American Turf Looks to Launch the Three-Year-Old BC Challenge

American Turf – Grade II
CD Race #8 1 1/16m Turf Graded Stake
Purse $500.000 For Three Year Olds.


Two things have always been clear to me at HRP. A good dirt runner can often make and easy move over to turf but it is rare for a good turfer to do the same when moved to dirt. That has never been more obvious than in this race as we see a few failed TC qualifiers come back to turf.

The other thing is that no matter how ‘random’ our draw is, there are horses that always seem to get a good draw and those that always get a bad one, again in this race we see clear evidence of that too.


So armed with those two snippets can we work out who will take home this very nice purse? Here is how they line up:

1     Mako       Arindel        Rocco J S Jr

4 races back this one was a ten lengths sixth in a state bred maiden but since then he has been on a steep improvement curve and made all for an easy win in the Singletary Stakes last time out. To be fair to his rivals that still doesn’t look good enough to win this but i do think this one has more improvement in him. Drawn the ace in three of his six races we often see horses that improve quickly get favors like that and that puts a flag next to his name for me.

2     Penal Hockey Party       Martyparty        Murrill M

Another that is a different horse than he was four races ago he was beaten 29 lengths in a LAD maiden on debut but has since shown the same improvement as the horse inside him. Like that horse that improvement has been aided by good draws and for the same reason Mako can run well, he can too. I think he is a shade better on form and works and gets a super draw again so he too could be waiting in the wings to become a turf star if things go his way.

3     Boardwalk Empire        Smokey Stover         Cedillo A

Well this one was two from two on the turf when the KYD came calling and the trainer sent him twice to the dirt to try and make the field. The writing was on the wall after his run in the Risen Star and sure enough he failed in the LA Derby next out. Back to turf today as long as those two runs haven’t taken the edge off him he could be a good prospect.

4       The Tonight Show       Rock Creek         Davis D

Another successful turfer that was given a go for the KYD, his trainer sent out the white flag after one run saw him a mile back in the Lecomt. That turned out to be a wise move as he has gone on to run two nice races back on the turf most notably when a close fourth in the Pennsylvania last time. Third in the BC Juvenile Turf last year this one has a great CV for this race.

5       Sly Prayers       Dawson Farms        Franco M

He has done well since switching to the turf but just looking at his last three races we have no idea what will turn up today, front runner or deep closer. Such is the click and play nature of HRP that it is tough to say which style suits him best but in a big field he may need to look at a third option and settle just behind the speed. He is a tough consistent sort who should be competitive at the end.

6      Full Speed         Mb Stables          Saez L

Five seconds from eight starts he looks a nailed on certainty for the exacta’s and the trifectas. His only win came on debut in one of those $100 maidens at SAR and whilst they say debut winners can sometimes need a while to recover before they win again he is taking that to the extreme.

7       Creepy Risk        Fractious        Jaramillo E

Well if ever there was a horse that looked like it was going all the way to the BC Mile it is this one. Unbeaten in all three starts he took the Transylvania last time which is the perfect form race for this and did it by making all the running, something this new race engine loves. I just don’t see how this one gets beat and think we may be at the beginning of something special here.

8        Keenness        Our Athletes         Hernandez C J

Whilst i have given examples of horses getting an ace draw in three of their last six, here we have one that has had the eleven gate in three of his last six. That random draw certainly seems less random for some than others! Considering his ‘bad luck’ he has done pretty well but those draws have given his form an inconsistent look which he doesn’t really deserve. He gets out again today but he has won stakes races from wide before so if the race engine is nice to him he is not without a chance.

9        Inspector Gadget        Nakamura Stables       Carrasco V R

Another whose form looks worse for a failed attempt at TC glory he comes back to turf here and should be competitive. Another who is evidence of the click and play nature of the game he has gone from front runner to closer in his time but has less choices from this draw today a position that has seen him fail in his last three efforts. He may just be another one of those ‘unlucky’ ones when it comes to the draw but the trainer must’ve learned something from his last three so again i expect better here.

10       Wiggling Road        Alydar Stables      Moran D

i think this is more a dual purpose horse than either a turfer or dirt horse because he didn’t do too badly when tried for the TC qualification races after success on the turf. I think this trip is around his best and he may turn out to have a slight favor fro the grass but with this draw it may not be today that we find out. On pace in his last three i actually think he did better when ridden with more restraint from wider draws before that so it may turn out to be a blessing in disguise that he draws out today.

11     Cadillac Jack    Team 7 Illusions        Silvera Ru

Went to the Transylvania with just one maiden win to his name but had worked some slick times since getting the miracle geld and ran a really nice third from the car park draw. Apparently randomly he gets another bad draw today, his third from five starts so will have his work cut out again. If he gets a run from the race engine though i feel that he is going to be very good and if things go his way could be right up there at the finish.

12     The Godfather      Smokey Stover       Gutierrez Mario

Won the BC Juvenile Turf from the 12 gate so whilst it isn’t great to be out in the car park it wont be a complete disaster. Like most of the others his form looks inconsistent because of his dirt efforts to try for the TC but back on the turf last time he split Cadillac Jack and Creepy Risk in The Transylvania and one feels that those three may again fight out the finish here. A lot will depend on the pace and what Smokey Stover clicks as it always seems to these days, like the 11 others he is good enough if all the stars align.


Well i reckon the Transylvania finish is going to be repeated here with Creepy Risk being the clear top pick and any combination of Cadillac Jack and The Godfather for second and third.

Categories: Grade II, STAKES ARTICLES

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