The PRM Cornhusker Handicap – Grade III
PRM Race #2 1 1/8m Dirt Graded Stake
Purse $300.000 For Three Year Olds And Upward.
In this game its the little details that matter and when it comes to handicaps i am always left in awe at how Mb Stables reads the ratings to get horses into the races without the weight any normal person would expect. Who for example would think that the horse that very nearly won the triple crown, a horse with a whisker under 4K in winnings running over his best trip would get in this race with the same weight as a horse that has won just 3 races and one very small ungraded stakes race. It is those sorts of details that make the trainer such a dominant force at HRP. So could today be the day for Howl To The Hound? On paper it looks like it could be but lets not forget that this horse hasn’t won a race since the Preakness so even with a very fair weight he may be no dead cert.
Here is how they line up:
1 Speter Nakamura Stables Luzzi L J 118
Drawn the ace we see a four year old who looks to have benefited from the recent mid season improvement and certainly looks like he could be moving up his improvement curve. A strong finishing second in the Salvator Mile last time and a lifetime best work just a week ago suggests to me he is ready for a race like this and gets in with bottom weight to boot. Lots of positives for this one and he may be great value for the punters.
2 Python King Axeman Husbands P 118
A solid and consistent overnighter he comes here in the hope of stepping up for the first time. He gets the perfect draw to run a big race and has won three of his last four putting him in the right race at the right time. You have to trust that he has improved enough to take on stakes company again as he failed when last tried but bottom weight, the perfect draw and strong works says he is ready to give it a go.
3 Aerialist Mb Stables Elliott S 119
The stable is ramping up their efforts for the BC pay day and puts three in here to try and gets some much needed BC points. This one isn’t the best known of them but he has come out best in the draw and if he can find the form that saw him a very close second in the CT Classic then he could be the trick up the trainers sleeve. A big disappointment last time, he was in good form prior so we have to put that terrible effort down to the draw and either a tactical mistake or a race engine brain fart. A chance for sure, he may turn out to be the best of the yard.
4 Dutty John Crow John Henry Corbett G W 121
Gets lumped with top weight by a little margin so will have to be at his very best to win this. The winner of the grade one Malibu over seven furlongs he has always been a little inconsistent and as yet his new owner hasn’t been able to change that. As such he is a risky betting proposition but if he can get a soft lead and kick we know the ability is there.
5 Joe Grind Night Rider Stables Lopez P 119
The miracle of gelding has seen this one transform his form in his last two races and whilst on paper he shouldn’t be anywhere near these with 119Lbs he may just be the surprise package. A very lightly raced five year old he is the joker in the pack and may be the big priced winner that has us kicking ourselves.
6 Top Of The Crop Maxmillion Farm Baird E T 118
The turf king gave this one a go on their favored surface but after three attempts he was brought back to the dirt where he has regained winning form albeit at a lower level. His recent work times are very sharp and his all the way win last time may suggest that Maxmillion has found the magic combinations with him. An interesting entry considering his recent work time i will be checking out the odds for him and if they are bigger than 20/1 may have a little each way.
7 Quality Art Mb Stables Carrasco V R 119
Mb Stables must be used to outside draws this year but at least with nearly half the field he can use his entries to try and negate that disadvantage. This one was building a nice run of form when taking the Knicks Go in a fast time but was then upped all the way to the Metropolitan Handicap last time where he faded off the front after setting a strong pace. He managed to beat Howl To The Hound in that race so i wonder whether this will be the one who the stable sends in an attempt to dictate the pace.
8 Howl Of The Hound Mb Stables Talamo J 119
Well a year ago and this one would have been 1/10 with this weight but a year is a long time at HRP and things haven’t gone to plan for him for a while now. To be fair to him his only really poor race was in the Met Handicap last time but by his own very high standards he hasn’t progressed since nearly winning the TC last year. He in contrast to most in the stable rarely gets a wide draw so it will be interesting tactically to see how he runs today but there is a part of me that hopes the legend lives on and he wins by the margin he could.
A very interesting race made more interesting by the entry of Howl To The Hound who still attracts a crowd even though he hasn’t won since the Preakness. I have a sneaking suspicion that Speter and Top Of The Crop are about to improve their results to go with their work times so would look to those two to bring home some attractive odds.