PREAKNESS STAKES ANALYSIS
By Jessica Paquette
#1 WAR OF WILL could not be less lucky with post positions but he was lucky (and athletic) in the Kentucky Derby when it mattered most. His trip in the Kentucky Derby can be viewed as a throwaway in a lot of regards but it did answer one major question – could you excuse his poor performance at Fair Grounds in the Louisiana Derby? The answer is a resounding yes. He went into the Derby training exceptionally well and looked like he was poised to run a huge race prior to nearly clipping heels with Maximum Security. Trainer Mark Casse’sconfidence in this horse speaks volumes and while the rail is not advantageous by any means, it is not the deal breaker that it is in the 20 horse Kentucky Derby Field. #2 BOURBON WAR looks a whole lot more interesting after the Florida horses – Maximum Security and Code of Honor – ran so well in Kentucky. This one is coming in fresh and has been training sharply at Belmont Park for this race. He could be a generous price and may be one to include. #13 WIN WIN WIN may be able to move forward off of the Kentucky Derby and when all is said and done, he didn’t run a terrible race. He is another horse who looks better going back to his prep races when it now appears he was running against some legitimate horses. #4 IMPROBABLE is tough to take as the favorite here and I have still yet to be convinced that he doesn’t have distance limitations and/or an inclination to hang and wait on horses. He did run better than I expected in the Kentucky Derby but was able to miss most of the excitement near the front which helped.
- CLAIRE’S KITTY 2. HALLUCINATION 3. BELLAS EYES
CLAIRE’S KITTY is an interesting horse going to the turf here after several competitive efforts against decent company at Aqueduct. Though her two prior starts on the lawn were average, they did come against tougher competition and she has more than enough pedigree to make a case for the surface switch.
HALLUCINATION had three good efforts on the local turf last year and they came at generous prices. She had a race off the bench at Finger Lakes and while that was average, it likely served as a solid conditioning effort for her to be ready to run a big race back on the lawn here. She has an advantage over several rivals here with a proven record on this course.
BELLAS EYES is lightly raced and well bred. She has run well enough on both turf and synthetics to warrant some consideration here and from only a handful of starts and judging by the late start she got, she may still be developing and improving. She has been freshened since a poor effort last time out but may be able to rebound.
- ROUXHERE 2. JONATHAN MCD 3. SOUL MACHEN
ROUXHERE fits this condition very well with three victories already to his credit and with only eight lifetime starts, he still looks like a horse who is improving and maturing. He has won his last two starts against respectable competition and seems like a logical contender and very legitimate even at a short price for a live barn.
JONATHAN MCD turned in a really solid performance last time out and a repeat of that will make him a contender. He has not been the most consistent but he fits well with this field and should have a bit of pace to make a run at.
SOUL MACHEN ran a big race at a big price last time out. Though he has not been consistent, he seems capable of making his way into the exotics here.
- THE PIRATES 2. PANAMA PAPERS 3.CROSS MULTIPLE
THE PIRATES will get a stiff class test here after a sharp maiden victory last time out and what he may lack in experience, he makes up for in pedigree. He has a strong female family and is out of a half-sister to millionaire Tale of Ekati and graded stakes winner Tale of Silence. There is no telling how good this horse may or may not be at this point but his winning effort last time out was flattered by the runner-up and his sort of sharp early speed tends to fare well on this course.
PANAMA PAPERS has been freshened since a pair of poor performances at the end of last year and has been training steadily for his return to action. I liked his effort on the local turf last year – it was against a solid field and he got over the course well – so a return to that sort of performance makes him a contender.
CROSS MULTIPLY is switching back to the turf here and stretching out to two turns after a series of sprint efforts. He is one of the more experienced horses in this field and while he seems a little stuck at this condition, he has enough turf influence in his pedigree to make him interesting in the exotics.
