Iron Mine Peaking with Fractious, Headlines Gallant Bob Stakes

Gallant Bob Stakes (Grade 2)- $300.000 Purse
PRX- For Three Year Olds
Six Furlongs on the Dirt
September 24, 2022

With time winding down before BC weekend, a field of ten have made their way to the Gallant Bob Stakes hoping to be a part of the festivities. A victory, or a strong finish here can provide plenty of momentum heading into the BC. The Gallant Bob Stakes runs for the sixteenth time, and provides a $300.000 purse, an amount that has been steady since 2012. Over the years, the race has increased in stature, going from ungraded, to Grade 3 in 2013 before becoming Grade 2 in 2019. It has almost always been for three year olds only, but in 2020 older horses were also allowed. Mb Stables has won the last two editions of the race, including last year with Grande Geek. That one finished sixth in the BC Sprint a month later, but would not run in a stake again. He was recently auctioned off. Here’s a look at those looking to be the next winner of the race.

#1- Iron Mine (Fractious, ridden by L Saez)- Since being purchased in private sales for $125.000 in March, Iron Mine has been running very well with two wins in four starts. In May, he was the winner of the Grade 3 Barrera at SA but then picked up the biggest win of his career last time out in the Grade 2 Amsterdam, defeating No More Rattle and Tiger Shark by decisive margins. Every now and then, he throws out a dud, and it may have been one at SA which prompted prior trainer Jive Inc to sell him off. I’m not worried about that here, and like that he is well rested and ready to roll.

#2- Adams Song (South Shore Stables, ridden by A R Rodriguez)- The thing that jumps out at you when looking at this horse is that he has not raced since April, and you wouldn’t typically let a three year old this stature sit idle during the summer. He had done well in smaller level races, and won a $15.000 stake before being given half a year off. I would have said in May or June that he has earned the shot at this level, but am concerned about the layoff more than anything else.

#3- Count Hound (Wood Duck Stables, ridden by M Franco)- Here’s a horse that knows how to get to the winners circle, with seven in thirteen starts. They hadn’t all been at high levels initially, and Wood Duck has done well to advance his career further after making the $75.000 claim. If you pay that amount, you have high expectations but they don’t always pan out. It’s good to see an example where it has, as Count Hound immediately won a $100.000 ungraded stake. As time has gone on, he won the $160.000 Kellys Landing and was third in the Crosby and the Jerkens Memorial.

#4- No More Rattle (Bigchief Stables, ridden by D Van Dyke)- In May, No More Rattle picked up a win in the Grade 3 Lang Stakes, but has not been able to run like that consistently. The race before it and two races after that all saw him finish out of the money, and he wasn’t close to doing better, either. If the version of him that won the Lang shows up, he can beat anyone, but I can’t put virtual money on that happening. If you think it will be his day, then by all means take a shot, because the odds probably will be in the double digits.

#5- Viking Lucy (Rock Creek, ridden by V Espinoza)- After winning the $50.000 Auburn Stakes by going wire to wire, Viking Lucy was sent to the Grade 1 Vanderbilt Handicap hoping to repeat that performance. But he (despite the name, this is not a filly) would struggle mightily out of the gate, and that may have doomed him to the finish that he had. That’s probably a safe throw out, but his prior graded effort also saw him fail to hit the board, so while he’ll be better than he was at SAR, it’s going to take him best to beat this crowd.

#6- Championship Rounds (Mb Stables, ridden by J R Velazquez)- Purchased for $250.000 in January, and has been brought along patiently by Mb Stables. Highlights of his year include finishing second in the $150.000 Eddie Stakes for CA breds and winning a $103.000 allowance at SAR. That race sent him into the graded ranks for the first time, but he would never get involved in the Grade 1 Jerkens Memorial last month. He’d been closer to the front early in other starts, so maybe that will be the only adjustment needed.

#7- Tiger Shark (Arindel, ridden by E Jaramillo)- The Shark Force gelding has made three graded starts in his career so far, but they would all be struggles. That would include the Grade 2 Amsterdam at SAR at the end of July, though he did win his last start, a $115.000 allowance on the same race track. Otherwise, this is a horse that has had hit and miss successes, with many of those being in NY-bred races, and he seems due to win a race of this caliber at some point. This would be a good time for it to start, but his record in graded stakes thus far has me struggle to put him on top, but I could see him hitting the board.

#8- Model Commander (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by T Gaffalione)- It will be nearly a year to the day when Model Commander was last in the winner’s circle. It was a strong win, coming in the $150.000 Bongard, but he has not been able to get any momentum off of that, as he had a long string of fourth or worse finishes before finally running second in an optional claimer at SAR in July, carrying a low weight in comparison to others. Look for him to be one of the longer shots on the board like he usually is lately.

#9- Elemental (Mo Mentum Farm, ridden by P Lopez)- He’s been brought along patiently, and ran on the grass to start before moving to the dirt for the Swale Stakes. After running in the TAM Derby, and placing seventh, it has been back to sprinting. When racing under a mile, Elemental has won five out of seven races, and comes out of an ungraded stake victory, the $100.000 Jersey Shore at MTH. Should be able to run fine against this company, and it’s a bit of a surprise that he has not been in a graded sprint since the Swale.

#10- Battle City (Night Rider Stables, ridden by J C Ferrer)- Ran against Elemental in the Jersey Shore, and got his picture taken with him at the wire, running second. It was an impressive performance for a horse that had just been claimed for $15.000 in late May. Overall, Battle City has not raced all that much, with just seven career starts and he didn’t begin to show up at the track until this spring. Very interesting contender here as a horse that is still growing.

Prediction: 1-9-3-7

— NS

Categories: Grade II, STAKES ARTICLES

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