Might Be Time to Read the Gospel in Pocahontas

Pocahontas (Grade 3)- $300.000 Purse
CD- For Fillies Two Years Old
One Mile on the Dirt
September 16, 2023

This weekend, across the virtual racing world, we will be treated to several fantastic races for two-year-olds as these young horses look to make a name for themselves. No one knows who will be the best ones in the long run yet, but with the various BC races coming up in just six weeks, the races this weekend will go a long way in piecing together those fields. Here, we will look at the 21st running of the Pocahontas, a grade three race for juvenile fillies. The race began as ungraded stake, but in 2005 became a Grade 3, then a Grade 2 in 2010. In 2020, it returned to the Grade 3 designation. Last year’s race was the first time that we saw a $300.000 purse, which was a high at that time. Syclone was the winner of the race, but she would not win again and is now retired, giving us an example of how these races don’t actually predict who will be KYD or KYO candidates. Only once in the history of the Pocahontas as its winner gone on to win the KYO, as in 2015, The Reaper won each of them, although it should be noted that her KYO win was in a dead heat. We have eleven going to post this year, so let’s take a look at them!

#1- Mad Mad Maple (The Sidley Stud, ridden by A Beschizza)- This filly hasn’t done much yet, with just three starts and only one win. That came against WV-breds at MNR, and it was on the grass. So, there’s really not much that we can see that would suggest that she is about to win this race, but that doesn’t mean that she won’t. Has a good, but not jaw-dropping work from mid-August, the last time she was worked publicly. All the good information for us is likely private!

#2- Torna A Casa (Riggins Racing, ridden by D Van Dyke)- Won on debut in late June at LS, but did not hit the board in either of her starts since then. She was close, though, being within a length in each, including an allowance at SAR and the $200.000 Seeking The Ante three weeks ago. Shorter works are really good but do not have the longer ones that we can see other than a breeze which was decent.

#3- Radio Ruffian (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by M E Smith)- After breaking her maiden by six lengths last month in her third start, the trainer is hoping that his filly can build off that solid effort here. In that race, she turned in a 91 SRF at a mile while coming from off the pace. Interestingly, that race makes her the only one in the field to have gone a mile at any point yet. That’s not going to make a difference here, just found that interesting since it was a maiden race.

#4- Gospel (Team 7 Illusions, ridden by D Cabrera)- This filly has always been a strong worker at shorter distances, and she has raced will in each of her two starts. Last month, she was second in the ELP Debutante, just missing out in a photo finish, so it’s nice to see her being able to stretch out more. It was Lawbreaker that beat her there, but she was gaining on her in the stretch, and ran the seventh furlong very impressively. Eight of them will only benefit her in the rematch against that one, and against the rest of them. This filly excites me, interested in watching her run.

#5- War Show (Jive Inc., ridden by J Crawford)- Last month, War Show defeated NM-Breds at RUI in the $125.000 Rio Grande Senorita Futurity for her second win in four starts. Three of her four starts have come against State Breds, and she has done quite well in them, but it is time now to see what she can do in unrestricted company. Her lone attempt thus far was a solid second here at CD in a June allowance. Hasn’t run more than five and a half furlongs.

#6- Be Yourself (Mb Stables, ridden by F Pennington)- You know you can count on Mb Stables to have some great two-year-old fillies, and based on Be Yourself’s work at PRX last week, there’s plenty of reason to think she is near the top of that list right now. She’s only run twice to this point, struggling on debut before handling the mud well at SAR last month to break her maiden. Both of her starts have been against NY-breds thus far.

#7- Macka Diamond (Nakamura Stables, ridden by Mar Garcia)- The Mr Boombastic filly will be making her fourth career start after breaking her maiden on the grass at MTH last month. Prior to that, she had run on the main track, and did fare decently at WO in July. She has not gone more than six furlongs in a race, and in comparison, to her rivals here, she doesn’t seem as quick in her mile works. That said, there can always be a reason for that, and enough time has passed since then for improvement to be taking place privately.

#8- Long Siesta (Luz International, ridden by L J Luzzi)- The trainer will employ the services of his favorite jockey here as Long Siesta makes her third start. She won on debut in early April against NM-Breds at SRP, and off of that, she was entered into the $100.000 Colleen Stakes at MTH, which is held on the turf. She wasn’t terrible in it but did not cash a check with her mid-pack performance. No works longer six furlongs and no races longer than five, so we’ll see how she likes handling this longer distance. Obviously, the trainer is fully confident.

#9- Aquiel (Alydar Stables, ridden by F T Alvarado)- She has not won a race yet, but she has been able to hit the board in all three of her races thus far. The last time that she was out there was two months ago at SAR, where she finished a solid third. The winner of that race was only a length out of winning the Grade 3 Sorrento Stakes last month, too. I don’t get scared off from taking a maiden in a two-year-old race and feel that she belongs in this field. Her work at the Spa on Labor Day absolutely proves that, but that was inconsistent with a similar work a week prior.

#10- Reflex Action (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by S Elliott)- In May, D J C Racing Stables claimed this filly for $35.000 and she has already been paying dividends. Her first race in her new silks was a maiden race at WO, where she ended up second, and then a month later she picked up that win at SAR. She’s yet to see a fast track with D J C, so we may not have seen her at her best yet. Worked well at PRX in anticipation of this race and should handle the distance without any issue.

#11- Lawbreaker (Diablo Diablo, ridden by E T Baird)- The trainer may have had Reflex Action claimed from him, but he still has an Action Man foal here in the race with Lawbreaker. It’s a good one too, as she heads to the Pocahontas fresh off a win in the $150.000 ELP Debutante, her second win out of five starts. Right before that, she ran well and was within a quarter length of a win, despite finishing fourth, in the $225.000 Debutante right here at CD. Her work at DEL won’t impress, but she handled seven furlongs just fine at ELP, so I am not going to worry about that.

Prediction: 4-10-6-11

— NS

Categories: Grade III, STAKES ARTICLES

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