A Tough Field Battles for Tropical Turf Stakes

Tropical Turf Stakes – Grade III
1m InTurf Graded Stake
Purse $100.000 For Four Year Olds And Upward.

This is a tough field racing for the sixty or so bucks they will get for winning but thats how it is at this time of year as horses start their warm up for bigger prizes.
Here is how they line up:

1       Brighter Days Ahead      Canny Lodge       Lopez P

Rather an interesting entry here as i wouldn’t have been giving him much chance prior to his recent claim but since that claim in November he has worked up a storm and won his only start in a sub 1.33 mile time. There are many times i have written about horses that have shot up their improvement curve after a claim and a run and this seems like it is one of these. Whether he has improved enough to be a contender is debatable but e gets a great draw and i just have a sneaking suspicion he will run a huge race even though there are some grade one types in the field.

2       Stealth Command         Nakamura Stables      Castellano J J

A great draw for the trainer to use the Nak factor and the fact that this one was only just beaten in the Shadwell Turf Mile suggests he is very nicely in for a race like this. Bought for $50 after failing to make the TC picture with his previous owner the trainer sent him off to the turf after a break and he never looked back. Two good wins in lesser company saw him run a great third in the Shadwell and in his last start he looked pretty good until the last furlong in the HOL Derby weakening from the stalk to finish fifth. This looks a great opportunity for him to start a new season off strongly.

3     Sandstons Fury        Bomberracing       Lanerie C J

This newish trainer sets two for this race and they have both been given very nice draws. It has to be said that on bare form they both look up against it but this one is lightly raced and deserves a shot at the big time. Taken from a claimer in 2020 he won three from five last year including an ungraded stakes and was then bought at auction by the current trainer. He has bags of pace and may well be hard to restrain over this mile but if tings go his way he could give the trainer a thrill.

4       Dragon Storm      Bomberracing          Ortiz I Jr

This is an interesting entry as all of his recent form has been in sprints and yet he has a very nice record of three wins from five starts in route races. It is worth noting that he won a claimer in a sub 1.33 time 18 months ago and his recent mile work suggests he may be a bit of a dark horse in this race.

5      On The Turning Away        Gdp Inc        Gonzalez El

Another that has been mostly sprinting recently but he also has form over route trips and comes up to the mile again today. He worked a very encouraging dirt mile time on Christmas Eve suggesting that he will be happy with the trip and this horse who was contending the BC Sprint last year is another that may just run a big race.

6       Money Truck        Spankys Barn        Leparoux J R

Only won the once last year but was pretty close in some of the top turf routes suggesting he is more than capable of a race like this. The trip may be on the short side for him but i think there may be a fast early pace which may well play into his hands as one of the only true stayers in the race.

7      Starship El Gran      TwinTowersRacing      Alvarado J

The trainer often makes a fool out of this writer and this is just the type that i write off and then they storm home to win. A consistent sort he hasn’t got the form on the board to take some of these but he isn’t that far behind and that makes me dubious about saying he wont win.

8      Hollywood Hero        Nakamura Stables       Zayas E J

Gives the trainer a really strong hand in this race as he won three graded stakes last year and contested the BC Mile. He looked to be a real BC contender when taking the City Of Hope Mile in a sub 1.33 time but failed badly from the ace draw in the BC getting buried on the rail and never really getting racing room. An obvious contender despite a difficult draw he should nearly start favorite for an open race.

9       Hammerfest         Smokey Stover        Albarado R J

There is no doubting this five year olds ability but he is vulnerable over a mile and is usually seen at his best over 12 furlongs. He works as fast as anything and can record sprint work times as good as top sprinters but when it comes to a race he just lacks that change of gear at the end and rather grinds it out. Having said that with a strong pace he could come right into it and he may even decide to go to the front himself to try and get a break on them into the stretch.

10       Ags Cherokee      Fractious       Hernandez R M

Bought for $100 after some real solid efforts as a three year old he won his first start for the new trainer in taking the CC Emerald. This looks like the right step for the horse but this is an unusually tough grade three and he has been given a tough draw to try and keep his unbeaten record with his new owner. Work time and speed figures say he will be right in it at the end.

11    Cherokee Raj       Night Rider Stables       Sutherland C

The wide draw wont help his already slim chances but that wide draw also makes him the likely leader which may or may not be a good thing. Has the ability to compete but i can’t see him making the top three.

12      Strategic Edge      Maletto         Wilson E J

A seven race winner this is a tough old six year old but he has been dealt a rough hand here getting the car park draw and that will make it too hard for him to win. Working well enough to be in the race but too many negatives to tip him to win.


A tough field for a hundred buck grade three and whilst there are a couple of obvious choices the less obvious ones may prove to be better value for the punters. The Nakamura pair could easily finish one two but the real reward could be in the trifecta where i will be putting Dragon Storm, Brighter Days Ahead and Ags Cherokee in behind the first two.

Categories: Grade III, Races, STAKES ARTICLES

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