- BOPPIN ANDA WEAVIN 2. THE CURT FOX (GB) 3. PIRATE BEACH
BOPPIN ANDA WEAVIN is a true horse for the course and has also shown himself to be the type of horse that can fire big off of this sort of layoff. He has effective tactical speed that has always translated very well on this turf course and it is tough to knock his local record. He has one of the more consistent records in this field and figures to be a top contender. THE CURT FOX (GB) ran a dynamite race on the local turf and has enough back class to be a big threat. He has been in sharp form at Tampa and with his sharp turn of foot, he figures to be a factor from off of the pace. His two most recent efforts have been very good and he may be sitting on a big performance. PIRATE BEACH is another one coming into this race with solid Tampa form and has been holding his own against quality fields. He looks like a good fit here and does have enough tactical speed to ensure that Boppin anda Weavin doesn’t get everything his own way out front.
- SHACKLESON 2. SON OF SANIBEL 3. GALLANT CAUSE
SHACKLESON has turned into an extremely consistent sort of racehorse once he hit his best stride and found his preferred level of competition. It is tough to find fault with his form this year and he looks to be coming into this race ready for another good effort for live connections. His best efforts come when he is on or near the lead but he showed a lot of grit and determination to hold off rivals last time out and figures to be the one to beat. SON OF SANIBEL ran a better race last time than it appears at first glance on paper. That was a positive step in the right direction for his second start off of a layoff and he may be getting sharper with each start back. He may offer some value here and could be a contender at a generous price. It is worth noting he does have a local win to his credit and that did come against tougher. GALLANT CAUSE is getting a drop in class here and may be too much horse at this level. While not consistent, he did have two wins this year and his speed and back class make him tough to overlook.
- BRET’S AT CADDIES 2. THE ZIP ZIP MAN 3. INDIAN BUCKS
BRET’S AT CADDIES switches back to the turf here and while his recent form at Mountaineer has been average, he is a pair of heads away from being two for two on the Suffolk turf and the surface switch should move him up. With several contenders in this spot returning off of extended layoffs, his fitness edge with some races under his belt may give him an advantage.
THE ZIP ZIP MAN has an advantage over several rivals here in that he is proven over this turf course and had a terrific win on the lawn here last fall. Though he has not been the model of consistency, he is capable here and could offer some value in his first start of the year.
INDIAN BUCKS is a classy veteran with and a proven contender on this turf course. After an inconsistent season in 2018, he got the winter off and has been training steadily for his return. His best efforts last year came locally on the turf and if he is sharp enough off of the layoff, he can hold his own with this group.
- FOLDOVER 2. ZEFIRO 3. HEZA KITTEN
FOLDOVER is a perfect three for three this year and while this is a step up in class, he has answered every question so far this year. This barn has been live the past couple of seasons shipping in for these boutique weekends and this homebred gelding seems to be in excellent form right now. His best efforts come on or near the lead and he seems like the type that if he can catch a flyer out of the gate may be tough to reel in.
ZEFIRO may get a pass on his last race – it looks like he had a terrible trip and his form prior to that was very competitive against good company. He had a solid performance on the local turf last summer. My only question mark with him is whether or not this is an ideal distance for him – he does seem better suited going longer.
HEZA KITTEN started his career at Keeneland and Saratoga with Wesley Ward and while it did take him eleven tries to break his maiden, he was keeping good company. He is making a major step up here and will be facing horses with significant accomplishments beyond a maiden victory. He has been freshened since wheeling back off of the claim and his tactical speed should work in his favor.
- PRANK CALL 2. EXPLOSIVE CANDY 3. MISS GRAY
PRANK CALL will be trying to rebound off of an average effort last time out but looks well spotted here and may be the quickest of the front-runners. Her record this season has been for the most part consistent and competitive and with her back class and tactical speed, she is difficult to overlook though likely a short price.
EXPLOSIVE CANDY is coming in off of the bench and while she has not raced since January and that was not a particularly noteworthy effort, this barn does well freshening their horses and preparing them for big efforts off of layoffs. It is worth noting she is a perfect two for two at Suffolk Downs.
MISS GRAY made an encouraging step in right direction last time out and looks like she is rounding into form after a slow start to the year. In 2018, she was the model of consistency and was routinely competitive against tougher competition. With another step forward, she should be a contender.
