Saturday, May 7, 2022
CD Race #11 Post Time 19:00
$1,000.000 11/8 Turf
4+ 122 Lbs
Track/Stakes Record-1:44.12 (Iron Kaki-2012)
The 19th running of the G1 Forester Turf Classic will serve as the penultimate race before the fastest two minutes in sports as eleven older males will go a mile-and-an-eighth with $1,000.000 on the line. The G1 FTC has been around since 2004, but only two HRP conditioners have taken more than one of these and Mb Stables (2015, 2020, 2021) is the clubhouse leader with his three tallies. On the jockey side, I. Ortiz (2015, 2017) and J.J. Castellano (2016, 2019) are the only HRP pilots to boot home more than one winner.
This year’s edition has drawn an especially strong field with nine of the eleven being stakes-winners. We’re going to be optimistic and say the weather will not play a factor, but some of these may see their fortunes change if it comes up wet on Derby Day. Here’s the field for the G1 Forester Turf Classic:
#1 Jolly Rook (Angelos Stable/J.C. Ferrer): 5yo gelding will be making his 30th career start and is a proven graded performer….on dirt. This will be only his third start on the lawn; however, this guy broke his maiden going down the hill at SA and was a very close 4th in a SAR G3 last summer on the grass. How those performances stack up to this field is open for debate, but have to think the trainer likes what he’s seen from him to bypass some of the main track options he had this weekend. He won the draw, but can’t endorse given whom he’s facing.
#2 Nevada Silver (Nakamura Stables/V.R. Carrasco): G1 winner last month at KEE when going a flat mile over the lawn, he’s added a new dimension to his game this season. Was headstrong throughout his sophomore campaign while always running on or near the pace, but his latest couple of efforts have shown him willing to concede early control. Last season’s BC Mile champion has no issues with this 9-furlong trip, and you have to like this draw for a horse that has shown he can win under multiple scenarios. Nothing short of a win contender.
#3 Immookielee (Smokie Stover/D.E. Centeno): 4yo is just a nose short of being a perfect 3-3 this season and enters here with a ton of momentum off of a G2 score at FG in his latest effort. That triumph came at this same trip but under handicap weights, so he’ll have to run at equal weight with some proven, veteran commodities. He has shown that he can adjust his style to suit whatever conditions he encounters, and that trait should serve him well from this draw. The March tally was his first in a graded event and it can only be seen as a positive that one of the best in the game hands him this assignment. Lots of positives with this guy.
#4 Lets Do It Big Boy (RNP Stables/J.K. Court): The runner-up in that aforementioned FG G2 back in March, this guy did a lot of the heavy lifting before succumbing late. Had to give the winner a couple of pounds in that one, but everyone carries the same impost for this. 8yo will be making his 59th start, and it is very rare that he doesn’t give a good account of himself; however, none of his twelve wins have come at this G1 level. Maybe the fifth time is the charm; no, not his fifth G1 try, his fifth G1 try in THIS event. He doesn’t have to win, but that would certainly be a recap that the author wouldn’t mind writing.
#5 Inbred (Arindel/Mario Gutierrez): 4yo is has done a lot of sprinting over the lawn, but this will only be his second attempt going a route of ground on the turf. Last out was a winning effort down the hill at SA over a soft turf course, and that designation is probably why he’s entered here. He’s shown that he can sit off the pace and make a run, but his wins have come when he’s been stalking/on the pace. One of those whose prospects improve if the weather declines, but we’ll make him prove it should Mother Nature cooperate.
#6 Night Creature (D J C Racing Stables/M. Franco): 5yo will be making his first turf start in nearly 20-months but make no mistake, he has proven to be a racehorse in every sense of the word. He was a stakes-winner on the lawn as a juvenile and competed in two-thirds of the TC series as a sophomore. He’s a dual G3 winner on the main track so he’s another that had options for this weekend. If his latest turf works are an accurate indication of what to expect, he may be a live horse at a big number. Been over a year since he found the winner’s circle, and he caught a salty group, but the surface switch can only be seen as a positive. On the fence with this one.
#7 Hawaiian Lord (Our Athletes/L. Saez): “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” 4yo colt makes his stakes’ debut in his 17th start, and jumps right in the G1 end of the pool to boot. Broke his maiden exactly a year ago and only has the TAM N1X win this season since, but he’s been ITM for five straight starts. Looks to be equally capable close-up/far-back so this post shouldn’t get him beat. A minor placing would have to be seen as a win versus this group.
#8 Immoral (Mb Stables/E. Jaramillo): Last year’s winner returns to defend his crown and does so after taking the G1 PWC to start his 5yo season. Threw a dud in SA G1 but rebounded well to take a 12-furlong open allowance there last month. This is a proven G1-turf horse many times over, and, if he shows up with his mind on business, he doesn’t have to take a backseat to anyone. Don’t think we’ll see him on the front end like he was in his latest effort, but fully expect him to be storming home when the money is on the line. The one to beat.
#9 Outcross (Threhold/D. Davis): Claimed for $6.250 back in November and won on barn debut in February before trying G2 foes at FG. That 4th-placed effort was enough to convince the trainer to give him this assignment in just the sixth start of his career. At this point, he could be ready to make another jump or he could prove that he isn’t there yet, but we’ll know for certain after Saturday. Dropping back and making one run may be his best shot, but he’ll have to pass a lot of really good horses to get a slice of this.
#10 Key Biscayne (TwinTowersRacing/J.R. Velazquez): 6yo took a HOU allowance to start his ’22 campaign before being beaten a length in a GP G2 and winning his latest in another GP G2. He gets his first crack at this G1 level in this and he appears to be trending in the right direction for this assignment. Has to deal with a tough draw from post 10 and he’ll have to navigate a trip against the toughest field he’s seen. Seems to do his best running with cover from midpack and you always worry about how wide you’ll get hung out going into that first turn when that’s your preferred trip. Still, this is a quality individual and he’s in some of the best form of his career. Contender.
#11 Hollywood Hero (Nakamura Stables/C.J. Hernandez): 5yo will try to win the first G1 of his career from the widest gate, but there’s talent here. He’s won multiple G2’s in his career and seems to ramping-up to a peak performance. The trip is a bit of a concern even though he did take a 12-furlong G3 last season; his best work has been done going the flat mile and 8.5-furlongs. Not sure what kind of trip he can work out from here, but he’s another that is talented enough to take this event. Your call.
Final Analysis: 3-8-2-4 is how we see the G1 Forester Turf Classic, but we would definitely suggest boxing that combination. Good luck to all of the connections in all of their races this weekend!