Marathon Males Go the Distance in McKnight Stakes at GP


  10   GP   McKnight Stakes (GIII)

       $200.000   4yo&Up   1 1/2m  Turf    124lbs +penalties

The big races keep coming and we look at a field of marathon handicap types that will be going the mile and a half distance on the non-existent inner turf, but that’s the story for The McKnight Stakes (GIII).  I’m putting what could be a long-shot on top today and took Afterburner as my top choice.  He doesn’t have the BC Day starts or any of that stuff, but he is a horse that seems to be finding his best stride and looked good winning here at the same distance – is that enough?  Big Aspirations is another that kind of follows the same logic.  He seems to be sitting on a win and is very consistent.  I’ll use him and hope to get some odds there as well.  I love these long races and this one has some real intrigue… strap in and let’s see how it rolls.        

Here’s The Field –

   Afterburner    Arindel    Gutierrez R   124   9/2

Nice win at today’s distance and over this surface as he took down the Jerkens to close out his ’21 season.  That was his only win of the year, but he was close in a few other stakes.  He seems to like the marathon distance and catching the rail could be a good thing.  He will need his best. 

   Hollywood Capo    Nakamura Stables   Garcia Mar   124   7/2

Ninth on BC Day (Mile) but don’t let that take away from a two win season that put some serious cash in the bank.  He won the Wise Dan (GII) and the Shadwell Mile (GI) so he can get it done.  I’m not sure that this is his favorite distance, but he has some talent.  He shows some fine am gallops getting ready for this one. 

   Billy Joel    La Canada Racehorses    Gutierrez Mario   124   4/1

Both of his ’21 wins came early in the year, but winning the Pegasus Turf (GI) over this strip sure is a head-turner.  He won the Whittingham (GII) right after that, then had some mixed results the rest of the year, but was second in the Henry Championship (GII) and fifth int he BC Turf (GI).  He can run with anyone. 

   Dracarys    TwinTowersRacing    Sanchez M J   124   7/1

He went winless in ’21 but did have a pair of seconds and thirds while he closed out the year with those runner-up finishes in the Point of Entry and HOL Turf Cup (GII).  This looks like a fairly tough spot, but he is running fairly well right now, so…

   Big Aspirations    Hippyheart    Espinoza V   124   4/1

A very consistent sort that hasn’t seen the winner’s circle since back-to-back wins in Feb/Mar where he took the TAM Turf Classic.  He’s been on the board in just about every race since, bringing home a check in every race, so it’s hard to ignore him. 

   Raj Action Packed    Arindel    Rocco J S Jr   124   12/1

Someone call the AARP… RAP is here.  Now a 9yo, the old feller won four races and was on the board in three other starts from ten starts in ’21.  He earned $1,180.000 as an 8yo, which should push some others to give horses a chance to mature.  Now he was off the board in his last three starts of the year, but don’t talk negative on this grandpa. 

   Books Brother    Night Rider Stables    Albarado R J   124   15/1

He’s been running for a tag, did not win a race last year and has not as much as hit the board vs. stakes company.  He was fifth in his only stakes start, but does have a win on the grass and at today’s distance.  If he wins, I think the tote could explode. 

   One More Stitch    Crocker Ggs    Alvarado J   124   12/1

Has won three of his last three starts, although they have been vs. softer than what he sees today.  Four wins and seven on-the-board finishes from ten starts.  He finished mid-pack when facing graded horses at KEE back in the spring, and it doesn’t get any easier today. 

   Kings Poker    Wood Duck Stables    Saez G   124   5/1

Everything was going along pretty well until BC Day… on-the-board in seven of eight starts including four wins, and with a victory in the Bruce D Stakes (GI) and a runner-up effort in the Pattison Int (GI), you know he can go with just about any field. 

   Dangerfield    Mo Mentum Farm    Gonzalez Ru   124   8/1

A nice win in the Triple Bend (GII) at SA, but struggled vs. graded horses the rest of the year.  He had a second and a win to close out the season, facing softer, and the distance is certainly a question mark in my eye.  I guess we find out. 

 COZMAN    1 / 5            Willie’s Green Card   5 / 1

Categories: Grade III, STAKES ARTICLES

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