Fractious And Beach Xaar Look to Continue PRX Dirt Mile Dominance

PRX Dirt Mile ($300.000 Purse)
PRX- For Three Year Olds and Upward
One Mile on the Dirt
September 23, 2023

Continuing our look at the races at PRX on Saturday, it’s time for the PRX Dirt Mile, which is a newer race to the schedule at the racetrack. It’s in just the third year of existence, first appearing in 2021 when it was won by the late Mr Charming. This is the first time the race has run for $300.000, which is an increase of $100.000 over the prior two years. Perhaps the race will earn a graded designation in the future, but for now it’s a very good ungraded stake. Last year, Beach Xaar got the win, doing so for Fractious, and he will have an opportunity to defend his title here. Fractious will also look to continue his dominance of the race, as he is the only trainer to have won the PRX Dirt Mile to this point. Here’s a look at our field of six!

#1- Speter (Nakamura Stables, ridden by F T Alvarado)- This five-year-old gelding has been around, making 28 career starts with seven wins in them. He’s commonly been seen in Grade 2 or 3’s, and his biggest win to this point was the Grade 3 Mineshaft Stakes at FG in February against some pretty good company. Since then, he’s been struggling with finishes of seventh or worse in three of his last four races, and he was fourth in the other one. He’s been given a couple months off, and the trainer is hoping that will be enough to get him going in what is a similar type of race.

#2- Mamba (Mb Stables, ridden by P Lopez)- Made a name for himself by running in the Champagne and the BC Juvenile as a maiden. Then, after trying to break that conventionally twice and failing, he went to the $150.000 Battaglia Memorial Stakes, and won that. Talk about an odd way to start a career! Since then, he’s been competitive in races like the Grade 2 Barrera, and in his last start he finally proved that he could win an overnight race instead of a stake with an optional claimer win at DMR. He’s finished second seven times in 16 starts, and I have to say he just misses a little something to get me excited.

#3- Beach Xaar (Fractious, ridden by L Saez)- Looking to win the PRX Dirt Mile for the second year in a row, and in a race that really does not have a standout, I don’t see why he can’t. He has not been particularly strong since the win, with just coming since then. He had a stretch of races over the spring which were unimpressive, but then that race he did win may have gotten him rolling again. After taking the optional claimer at DMR, he stayed there for an open allowance and lost the head bob at the wire to Be Lucky. By the way, that’s him a couple spots down in the gate. I might lean his way with my pick, but it’s not with the same confidence as I have with Retaliate, for Fractious, in the Gallant Bob.

#4- Scott The Cherokee (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by A Beschizza)- The good news is that this horse has done a very good job hitting the board throughout his career, but spoiling that is that he seems to keep finishing third. Better than nothing, I suppose, and don’t see why he can’t finish in his favorite spot again. He’s only won twice, though the most recent victory was in May for a CD optional claimer. TwinTowersRacing tried to advance his career afterwards, but the results have simply not been there. The conditions of this race will be more to his liking, so it may be a good spot for a breakout.

#5- Be Lucky (Parkers Pride, ridden by J R Velazquez)- We last saw this horse at DMR, where he won an open allowance and defeated Beach Xaar at the wire. Was he just being lucky, or can he beat that one again, as well as the others in the field? After winning eight of his 20 starts, that win was clearly not luck at all, and even though he is a five-year-old gelding, I am not sure that we have seen the best of this horse quite yet. Perhaps previous connections never really gave him the chance to blossom, but Parkers Pride has done a great job since claiming him for $35.000, and the timing is right to give him the biggest challenge of his career. SRF’s are consistently in the upper 90’s and the PA-bred should like being at home. He’s made eight starts at PRX, winning four of them.

#6- Bespoke (First Class Stable, ridden by F Geroux)- If you dig deep into this one’s history, you will find that he’s been in some very big races, but since he was gelded during the summer of 2021, his only stake attempt was a $50.000 race at HST two starts back, where he finished second. Of late, he has mostly been a sprinter, but the signs are there that he might like going a mile, and you’ll never know until you try it. His recent SRF’s do suggest that he deserves to have this kind of challenge, and as long as he is fine with the distance (which I think he is), he can be a player here.

#7- Gas Lighting (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by Mario Gutierrez)- From a horse that has not had many opportunities at this level to one that so far has not justified getting them. Gas Lighting has still only one win out of 17 career starts, despite getting a crack at the Travers and a couple of other Grade 3’s. Has not even won $100.000 for his career, which considering the races he has been entered in, shows that he’s largely been ineffective. But he’s also never been as good as he looks right now, and that’s what could lead to him pulling off a surprise. He’s scored back-to-back runner ups in overnights at ELP and DMR, so if the trainer really believes that he has a stake winner here, then this is the right time to try this type of race. That work at AQU on the 15th? Highly impressive. I shouldn’t be as intrigued about him pulling this off as I am. Definitely pick him if his odds climb.

Prediction: 5-7-3-4

— NS

Categories: NG Stakes, STAKES ARTICLES

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