- BURN THE BOATS 2. MR. NOBODY 3. MULTIPLE
BURN THE BOATS is a fascinating horse trying turf for the first time and with only one start, this well bred colt has plenty of room to improve. He is out of a multiple graded stakes winning mare who is a half-sister to several other quality stakes horses. There is class every which way in this horse’s pedigree and turf influence on both sides. He is worth a look in the paddock.
- NOBODY has been the beaten favorite in his last two races but does still have some upside here. Unlike some of his rivals here who are untested on the turf at all, he has had several competitive efforts and has shown enough ability to warrant some consideration. Off of his last two races, he is tough to take at a very short price. MULTIPLE has not shown much from a handful of career starts do date but with only five races, his inexperience is appealing as he still has some room to improve. He is trying the turf for the first time and there is enough turf influence on both sides of his pedigree to think that might wake him up a bit and improve his performance.
- DR. BLARNEY 2. GRADY 3. GOODBYEGUINESSBOK
Fan favorite DR. BLARNEY returns to defend his title in the Rise Jim Stakes for the third consecutive year. This strapping chestnut, a homebred for Joe DiRico, is one of the best Massachusetts-bred horses in years and it has been a thrill watching him excel not only in the state-bred ranks but also against black type competition in the Mid Atlantic. He has only gotten better as he has gotten older.
GRADY is another horse that has been a lot of fun to watch over the years and he has put together a quality resume of his own. He is ultra consistent and should be coming into this race sharp after a good return effort in his nine year old debut last time out.
GOODBYEGUINESSBOK ran a dynamite race last time out against state-bred company and this veteran gelding is a talented runner. He does seem to run better at Finger Lakes than here at Suffolk but this is his preferred distance.
- PRINCESS DREAM 2. SAINT ANNA 3. JEB
This is a quality group of state-bred fillies and mares and there are some seriously accomplished veteran contenders as well as some rising state-bred stars.
PRINCESS DREAM is yet another in a long list of successful homebreds for Mrs. Patricia Moseley and this mare has been a lot of fun to watch mature and develop over the past several seasons. She has gotten more and more professional with experience and while she was no match for the lights out debut runner, Successful Saint, last time out, she likely needed a race and should be sharper here.
Tough to find fault with SAINT ANNA in any area beyond experience. She is the baby of the group in some ways with the lightest race record but she has shown plenty of ability and this will be a good test of where she fits in the ranks with more seasoned rivals.
JEB always deserves some respect – she is a hard-knocking mare that shows up and runs her race nearly every time. She is always a contender in these state-bred stakes races and should be a top contender.
- LIKEAGIRL 2. PRIDE OF WILKO 3. EYERISH INSPIRED
LIKEAGIRL has been in solid form this year at Laurel and most recently at Monmouth and seems to be a double threat sort of horse that can be competitive on both turf and dirt. She seems to have rounded into really solid form after an inconsistent season in 2018 and has proven she can be effective on the local turf course. This is a barn that has had a lot of success locally and elsewhere and she looks like a top contender. PRIDE OF WILKO has been on the shelf since September and if she is sharp enough off of the layoff she should fit well with this group. Unlike several rivals, she is a familiar face on this track and that experience may work to her advantage. EYERISH INSPIRED caught a tough field at Keeneland last time out and that race can likely be thrown out – she seems to be much better on turf or synthetics and should be able to return to what had been really solid form back on the lawn.
- JAIDEN’S BEST 2. ATTA KID 3. BLESSED AT MASS
JAIDEN’S BEST may have needed the race last time out and has some upside making his second start of the year and stretching back out to two turns. Though not the most consistent, he looks well spotted here and with a step forward he should be able to hold his own. He does have some tactical speed and figures to be a factor near the front end. ATTA KID is making his first start off of the claim and has one of the more consistent and competitive recent records of this field. He has a good turn of foot and his last three races have all been competitive performances. He looks like he is heading in the right direction and should have some pace to shoot at. BLESSED AT MASS seems like a horse knocking on the door of a breakthrough win. He has been extremely consistent against respectable fields at Tampa and ran a strong race last time out despite a rough trip. While likely a short price again, he figures to be the one to beat.
