The Hill Prince (Grade 2)- $400.000 Purse
BEL- For Three Year Olds
One Mile and One Eighth on the Inner Turf
October 23, 2021
After running at a mile last year, for the first time since 2013, The Hill Prince returns to its nine furlong distance for the 2021 edition. The race also runs a little later this year, so while this has been a race that could send horses into the BC Turf with greater frequency, that may have affected the quality of the field a little bit. There is now just two weeks to go before BC weekend, so anyone running here would be on short rest. We still have a strong purse, at least. Last year, the race was won by Ohtani, for Sccj Stables and that gelding remains active and running at the top at the moment. Ohtani won’t be pitching to this field, but a lineup of nine horses are in the gate. Let’s meet them!
#1- Kirkland (Winning Link Stables, ridden by J R Velazquez)- Still lightly raced for his career, having made just six starts. In them, he’s won twice and has always been able to hit the board. With that, he is going to get a chance to make his stake debut of any sort here and why not take a chance to see what he can do against much better. He’s certainly earned it, especially after an eye opening allowance win here last month.
#2- Flesh Of My Flesh (Arindel, ridden by Mario Gutierrez)- Being lightly raced is not a problem for this one, though, as he has made almost three times as many starts as Kirkland. He’s run in stakes at various points during his career, but has not won any of them yet. He did have a good outing last month at SAR in the Grade 3 Saranac. May have won if he had only a half furlong more. He has that here.
#3- Day Of The Dragon (John Henry, ridden by S X Bridgmohan)- Over his last three races, it has not been the day of this Dragon, as he has failed to hit the board and finished closer to last than to first. Since being gelded, he has made six starts, and won two of them, but neither were in a stake. The stakes have not been as kind to him, but works say he should be doing better. Maybe, eventually, it happens. Why not here then?
#4- Cantstopwhatscomin (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by G Saez)- This is a hard horse to get excited about, since he has only won once in his 15 career starts and only has hit the board in five of them. His career earnings sit at $32.890. Obviously, the trainer feels that this horse is going to have a breakout given his recent placement, but so far they have stopped what has been coming. I couldn’t put money on him. Even virtual money.
#5- Nevada Brave (Nakamura Stables, ridden by V R Carrasco)- Nakamura and Carrasco are united once again here in the Hill Prince and Nevada Brave is one of the more lightly raced horses in the field. He’s made eight starts, and won three of them, one of them being the Grade 3 Saranac, where he went wire to wire, surviving over Baller Alert (who isn’t here), and Flesh Of My Flesh (who is). He’s been able to handle longer distances, so don’t be so sure that he can’t beat the latter at this distance based on the Saranac.
#6- King Of Swords (Mb Stables, ridden by E Jaramillo)- This is one of those rare races that has not seen Mb Stables win in the past. To try and change that, he saddles this Good Authority gelding that is coming off a third place run in the DMR Derby last month, earning a 99 SRF. He has not won a graded stake yet, but is four of ten for his career and might just be hitting his stride for his career right now.
#7- Day Tribe (High Voltage, ridden by T Gaffalione)- We last saw Day Tribe out there two months ago, where he ran third in the Grade 3 Singspiel Stakes at WO, but he was never a threat to win this race. It was a good graded debut for him, however, and I like the test that he is getting right here. Day Tribe knows how to get money for High Voltage, finishing in the top four every time he has hit the track, and top three in all but one race. What a $20.000 claim he’s been! Excited to watch him step up here.
#8- Top Of The Crop (Maxmillion Farm, ridden by D Davis)- Maxmillion has won this race two times in the last four years, but for him to be the top of the crop again, this gelding will have to reverse his recent form. He made his turf debut last month in the Simpson, and ran poorly but it was also a change to sprinting. Before that, he did go long and did so in the Grade 2 Dandy, where he also did not run well. Only two good starts are on muddy tracks and we should have firm turf on Saturday. Hard to have a lot of confidence in this one despite the trainer’s turf accolades.
#9- Promised Prince (John Henry, ridden by S R Bahen)- For as bad as Top Of The Crop was in the Simpson, Promised Prince was even worse. In his last three races has consistently been hitting the double digit finishes, but at least that is one thing we can be sure that will not happen here. Those were big time races, but he was also badly beaten so this is another horse from a great trainer that I just cannot put money on.