Juvenile Champ Grouse Mountain Looking to Rebound in Lewis Stakes

The 16th Running of the G3 Lewis Stakes

February 5, 2022 17:10

SA Race #6 $200.000 11/16 Dirt 

3YO C/G 121 Lbs F 116 Lbs (plus penalties)

KYD Points Race (10-4-2-1)

Track Record-1:38.57 (Icicle-2005)

Stakes Record-1:41.32 (Positive Thinking-2017)

A big weekend of KYD preps wraps up on Sunday at SA where the G3 Lewis Stakes will be contested for the 15th time.  Along with the $200.000 purse, eleven sophomores will be competing for 10 KYD qualifying points as they go 8.5-furlongs on the main track.  The G3 Lewis maybe doesn’t have the depth of last weekend’s G3 Southwest Stakes at OP; however, it does feature the 2021 HRP Juvenile Champion, Grouse Mountain, and G1 winner Hilarity.  Both of those runners get in at the minimum impost of 121 pounds, but the boys will have to give five pounds to the SW and G1-placed filly, Keno Queen.  How do the eleven runners signed-on for this assignment stack up?  Here’s a look at the field for the G3 Lewis Stakes at SA:

#1 Great Style (Our Athletes/J.R. Velazquez 121): Rail-horse enters as a winner of two straight but is 0-1 on dirt.  The loss on dirt came in his career bow, so he can be forgiven for that effort.  Was close enough to the pace in both turf routes that his well-timed burst was enough to get the job done.  Breaking from down on the inside, he should be able to work-out a trip and he’s proven at the distance (on the grass).  Lack of dirt form could benefit those who back him at the windows if he gets the job done on Sunday.

#2 Distinctive Edge (Nakamura Stables/V.R. Carrasco 121): $500.000 stake-winner on the lawn has focused on the main track lately as this will be his third successive dirt start.  Faded after setting the pace in LA G2 and may have cost himself a chance at winning at GP when he took-back early in a slow-paced race.  Stopped-off at the vet’s office on the way home from that effort and hasn’t had a published workout since then.  He is obviously talented and could be ready to produce his best effort as a first-time gelding.  Dismiss if you want but this trainer commands respect.  

#3 Grouse Mountain (John Henry/S.X. Bridgmohan 121): Last season’s juvenile champion started his sophomore campaign off with a dud on New Year’s Day.  That seems to be his pattern where he’ll run big, then throw a clunker.  If the pattern holds true, expect the champ to be loaded for bear.  BC winner has worked well for this assignment and fully expect him to be moving well through the lane.  When he’s on, he great; expect him to fire big.

#4 Lord Cherokee (Arindel/E. Jaramillo 121): Throw out the latest effort at OP (where he was the post time favorite) as he doesn’t want to be the pacesetter and may not have cared for the off going.  Barn is winning their fair-share of these events and this guy looks like he is ready to fire his best shot.  He will be asked to go an extra furlong on Sunday, but that doesn’t appear to be beyond his scope.  Has worked well since and is well-drawn for this assignment.  Lot of positive signs as he heads to the starting gate.  

#5 Uranus (Smokey Stover/A. Cedillo 121): Red-hot trainer is winning at greater than a 35% clip, so everything he runs commands respect.  Winning debut was immediately followed by ELP stakes score.  Beaten a combined three lengths in two G1s so that latest ALW win is more indicative of his true ability than the allowance run that preceded it.  Should be primed for this assignment and is definitely a strong contender for top honors.

#6 Top Gun (D J C Racing Stables/J. Bravo 121): November G3 at WO may have been a bit too much too soon, but he rebounded well in stakes-winning effort on NYD.  Best runs have been while going one-turn, but this trip should be within his scope.  Retains the services of Bravo and has prepared well in the mornings for this task.  Maybe not as popular as some others in here, but think this one is a contender for a minor share at the very least.

#7 Wally (Royalty Stables/F. Prat 121): Barn is in a 2022 funk, but this guy brings his lunch pail with him every time he runs.  Probably heads to the turf if this assignment proves too difficult, but he deserves his chance to run.  Hard to be too optimistic when the stats are what they are, but trainer fully expects him to do enough to stay on this path for at least one more race.  Of course, the trainer has been wrong 92% of the time this young season, too.

#8 Hilarity (Mb Stables/C.J. Hernandez 121): MGSW is looking to get back on track after two subpar efforts to close out his juvenile campaign.  2022 works have been nothing other than excellent so expect he’s trending back in the right direction.  Didn’t fire in the BC, but don’t think it was the distance that beat him that day.  Hard to ignore the trainer’s history in these types of races so fully expect this one to be primed for a monster effort. 

#9 Number Theory (SCRATCHED)

#10 Keno Queen (Mb Stables/Mar. Garcia 116): Filly will have all of the boys’ attention as she displayed enough early talent to take the first two starts of her career.  Hasn’t found the winner’s circle since, but she’s seen her division’s best and taken home her share of checks in graded events.  The importance of the five-pound weight break cannot be overstated as we have already seen positive results on this KYD trail.  Stuck a little wide in the gate but benefits from the scratch of her stablemate.  She’s not in here without expectations of a good performance.  Think she’ll have every opportunity to re-visit the WC after this one. 

#11 Iron Mine (Jive Inc./L. Saez 121): TUP debut winner back in April has built a pretty good bankroll through multiple placings in NM-bred stakes.  Didn’t get his picture taken after any of those near misses; however, if he runs to his looks, this trip should be more his cup of tea.  He’s shown plenty of early foot while going no further than 6-furlongs so it will be interesting to see how he attacks from this post.  Water is a bit deeper here, but hard to imagine him not enjoying this chance to stretch his legs.

#12 All Take (SCRATCHED)

#13 Telephone Romeo (Broken Spoke Stables/R.J. Albarado 121): State-bred GP MSW winner gets thrown in the deep end without a life jacket here.  Draws-in from the AE list and will start from post 11 so the assignment is a bit easier than it could have been.  Style seems to be to sit just off of the pace and that has been a winning recipe with this iteration of the RE.  Definitely gets a class test here, but don’t think he can be dismissed.

Final Analysis: 4-3-10-5 may not be the correct order, but those feel like the most obvious win contenders.  This race is one of the few times your author hasn’t been able to dismiss a single entrant in the field; they all have their positive qualities and hopefully they’ll make for an exciting race on Sunday.  Good luck to everyone participating in the G3 Lewis Stakes at SA!

Categories: Grade III, Races, STAKES ARTICLES

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