The Hirsch Turf Classic (BC) (Grade 1)- $500.000 Purse
BEL- For Three Year Olds and Upward
One Mile and One Half on the Turf
October 9, 2021
Some of the top turf horses in the virtual racing world will be going to post on Saturday for the 19th running of the Grade 1 Hirsch Turf Classic. This is a fantastic prep race for BC Turf, and it offers plenty of prestige in its own right as everyone will want to go into that race next month off of a victory. The purse is back up to the level it was at in 2019, so we can be glad for that as a full field will seek the winners portion. That’s a share that has been split twice in the last five years, as we have had a dead heat for win in both 2016 and 2020. Hopefully then, we don’t have to see one again until at least 2024. The co-winners of the last race were Billy Joel and Immoral, so a couple of great names. Billy Joel went on to win the BC Turf a month later, and has continued to run well this year in his four starts. He ran last week in the Henry Championship at SA, and placed second. Immoral would finish third in the BC Turf last year. He was last seen in the WO Mile, finishing second. Let’s meet those running in the Hirsch this year!
#1- Found Peace (Mb Stables, ridden by E Jaramillo)- One of four three year olds in the race, so he gets the three pound weight allowance that they do. With two of the others starting in posts eleven and twelve, it’s almost like he has an advantage on everyone. He’s hit the board in seven of eight races in 2021 and his biggest win was the Grade 1 SAR Derby in August. He comes out of the KY Turf Cup, where he was third after getting off to a big lead early.
#2- Winter Solstice (John Henry, ridden by R Bejarano)- Can we forget that the KY Turf Cup never happened? Winter Solstice sure would love to as he had one of those starts that kind of make you feel that maybe the meters weren’t right or there was a bad instruction used. He does have a dud from time to time, but he’s also failed to hit the board in three of his last four. Was great at the start of the year and must get back to that.
#3- Raj Action Packed (Arindel, ridden by M Franco)- We’ve seen this name for years now, about this eight year old gelding may just be having the best year of his career. He’s hit the board in all seven of his starts, and has won four of them. That last win was the KY Turf Cup, where he beat the two starting to his inside as well as Farquaad. Beat that one in a photo, over the trainer who put him in a $25.000 claiming race back in 2019. That was the year he also won the Hirsch, which at the time followed a win in the KY Turf Cup. Hmmm.
#4- Hammerfest (Smokey Stover, ridden by G Boulanger)- Our first horse in the field that did not race in the KY Turf Cup last month. Instead, he was winning an optional claimer at SAR for his third win of the year. He did finish second in the BC Turf last year, but from May on, we have not seen him against the elite of his division. Good to see him back.
#5- Farquaad (Night Rider Stables, ridden by J J Castellano)- The trainer may have lost Raj Action Packed in a $25.000 claimer, but he did get Farquaad in a $35.000 claimer, coming last December. He’s made six starts this year, a stretch that is highlighted by winning the Grade 3 MTH Stakes as well as placing second in the KY Turf Cup. ALways seems to go off a double digit odds, so if that happens again, take a shot.
#6- Sensei (Saratoga Stud, ridden by I Ortiz Jr)- Our second three year old in the field, Sensei returned to the grass in June and seems pretty apparent that this is where he gets his best performances. He’s won his last two, taking the Grade 3 La Jolla Handicap in August, then the Grade 2 DMR Derby a month later. Now, he comes east to face the toughest group of turf horses he has ever seen.
#7- Slo Mo (Maxmillion Farm, ridden by T J Pereira)- This horse does not win a lot, doing so just twice in 18 starts, but he does a lot better finishing in the money, something he has done half of the time. Ran quite well last month, with a late run to get up for third in the Grade 1 Pattison, so we will see if he can build off of that here. Regardless, everyone should be looking for him in the stretch.
#8- Anoush Command (Fractious, ridden by P Lopez)- Perhaps one of the bigger question with Anoush Command should be what’s the better BC race, the BC Turf or the BC Mile? Running here can clue us in on what Fractious prefers, for sure. His transition to the grass has clearly been a success, and he’s picked up two wins this year, the Grade 1 Kilroe Mile, and the eleven furlong Grade 1 United Nations. His last race we can throw out, since it was back on the dirt, but you still can’t like how he finished that one out.
#9- Iron Nation (Nakamura Stables, ridden by Ci Murphy)- After winning the BC Mile last year, which at the time was his third win in a row, it seems pretty surprising that we’re almost a year later and he has not won again. His best race came in May, placing third in the Shoemaker Mile, and he was second in the United Nations in his next start, though not as close to the winner. So, with all that momentum, we had the WO Mile last month. A race he won last year. Yikes! Should rebound, how good will that rebound be?
#10- Concerto Of Eggs (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by M J Sanchez)- Another runner from the KY Turf Cup last month, but Concerto Of Eggs was not able to cash a check. He was near the back most of the way and ended up fifth, the third straight time he has failed to hit the board. He’s made 32 starts, and has only won three, but at times he shows why he continues being entered in races like this. I wish I could see that more consistently.
#11- Supercomplication (Smokey Stover, ridden by E Cancel)- Usually in every race there is that one up and comer to talk about, but we don’t really have that here. Supercomplication would probably be the closest to fit the bill, with just ten starts in his career and two wins. But he took on top horses in the SAR Derby, and while not running as well as the trainer would have liked, he did look a lot better on soft turf in the VA Derby. Working well coming into this.
#12- Owens (Mb Stables, ridden by J Lezcano)- The trainer gets the bookends of the starting gate with three year olds, and Owens must be a lot better than he was in the JC Derby. Prior to that, he ran a great race, placing second in the SAR Derby a month after winning the Grade 3 Kent Stakes. Then, what the heck happened in the JC Derby. For him to be here, Mb Stables must be confident that won’t happen again, but I won’t be able to make Owens one of my picks.