Billy Joel Looks for Repeat in McKnight Stakes

The 20th Running of the G3 McKnight Stakes

Saturday, January 28, 2023

GP  Race #9 $200.000

4+ 124 Lbs (Plus Penalties) 11/2 Inner Turf

Course Record-2:24.57 (Eve Of Destruction-2014)

Stakes Record-2:23.95 (A Little Extra-2012)

#1 Two In The Chamber (TwinTowersRacing/J. Lezcano): 6yo has only one ITM finish in six tries since May.  In his defense, the old engine wasn’t exactly forgiving to someone with his style.  Draws the rail here and should save a ton of ground.

#2 Americas Hope (Nakamura Stables/F. Geroux): G3 score in September at AQU solidified a good season that saw him win three times in nine starts.  Didn’t run poorly in BC Turf, but seasonal finale was a head-scratcher.  Could be anywhere early.

#3 Afterburner (Arindel/Ru. Gonzalez): 5yo gelding took a G2 and a G3 for his two wins last season.  Made a run to nab 4th in the BC over a course he may not have relished.  Not a lot of recency on the work tab, but what is visible is impressive.

#4 Animal House (Night Rider Stables/E.J. Zayas): Winless in three starts since being tagged for $35.000, he did win twice last year for the old barn.  Barn is certainly giving him every opportunity to prove himself.  Engine dynamics could play into his favor.

#5 Charley Buzz (Nakamura Stables/P. Husbands): Gelding has won his last two, including a score over this course/trip last month in a $100.000 stake.  Gets a new pilot for this, but he was very tactical on the old engine.

#6 High Fives (High Voltage/M. Franco): Gelding almost ended ’22 with consecutive G2 scores but came up just short in November.  Used strong rallies in both of those efforts, but he had shown tactical speed in previous tries. 

#7 Never Met Me (RNP Stables/G. Corrales): Only brought $17.500 in the latest auction before making his barn debut in a G2.  Ran a dull 7th that day but the trainer should be better acquainted with him this time.  Was at his best on/near the lead on the old engine.

#8 Billy Joel (La Canada Racehorses/S.X. Bridgmohan): 6yo gelding is trying to repeat history after taking this event last year.  He was in a really good run of form before catching a less-than-firm turf course in the BC.  If it’s a dry strip, he’s still a force in any race he enters.

Final Analysis: Interesting race with the new engine because all of these guys are “known” commodities.  We see it finishing 8-3-1 but wish everyone good luck in the G3 McKnight Stakes.

Categories: Grade III, Races, STAKES ARTICLES

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