Expect a Length To Cover Them All in O Brien Stakes

closers Stakes – Grade II [BC]
 DMR Race #6 7f Dirt Graded Stake
Purse $250.000 For Three-Year-Olds And Upward.

1 First Fleet High Voltage Vazquez R A 124 —

These races can turn into a Calvary charge and just sometimes a late closer can catch them late. This one falls into that category as he proved in the Crosby when coming from an impossible position and being beaten just a length at the end. Winner of the Kellys Landing with the same tactics the only concern will be this inside draw but then I have seen deep closers become front runners in the same scenario so nothing would surprise me. He falls into the clone zone as far as works go and is clearly an improved horse this year so I would give him one of those chances that comes along more often than not at HRP.

2 Have Phun Gdp Inc Castillo I 124 —

Successful in the Hanshin last time over the mile he is another that has the clone works but not the form at this level. I do feel he has been untested however and is better than the ungraded stakes he tends to run in so with the perfect draw for his sparkling new on-pace running style I would expect him to be in it at the end.

3 Six Pillars TwinTowersRacing Lezcano J 124 —

What could be more natural than a horse that was running over 12 furlongs a couple of months ago competing in a win, and you are in the BC Sprint race? Well, such as it is at HRP the trip doesn’t seem to bother a good horse and this is a really solid five-year-old who is more than capable of running a big race. Can he win after all his wins coming in routes? Well yes, he could but if you stick strictly to the form book it may be unlikely, but then he can work as fast as the best sprinters, and I have long given up writing off horses from this stable.

4 King Pigeon Riggins Racing Husbands P 124 —

A grade one winning three-year-old he contended the BC Sprint last year but ran no sort of race from a wide draw. Four-year-olds always find the first half of the season tougher but he ran very well when a hard closing fourth in the CD in May, so things looked good until his last two starts when he got well beaten. The horse was sold after his last race and may do better in the much more experienced and higher-rated Riggins Racing Stable, but he still has something to prove after falling off the map.

5 Iron Mine Fractious Ayuso A 124 —

The horse is working all the correct clone work times but just doesn’t seem to have the motor this year although he is a four-year-old so we can expect some improvement as the season enters its second half. A dual grade two winner leading into the BC Sprint, he, like a few others just didn’t show up with a wide draw and has failed to win a race since. I thought perhaps he had found his mojo when an excellent second in the True North but then ran eleventh in the lottery that was the Crosby albeit only beaten a couple of lengths. He has the ability to win like so many and you just have to hope that the race engine picks him today if he is your choice.

6 Burnin Red Hooves TwinTowersRacing Bridgmohan S X 124 —

Another solid year and like many from the stable he has been running in anything from 6 to 12 furlongs making him a problematic form read. He gets a decent draw like his stable mate, but I feel his stable mate may be the better of the two.

7 Tehran Mb Stables Ferrer J C 124 —

The first of the usual three giving the stable a 25% chance of winning at the very least, he certainly comes here with the right form figures in the right races. Beaten a neck into second in the grade one Met Handicap he was then beaten a nose into second in the Vanderbilt Handicap and both of those races are great form pointers to a race like this. Apart from has, Mb special 57 and 1, 5 furlongs work the rest of his works fall into the clone zone and with the best draw of the three, he may be the best prospect from the stable.

8 Hollywood Cruiser Threshold Elliott S 124 —

He won a claimer at the end of last year but has found a new lease of life as a five-year-old winning the MD Sprint and then running on late for seventh in the Nerud. His last work surprised even the trainer so he may still be finding a little improvement and if he has, he should be right in this.

9 Twilight Flame Mb Stables Wilson E J 124 —

For a horse with such a decent purse return, he hasn’t actually won above grade three which surprised me when I looked through his record. He has however run some solid races in his time including a third in this race back in 2021. His last win came in the Essex Handicap over a mile and sixteenth, but he is a proven sprinter so too much shouldn’t be read into that even though he went to the front and outstayed them that day. He is classy enough to make the top four on his day.

10 Pray For Sunshine Spankys Barn Van Dyke D 124 —

This six-year-old won the Fools Handicap in March and has been thereabouts since and with the six furlong works falling into the clone zone has as good a chance as anything here. I liked his effort in the Nerud last time closing fast for a very close fourth but if you look at all the form here there is barely a length between all of them so it’s hard to say that stands out.

11 On Schedule Mb Stables Centeno D E 124 —

His form reads ninth beaten a length in both his last starts which just shows you how little there is between sprinters this year. In both those efforts, The Nerud and the Crosby, he was drawn wide and gets that handicap again today which seems almost unfair, but the draw monster has him in its sights for a reason. This is a good horse who may well have started favorite if he had been drawn inside so it is in the lap of the Gods as to whether he can win today.

12 Stormy Liberal Big Guns Stables Smith M E 124 —

Last beaten two lengths in the Crosby which just goes to show how incredibly clone like these sprinters are, prior to that he had been consistent in good races so there is no reason other than the car park draw to think he won’t be in the thick of things again. I guess a suicide pace may help his closing style if the wide gate doesn’t turn him into a front runner but there are only a few scenarios that see him winning.


OK if anyone is confident about winning this race then they are a much better handicapper than me. The last couple of grade ones in the sprinting ranks have seen an almost lottery like Calvary charge and this one looks no different. On form Mb looks to have the edge.

Categories: Grade II, Races, STAKES ARTICLES

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