6 WO Eclipse Stakes (GII)
$175.000 4yo&Up 1 1/16th Dirt 122lbs +penalties
Up north of the border we go to WO for the Eclipse Stakes (GII), a mile and a sixteen main track stakes for the older handicap types and I’m going to the outside post and taking Wrangler as the top choice in this one. He’s been solid in ’22 other than that dud at FG, and I think this is a spot for him to use his tactical speed to get another win. I think Eclipse My Knowledge is another that deserves a big look, as he’s been solid in all four ’22 starts. He won the OP Mile (GIII) and is the ying to the top selection yang as this one comes from off of the pace.
There’s a bunch of classy types in here, so it’s an open race and anyone’s to take.
Here’s the Field –
Part of the “inside couple” here and he seems to always be around when they hand out checks. Won last out taking down NY-bred stakes company at AQU, coming from well off of the pace on that afternoon. He seems to do his best racing from off of the pace so let’s see if he gets a clear path late to make some noise.
Chucked an unusually bad race last out, tiring in the late stages of the OP Hcp (GII) but my feelings on the OP oval are well known, and I can certainly throw that race out. He ran a big race in the NO Hcp (GII) prior to that, so I’d look for another big effort today.
Won the OP Mile (GIII) to make it back to back wins, then was fifth in the Alysheba (GII) at CD last out. He’s classy, and has put a ton of money in the bank over his career, so you have to put him in the mix every single time he loads into the starting gate… same here.
Just missed vs top end Alw types at CD last out and this is an obvious step up for a horse that has been running with Alw/Opt types of late. He did run in the Vanderbilt (GI) last summer, and was fifth, so again, it’s a step up for him.
He’s been close in a number of recent races, some of those vs. graded foes, so he fits well with this group. Closed well to be third in the California Stakes (GII) and likewise in the Lure, both of those at SA. I think he could be on the improve, second time on the main track after a slew of turf efforts, so watch him.
He’s been on the board in half of his twelve starts, five of those wins, so he loves to get to the winner’s circle. He was second in the Curribot at SUN before besting OptAlw horses at SA in his most recent, so he seems to be in good form right now.
Closed out ’21 with a pair of graded race runner-up finishes, but has struggled in ’22. He was fourth int he San Pascal (GII) then a seventh in the SA Hcp (GI), so it’s obvious that he needs to turn his form around if he wants to be a serious factor today.
He’s been making a good living as a sprinter but looks to go a bit longer than usual today. Don’t get me wrong, he won at a mile, so it’s not outside of his ability, just a bit different than his stakes win at AQU, two races back, at six and a half. The new barn has a plan.
Won the SSM Classic by five and followed that with a nice victory (DH) in the Mineshaft (GIII) at FG. He was fourth in the NO Hcp (GII) but was last of eight in the Ali (GIII) at KEE last out, so he needs to find that old for again.
His last four or five races have left quite a bit to be desired, and although they have all been vs. graded foes, he has to get back on track. I’m just not sure that this is the place for him to do that.
His last win came three races back in the PA Derby (GI), but he was fourth in the BC Classic (GI) prior to a couple of forgettable starts in the Mineshaft (GIII) and the Ali (GIII). His best makes him a big factor… can he find his best?
Recovered from a horrible race in the LA Stakes (GIII) at FG, as he won vs NY-bred Alw horses, then won the Excelsior only to run second in the California Stakes (GII), battling on the front end the whole way around. I look for another huge race today.
COZMAN 12 / 3 Willie’s Green Card 3 / 6
Categories: Grade II, STAKES ARTICLES