Sycamore (Grade 3)- $300.000 Purse
KEE- For Three Year Olds and Upward
One Mile and One Half on the Turf
October 13, 2023
It’s Friday the 13th, and five horses will be spending the day going a full mile and a half around the KEE turf course for the 19th running of the Grade 3 Sycamore. It’s a race that last year saw the purse get increased to $300.000 after traditionally being anywhere between $100.000 and $150.000. That led to a field of seven for that race, one that was won by Arindel’s Afterburner. He would head to the BC Turf a few weeks later and ended up cashing a fourth-place check there. Unfortunately, he has struggled in 2023, and very recently was sold in the auction for just $20.200. For his career, he did win over $1,300.000, so plenty to be happy about with that one. The first thing that we will notice about this field is that there are not many horses that have been entered, but the ones that are here should be able to provide us with a competitive race. Let’s meet the field!
#1- Real One (Nakamura Stables, ridden by P Lopez)- Still relatively new to the turf, having made just three starts on the surface, and they are each of his last three races. He wasn’t doing badly at all on the dirt, but Nakamura Stables wanted something different, and was rewarded with an open allowance win in July, as well as another open allowance win last month. In between, he was a non-factor in the Grade 2 Read Stakes, so some might not be sold on him yet on the grass. I do like his effort from the September race, and he’s won a twelve-furlong graded race in the past.
#2- Anemoi (Mo Mentum Farm, ridden by Mar Garcia)- Purchased by the trainer in private sales in June for $100.000, and has since run in four races in Mo Mentum silks. In them, he has won once, with two other third place efforts. That victory came in the $135.000 Johns Call at SAR, but one of the thirds may have been the better race, as he finished in that position last month, in a dead heat, at the Grade 2 KD Turf Cup, which is a $1,000.000 race. I’m not going to be concerned with the poor outing in the Bowling Green, as that has not been the norm for him. That’s likely a safe throw out. This isn’t the KD Turf Cup, and he’s not on short rest. He’s the one to beat.
#3- One Eyed Man (Sheffler Stables, ridden by F T Alvarado)- Got off to a good start with his new trainer after he was picked up in the March auction, winning the $60.000 Wildcat Stakes at TUP by seven lengths. Since then, he has been hit and miss. Had a competitive fourth place effort at the Grade 2 Fort Marcy, where he was within a half-length of the win, and has been third in two others, but in them, he was beaten by a solid three lengths, including by Anemoi in the Johns Call. I could see him stepping up here in the Sycamore, but he won’t be my pick. Can see his race line looking a lot like the Johns Call: third, but not particularly close to the winner.
#4- Giannis (Riggins Racing, ridden by J R Velazquez)- This four-year-old gelding has picked up four wins over his twelve career starts, but none are in any of the stakes he has attempted. Three of the wins are actually in starter allowances, and one very recently as just two weeks ago, he won at SA. He’s a consistent performer, usually hitting the board, and arguably with a little more luck at the wire, he could have six or seven wins. I’d like him more, but I always let these short rest periods talk me out of picking a virtual horse, even though I probably shouldn’t.
#5- Cp Sad Pain (Barcelona Farms, ridden by L J Luzzi)- While his name says otherwise, there has been nothing painful about owning this horse for Barcelona Farms, as the gelding has managed twelve wins over his 22-race career. He’s hot right now as well, with three wins in his last four races, including a five-length victory at the $100.000 Presious Passion Stakes, which also has a twelve-furlong distance. The race in that stretch that he didn’t win was the $250.000 KD Preview Turf Cup at ELP, where he was the runner up. Look for him to follow that one up well.