The 17th Running of the G2 Muniz Memorial Handicap
March 26, 2022
FG Race #10 16:00 $300.000 11/8 Turf
4+ Handicap Weights
Track/Stakes Record-1:44.81 (Antelope Storm-2017)
The 17th running of the Muniz Memorial Handicap goes as race ten on a stakes-filled Saturday down at FG. The $300.000 9-furlong turf event is for horses 4yo+ and is run under the HRP handicap weighting system. The eleven runners lining the gate will carry between 118-121 pounds and present a definite challenge to handicappers as we have a nice mix of old and new faces: the rail horse, Outcross, will be making only the fifth start of his career while two stalls out, Lets Do It Big Boy will be making his 58th start; Socrates will be looking to validate his impressive turf debut while the other ten have spent nearly their entire careers on the lawn. This is a quality collection of horses, so let’s meet the field for the Muniz Memorial Handicap:
#1 Outcross (Threshold/E. Jaramillo 118): Claimed for just $6.250 in November, the rail horse turned quick dividends for the new barn in a winning ’22 bow. That was his third win from four starts and he is a perfect 3-3 on the grass. Plenty of upside for this lightly-raced 4yo, but he will have to be extremely special to grab a slice of this pie. Have to see what you have at some point and he gets in with a minimal impost.
#2 Andes (Threshold/Mario Gutierrez 119): Stablemate to the rail-horse, this 4yo cost $22.950 in the December auction and ran well to be 3rd in his barn-debut in a January G3. Cuts back from 12-furlongs for this and shouldn’t be intimidated by the company here. The biggest drawback for this guy is a lack of early foot which could leave him with too much to do, but he stayed close enough last summer at DMR to be a closing 2nd in a G2 at this trip. He’ll be doing his best running through the lane and has a chance here.
#3 Lets Do It Big Boy (RNP Stables/J.C. Ferrer 121): 8yo returns to the scene of his last-out victory at this same trip last month and “only” has to spot his rivals 1-3 pounds. Veteran war horse always seems to fire and have to believe he is one of the ones in this spot. Retains the services of one of the hottest jocks in the game and can win this with anything close to his best. Respect your elders.
#4 Sirzhu (Big Guns Stables/J. Alvarado 119): 4yo colt doesn’t seem to care about the trip as he has proven effective at 5.5 and 9-furlongs in just his last three starts. Have to like a horse that doesn’t care to look another horse in the eye and lay it on the line and this guy checks that box. He was competitive in a very similar spot back in October when 3rd and only beaten a length so he checks the class box as well. We may see more of this guy down the line with another quality performance here. Contender.
#5 Mock Galaxy (Nakamura Stables/V.R. Carrasco 119): 4yo gelding went for $77.010 in the December auction and ran a credible third in an off-track debut for the new barn. He already had black-type when he was purchased and he earned it on the front end. Anyone with aspirations of being in front at first call will have to contend with this one and he has shown that he can carry his speed a long way. Barn is as good as there is at getting horses prepped for these spots and expect he’ll fire his best. He’ll make it interesting up front.
#6 Dracarys (TwinTowersRacing/J. Lezcano 120): With only two wins from 34 starts, one has to take home a lot of minor awards to carry this impost. Four 2nd and 3rd-place finishes cost him on the scales as this 6yo has gotten pretty close to graded glory his last two starts. Now, the weight difference may be negligible, but wouldn’t you like him a bit more at 118-119? Still, he’s a bit more diverse in how he makes his way around there and that could aid his chances in here. He has options and the right instruction could be the difference in another minor award or something greater.
#7 Beach Xaar (Diablo Diablo/T.J. Pereira 119): 4yo has been running in these spots for a while and, when he’s on his game, he’s a tough customer. Doesn’t always fire his best, so the punters will have to decide whether they think this will be one of his good days. Still, he hasn’t beaten a graded field, so he’ll have to find that last extra bit of want-to but he’s not without a shot.
#8 Money Truck (Spankys Barn/D. Van Dyke 118): 5yo enters off eight straight losing efforts; however, that win 11-months ago did come at this trip and this is the first time since that he’ll try it again. Seems to be dependent on others to give him something to run at as he’ll probably be mid-pack, at best, early on unless he changes tactics. Either way, a minor award looks to be his ceiling in here, but we’ve had stranger things happen.
#9 Zensational (Smokey Stover/J.R. Velazquez 119): Came back on short rest after near miss in a G3 to capture a HOU allowance and should be well-prepped for this assignment. 4yo gelding could be anywhere early, but, most likely, he’ll be outside a couple of horses. Trainer gave him a couple dirt exercises coming into this, so have to wonder if this was always where he was going to end up, or if other plans got scratched. If he can handle the ground-loss, he should have every chance at the top of the lane. On the fence with this one.
#10 Socrates (Mb Stables/C.J. Hernandez 118): 5yo horse came off the bench from an almost four-month freshening to take his seasonal and turf debut. This will be his first graded try since the ’20 BC and he faces some serious grass customers in here. Still, he seems to be even better on turf than he was the main track and he is getting weight from all but a few. He’s another that may get caught a little wide, but this is the top selection.
#11 Immookielee (Smokey Stover/E.T. Baird 119): Barn’s second entrant gets stuck with the outside gate, but the 4yo has proven to be tough from out wide before. Think he’s going to be right on top of whoever decides to try to set the pace and, this being his third start off of a brief freshening, this guy may be the main opposition to the top choice. Difficult to envision a scenario where he’s not involved every step of the way. Definite win contender.
Final Analysis: Whomever you choose to play, there are positives to be found for all eleven runners. It says here they’ll cross 10-11-3-4 but this could end in any number of ways. Good luck to all of the connections involved in the Muniz Memorial Handicap at FG!