Shakertown (Grade 2)- $350.000 Purse
KEE- For Three Year Olds and Upward
Five and a Half Furlongs on the Turf
April 9, 2022
The Shakertown first appeared in the game in 2004, but a major change was made to the race in 2017 that has played a significant impact. Prior to that year, the race was for four year olds and upward only, but in 2017, they allowed three year olds to take part. Starting with Ye Charley that year, the three’s have beaten up on their elders, winning every year except for 2018. A big reason for this is the eight pound weight allowance that the threes get, and in our virtual world, that is simply enormous. This year, there are eight horses going to the gate, and four of them are three years of age. The older horses are very well accomplished, but can they overcome the weight disadvantage that they have? Let’s meet the field!
#1- Doug (Arindel, ridden by M Franco)- Part of “team older”, Doug has managed three wins in twelve races, but has hit the board eight times. For the most part, the gelding has run in overnights, but can boast an ungraded stake victory from SAR last August. He comes out of a good third place performance in the GP Turf Sprint, but having the weight disadvantage on top of being the most difficult race he has been in outside of the Simpson keeps me from being excited about him here.
#2- C H P (Rock Creek, ridden by J C Ferrer)- This one has not seen the track all that much, having made only five starts and he has never run in a stake before. The three year old was claimed for $8.000 on Christmas Eve and is improving, but still has not had the big victory to attract interest in his past performances. This would certainly be it. Ran third in an optional claimer last month
#3- Distant Volcano (Tram 7 Illusions, ridden by A Cedillo)- There has been nothing distant about his performances on the track, hitting the board in all six of his career starts. After his third start, he was gelded even though he had been running well before. That decision proved to be massively correct, as he has now fired off a three race winning streak, all coming at five furlongs on the grass. Hasn’t run in more than an optional claimer yet, but has earned the shot.
#4- Sharkamaulu (Arindel, ridden by J S Rocco Jr)- This third member of “team three”, the Shark Force gelding was able to compete in the BC Juvenile Turf last fall and ran fourth in the race. To get there, he won the $100.000 Hollywood Beach at GP. He is winless in three races in 2022, but came close in the $100.000 Dania Beach, missing by a nose at the wire. The winner of that race, Sly Prayers, nearly won the Kittens Joy in his next start, so that makes Sharkamaulu’s race look even better.
#5- The Grandmaster (John Henry, ridden by E Jaramillo)- There is plenty of success with this one, as the seven year old gelding is a former BC Turf Sprint winner, and has been in that race three times. Countless other big races have been over his career, and he has seen earnings over $2,700.000. Finished 2021 by winning the AQU Turf Sprint Championship and while he has not hit the board in any of this three starts but ran well in two of them. I’d like him here, but needing to carry eight pounds more is hard to overcome.
#6- Elijah G (Mb Stables, ridden by C J Hernandez)- My feelings with Elijah G are much what they were with The Grandmaster. I like him, a lot, and he will have success this year. But as mentioned many times now, there is the issue of the eight pounds. Over his career, he’s won three times in fourteen races and was able to participate in the BC Turf Sprint, highlighted by running in second in the Grade 1 Highlander at WO. Comes out of an open allowance in mid-March that he won.
#7- Hopewell Artist (Smokey Stover, ridden by J R Velazquez)- Once this three year old Con Artist gelding was able to get his debut race out of the way, he has been perfect and rides a three race winning streak into the Shakertown. That has earned him the right to make his stake debut here and perhaps the biggest question with this one is a matter of distance. He’s been mainly worked at a mile of late and has only sprinted once in his career. Hopefully he will be ready for when the wire shows up.
#8- Bad Precedent (Mo Mentum Farm, ridden by T Gaffalione)- The second horse in the field by Shark Force, and the four year old has managed four wins in nineteen starts. After winning an allowance in September, he went on a bit of a slump, but would bounce back in his last race, running second in an open allowance. Back in 2020, he became a BC champion, winning the Juvenile Turf Sprint, but has not won a stake since.