano (2010, 2014), R. Maragh (2011, 2017), J. Rosario (2012, 2016), and G. Gomez (2012, 2013) have all piloted two G1 Shadwell Turf Mile winners.
This year’s race lost a little bit of luster when Immoral was withdrawn after drawing stall 14; however, that runner’s exit opened the door for Sparky Laga to draw into the race. This looks like a quality field for the G1 Shadwell Turf Mile so let’s have a look at each of them:
#1 Spiral (Mb Stables/Mario Gutierrez 124): 5yo started his season off with a couple of allowance runs before running in three consecutive G3’s. Last two efforts were what we’ve come to expect from him and have no doubt that he’ll be primed for a top performance on Saturday. Sitting in 18th on the big board, but he could qualify with an exacta finish and, from this post, that is a reasonable expectation.
#2 Roman Rage (Gdp Inc/D.E. Centeno 124): If the G2 DMR Mile can be forgiven, there’s a lot to like with this 7yo. Prior to that run he had three consecutive exacta finishes in the Opening Verse, G1 Shoemaker Mile, and G3 Forbidden Apple. Looks to be tactical enough to put this post to good use early or he could drop back to make one run. Mixed signals.
#3 Hollywood Capo (Nakamura Stables/V.R. Carrasco 124): His two races in this division have been quality efforts. Came off the shelf to pass all but one in the April seasonal bow and took the G2 Wise Dan in his third start of the season. He’s only really had one bad run this entire year. From this post, he should be able to get whatever trip he desires and should be right there for the exotics.
#4 Last City (Lemax Farms/G.W. Corbett 121): 3yo comes here sporting a 7-0-0-3 record in 2021. Hasn’t defeated winners in his career and this is a tough spot for a horse still eligible for N2L. Understand taking a shot, but can’t endorse in this field.
#5 Call Me King (Mb Stables/E. Jaramillo 121): 3yo stablemate to the rail horse comes here off of a win in the G3 VA Derby and needs another win if he wants to get to DMR. It will be interesting to see how the conditioner tells Jaramillo to ride this one as he has enough speed in his prior races to be forwardly-placed in here. That being said, this feels more like a trifecta/superfecta horse than an exacta horse.
#6 Commander Wellesley (Jive Inc./D. Moran 124): 4yo broke the author’s KOD in the G2 King Edward BC win. He’s already booked his ticket to DMR, but still expect him to fire big. He’s gonna be a bit further back than some of the other main contenders, but he’ll make a run at them. Win or lose, this should set him up nicely for the big one in November.
#7 Catch A Buzz (Threshold/J. Bravo 124): 6yo has taken two swings at G1 races this season and he’s in an 0-2 hole coming into this one. His non G1 races have been both been wins so there’s talent still in there. Looks like he will be a part of the pace puzzle, but he will have to work out a trip from this middle draw. Best case may be to stalk-and-pounce, but, even if that goes perfectly, he’ll have to hold off the closers. Taking a pass.
#8 Black And Red (Australia Wide/J.R. Velazquez 124): 4yo has made 16 starts in his career and all 16 have been on the dirt. G1 BC Dirt Mile winner from 2020 makes his turf debut in a pretty tough spot. That being said, his turf works are right on par with the best of this group and this confitioner has won this race a couple of times in the past. Don’t think he’s done running in important races, but going to make him prove he’s at least as good on the lawn before endorsing him.
#9 Hollywood Command (Scarletandgray Stable/J. Pimentel 124): If Saturday was the big day, this guy would be in as he sits 14th currently on the big board. Alas, such is not the case and he needs a top 3 finish to secure his spot. Stuck a little wide, but he looks the sort that will drop back a bit and make a run through the lane. He’ll have to find a clear path, but no reason to think he won’t have every chance to grab a slice.
#10 Darth Invader (Diablo Diablo/J. Stein 124): Colt is an interesting study as he hasn’t run as poorly as his record would indicate this year. G1 Shoemaker Mile was a complete toss-out and believe that if he breaks well on Saturday he could factor. The post doesn’t necessarily hurt his chances, but it sure doesn’t help them either. Think he’ll run better than his odds, but don’t think he bests this group.
#11 Stealth Command (Nakamura Stables/J.K. Court 121): 0-5 in graded races, but 4-8 in overnights. 3yo enters here on a two-race winning streak going this mile trip on the grass. If he has another leap up in him, he looks like he is quick enough to be near the front and could be dangerous. Not gonna fully back him, but not going to leave him off any tickets either. Longshot possibility.
#12 Jakarta (Fractious/D. Davis 121): 3yo cuts back to a mile for the first time since February and is still looking for his first win of his sophomore season. He has danced every dance within the 3yo turf division and hasn’t run poorly in any of his nine starts (minus yielding turf debacle in late May). Cutback could be just what the doctor ordered and expect to see him passing horses late, but not sure he passes all of them.
#13 King Que Niagra (D J C Racing Stables/J.A. Vargas Jr 124): 4yo needs to cycle back to his spring form as he has thrown three straight dull efforts. Drawn out this wide, his options are a bit limited and he will probably try to drop well back before launching his run. Made-up some good ground late in G1 WO Mile and could see him doing the same today, but he’ll have to pass a bunch of good horses to get it done.
#15 Sparky Laga (Angelos Stable/S. Ryan 124): 4yo draws-in off of the AE list and is rewarded with the outside stall. He faces a question right off the bat of whether to go forward or backward when the gates pop. His best chance may be to break running and let the chips fall where they may, but he has shown some ability racing from anywhere. Still, think this is a bit too much to ask from this wide.
Final Analysis: 6-1-9 in an extremely competitive G1 Shadwell Turf Mile. Good luck to all of the connections on Saturday and in all of their races going forward.