Familiar Faces Meet in The Troy

The Troy (Grade 3)- $300.000 Purse
SAR- For Four Year Olds and Upward
Five and a Half Furlongs on the Turf
August 5, 2022

Checking in with racing at the Spa on Friday, we will have the 17th running of the Troy, which is a Grade 3 race for older horses. Until 2020, three year olds were able to participate in this turf sprint, but that would change during that year and it has remained that way. The $300.000 represents the most money that race has ever run for, and it actually began very light and especially so when you consider it is held here at SAR. In 2006, it was an ungraded stake that only ran for $65.000. It became graded in 2018. Last year, John Henry was the winning trainer with The Grandmaster, a now seven year old gelding who is still active and winning graded stakes but is not running here. Let’s take a look at those who are!

#1- Roman Rage (Gdp Inc., ridden by M Murrill)- About six weeks ago, Roman Rage won the Grade 1 Jaipur at BEL and earned a 101 SRF for the effort. That was uplifting for Gdp Inc., because he had run a bit flat in the race that was right before it, the TS Turf Sprint. When you have an eight year old gelding that has made close to sixty starts, you want to see that form isn’t beginning to decline and the Jaipur emphatically told us that is it not.

#2- Lunar Watch (Black N Gold Stable, ridden by E T Baird)- A horse that knows how to win, doing so in fifteen out of 31 career starts. He’s raced in a handful of stakes, but it was not until he was claimed by Black N Gold Stable for $12.500 in July of last year before he started getting a regular opportunity to run in them. Lunar Watch has won five of seven since the claim, and will making just his second start in a graded race here.

#3- King Ranch (South Shore Stables, ridden by M Franco)- Two starts ago, King Ranch picked up his first stake win in the Grade 3 Daytona Stakes out at SA. Following that, he made a trip to Canada and had a respectable fourth place finish in the Grade 2 Highlander, which was won by the horse starting next to him in the gate. This will be the 22nd start of his career, and his form has never been better.

#4- Shelbags (Lindeman Prairie, ridden by R M Hernandez)- Shelbags was the winner of that Grade 2 Highlander north of the border, and for him it was his thirteenth career win. He also earned a 100 SRF in the race, which was his second consecutive time in doing that. The seven year old gelding was able to run in the BC Turf Sprint for the first time last year, and was one spot away from cashing a check. Seems to be on a good track to get back.

#5- One Man Show (Spankys Barn, ridden by D Van Dyke)- Back in 2020, and while a member of Maxmillion Farm, One Man Show was able to run in the BC Turf Sprint but the result is not the highlight of his history. Ran in the Troy last year, but only finished ahead of one horse. Ultimately, this led to him going to the sales ring, where Spankys Barn picked him up for $20.000. He’s only run in overnights since, but he’s won three of four in his new silks, including a $116.000 allowance last month at WO.

#6- Insist On Perfection (Maxmillion Farm, ridden by A Cedillo)- After winning the $75.000 Bayou City Stakes at HOU, he would be put in the private sales by former trainer LionKing Stables, and Maxmillion was on top of it, getting him for $220.000. He would be put in graded stakes immediately and ran well, but did not win any of them. His last start came at WO in a $116.000 allowance on yielding turf, and earned the win. Hasn’t made a habit of sprinting, however.

#7- Elijah G (Mb Stables, ridden by L Saez)- Two entries from Mb Stables, two more to add to his total for having to start on the outside of the field. Elijah G did get to start on the rail in his last start, however, and he came from the middle of the back to finish second in the Grade 2 Highlander. He had won his two prior races, including the $160.000 Beau Stakes at CD. Ran in the BC Turf Sprint last fall, and placed sixth.

#8- Kid Commander (Allinthegate, ridden by J R Velazquez)- This one is best known for a stretch between July 2020 and June 2021, where he won seven of eight races and that includes the TS Turf Sprint and the Jaipur last year. He tried to defend his crown in each of those two races this year, but was a non-factor, starting slow out of the gate and never getting involved. He had been running well going into those races, so a little rest might help. When he was red hot, he seemed to be much better at the start of the race. Perhaps a return to those tactics could be something to watch for.

#9- Shakespearean (Mb Stables, ridden by Mario Gutierrez)- Won the $100.000 Silk Run in March, and followed that up by winning the TS Turf Sprint afterwards. Everything seemed to be going very well for him, as he had hit the board in all of his eleven starts to that point. Then, something happened in the Jaipur, with a very out of character effort. That simple fact makes me think that race is an easy throw out, and that the Coin Flip gelding can get right back to form here.

#10- Sniper (Avenue Z, ridden by I C Wenc)- Our final entry in the gate is also one that did the TS Turf Sprint and Jaipur double coming into this race. For Sniper, he cashed a check in both, running third in the TS Turf Sprint and fourth in the Jaipur, being beaten by a length in each. So, there is no reason to think that he can’t reverse that trend here. Doing it from the outside adds an additional challenge, though. Likes to get out of the gate quick.

Prediction: 4-9-1-5

— NS

Categories: Grade III, STAKES ARTICLES

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