Smokey Stover Looks Great for KY Jockey Club

KY Jockey Club (Grade 2) (KYD)- $400.000 Purse
CD- For Two Year Olds
One Mile and One Sixteenth on the Dirt
November 27, 2021

With the BC Juvenile out of the way, the best two year olds in the virtual racing right now can start setting their sights on the KYD. Yes, it’s a long way away, but points for the big race are now at stake, and who knows, those points you pick up now could be the deciding factor in getting in versus not taking part. That might be the big goal, but in reality, the KY Jockey Club is best for trying to get the winners share of that $400.000 purse. Like the Falls City Handicap, the purse for the race is at a record high level, as up to this point, the race has never run for more than $250.000. In 2020, Fauci ran for $200.000 when he won the race for D J C Racing Stables, but for as good as he looked then, his next races proved to be a struggle as he would not even hit the board again until an open allowance win at FL in September. 2019 winner City Sniper did make it to the KYD, but was a non factor in the race. The gate is full, so let’s meet our participants!

#1- Fifty Lucky (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by S Ryan)- A lightly raced horse up to this point with just two career starts. At the beginning of October, he would break his maiden at FL and the Distant Sunset colt has been resting since. An impressive work at AQU on the 5th gave hope that he might be able to make this big jump forward, and he is being given the chance to do so.

#2- Ocean Of Wisdom (Nakamura Stables, ridden by V R Carrasco)- After winning his first two races, Ocean Of Wisdom made his graded debut in the Grade 1 Breeders Futurity and ran so poorly that he could not even go to sleep that night before being gelded. It’s been seven weeks since that race, and now the first time gelding is getting his chance to atone for that race. It will be interesting to see how he responds.

#3- Spiced (Smokey Stover, ridden by J R Velazquez)- Smokey Stover is not messing around here in the KY Jockey Club as his two entries probably have the best two resumes coming into the race. Spiced is a winner of three out of five thus far, with his most impressive race being the victory in the FL Sire Stakes- In Reality, as it offers a $400.000 purse. After that, Spiced showed that he could handle unrestricted company just as well, winning the $200.000 Street Sense on Halloween right here, which is also run at today’s distance. There’s absolutely no reason to think that he cannot run just as well here.

#4- Junkyard Dog (Jive Inc., ridden by D Moran)- Here is a horse that seems to be on the verge of a breakthrough in a race like this, but as of this point he only has one win in five starts. However, his last three races have all been against graded company, and he has run very well in each of them, finishing third every time. He works very well, and has been resting since September, so this would seem to be a good opportunity for him to improve on those third place finishes. For now, those results show potential, but eventually, you want him to bust out of his chains and get a win.

#5- Croton Road (Fractious, ridden by A Cedillo)- In May, Croton Road won on debut, and ever since then, he has been running in graded stakes, including two Grade 1’s. After a disappointing race in the Best Pal, Croton Road would be gelded and he would finish closer to the front in the Grade 1 Hopeful, running fourth. That SAR race is always a classic, so that is nothing to hang your head about. He would be fourth again in the Pharoah Stakes, making him a bit like Junkyard Dog in that you are just waiting for him to have his breakout race.

#6- Keyhunt (Arindel, ridden by Mar Garcia)- This race will be unchartered territory for Keyhunt, as he has never gone long and he has never run on the main track. His two starts up to this point are each on the grass, and he won on Halloween at SA to break his maiden. His work times show he is ready to roll in this type of race, though, and there is no one in this field who has recently (during November) worked faster at a mile on the dirt. He has some tough company to deal with in his first race at this level, but I feel good that he is going to run well here. And even if he doesn’t get a piece of this purse, we’ll be seeing him again.

#7- Bo Buys An Island (Woogaloo, ridden by J Talamo)- You can put the records of Keyhunt and Bo Buys An Island together and they will look very similar. Bo Buys An Island has also raced just twice, breaking his maiden two days before at Keyhunt did at the same track he was at. However, that’s where the similarities end, as Bo Buys An Island did his while running a mile on the dirt, so we already know that he can handle it well. It’s been a while since he worked publicly, and while it was a good work, I would have liked to have seen if he has built on that in the meantime in order to pick him against this company.

#8- Suikoden II (Smokey Stover, ridden by S X Bridgmohan)- Another great horse in the field brought to us by Smokey Stover. He is the only one in the field to have run in the BC Juvenile (two others ran in the BC, but not the Juvenile), and he was able to cash a check in the race, placing fourth, only being half a length behind the winner, Grouse Mountain. His overall consistency is what got him to the race, being a part of the exacta in all five of his previous race, including runner ups in the Grade 3 Iroquois and the Grade 1 Breeders Futurity, with a win also in the $200.000 Simcoe for ON breds. Has works just as fast as Keyhunt from October, making everything point to him being the favorite here but he still must run at his best.

#9- Deserve (Mb Stables, ridden by Ru Gonzalez)- This Centerpiece gelding has seen a lot of Spiced in his last two races, dating back to the FL Sire Stakes- In Reality, where he ran second to him. They would meet again in the Street Sense, and while Spiced won again, Deserve was not quite as good as he was, failing to hit the board in a fifth place effort. Prior to these head to head matchups, Deserve did beat Spiced in the FL Sire Stakes- Affirmed, where he was second and Spiced third. They meet again, and it will be interesting to see the race within the race as to who will win Round 4.

#10- Winstorm (Fractious, ridden by E Jaramillo)- Starting right next to Deserve is a horse that he actually finished in a dead heat with for second in the FL Sire Stakes- In Reality. But for Winstorm, that’s been the only time has seen Spiced and Deserve up to this point. When he raced there, he was actually a maiden, so after the race, a month later, he was running back in a MSW race, and got his first win out of the way. That would end up being his last race for prior trainer Team 7 Illusions, as Fractious picked him up for $250.000 in an early November private sale, and now he’ll start him for the first time.

#11- Keenness (Our Athletes, ridden by T Gaffalione)- Making his debut for Our Athletes here in the KY Jockey Club, after the trainer picked him up on Veteran’s Day for $250.000 from El Primero Rodeo. That came just five days after he had run in the BC Juvenile Turf, and finished sixth in the race, five lengths from a win. To get there, he won the always difficult Grade 2 Bourbon at KEE and did it while wearing the same number on his saddle cloth as he will here, so we know he can handle an outside post and good opposition. I do think he is going to make the transition back to the main track successfully, but overall against this field, I can’t quite put him in my top four.

#12- Hot Dog (South Shore Stables, ridden by F Geroux)- Here is another horse that comes out of the BC, as Hot Dog ran in the BC Juvenile Turf Sprint at the beginning of the month. Unfortunately for the trainer, that race led to disappointment which certainly helped the decision to see if he could handle another type of race better. Worked well at a mile on the dirt, though others are a couple tenths quicker. Naturally, that can be made up on the track. Hot Dog has never raced more than 5 ½ furlongs in his career.

Prediction: 8-3-6-4

— NS

Categories: Grade II, STAKES ARTICLES

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