- LOYALTY SPIRIT 2. RAPO 3. BIBBO
LOYALTY SPIRIT is another one returning from the Bernardini barn winter vacation and had a very sharp front-running victory on the local turf last year. He had a light campaign last year and the question mark here is whether or not he can fire off of the bench. In his better efforts, he is on or near the lead so expect him to be heard from early. RAPO could be an interesting longshot to use in your exotics. His local form has been deceptively competitive and he should be able to make a step forward switching from dirt to turf here. Trainer John Kirby is a third-generation horseman from Massachusetts and has hit the board with about 25% of his starters since beginning his training career.
BIBBO has an interesting resume and has competed both on the flat and over fences. His effort sprinting on the lawn locally last year was competitive and this distance should suit him. He went five furlongs last time out and needed more real estate.
- KING OF NEW YORK 2. AIRE BUENO (CHI) 3. MIDNIGHT DANCE
KING OF NEW YORK returned to action off of a six month break last time out and while it was a dull comeback effort, he likely needed the race and should be sharper here. This jockey and trainer combination have been successful throughout the years and at these boutique weekends of racing and this gelding had an open length victory on the local turf last year. He got over this course really well and a return to that sort of effort will make him tough.
AIRE BUENO (CHI) was a minor stakes winner in the United States and was a graded stakes winner in his native Chile years ago. This classy veteran turned in a really good effort last time out and while his last win came in 2016, he has too much back class to overlook and seems to be heading in the right direction.
MIDNIGHT DANCE returned off of a layoff last time out and flashed some speed. He has some upside here for several reasons – he switches back to turf and has been more successful on the grass, particularly this local course, and should improve in his second start back in action. He is also stretching back to out to two turns and the race last time out serves as a good foundation for that.
- CREATIVE THUNDER 2.TWIN ENGINE 3. EL GRILLO
CREATIVE THUNDER seems like a logical top choice for a live barn and this veteran gelding has too much back class to overlook. He showed this year that at ten-years-old, he still has plenty of gas left in the tank and had three sharp races early in the year. He took a step backwards in his last start but should be able to rebound and return to form here.
TWIN ENGINE has a lot going for him here – he has a strong local record and looks like he is rounding into form. Last time out, he made a big step forward in his second start of the year and seems like he is heading in the right direction and poised for a big effort.
EL GRILLO has not been the most consistent but seems capable here with some modest improvement. He had a really strong season in 2018 with five victories and his tactical early speed should be more effective here.
- DIABLO’S DARLING 2. THE TWO NANCY’S 3. I DREAM OF LOIS
DIABLO’S DARLING is routinely overlooked and routinely runs a big race here at Suffolk Downs. Leave her off of your ticket at your own peril. She has run well off of similar layoffs in the past and while conditioning is always a question mark, especially as these mares get older, she loves this turf course and can hold her own at this level. While I am not convinced this is her ideal distance – she may want a little more ground – I think she still offers some value here.
THE TWO NANCY’S is a better horse than her last race may indicate and has been very effective and competitive on this turf course. In her better efforts, she is forwardly placed and should be a contender on or near the front end for live connections.
I DREAM OF LOIS was the extremely consistent in 2018 and while she has struggled to return to that sort of form so far this year, she is capable of making a step forward here and has run well on this course. The distance is interesting for her making her second start sprinting after primarily running in long races in her recent starts. She is capable in a sprint and this distance is well within her scope.
- ORDINARY LOVE 2. WAR CANOE 3. SHE’S RIGHT AGAIN
ORDINARY LOVE is making her first start since being claimed out of a winning effort at Tampa and looks to be coming into this race in good form. She had been keeping good company in Florida and that consistent, solid form should translate well against this field. She seems like a versatile, tactical sort of horse and should find herself right in the thick of things.
WAR CANOE has too much back class to overlook and as recently as last summer was competing in Grade 1 company. Though she was a little beyond her depth in that field, she has a competitive record and from two starts this year appears to be rounding into form after a freshening. Her last effort was sharp and with further progress she is a top contender.
SHE’S RIGHT AGAIN looks like a logical threat here and delivered as the favorite on this turf course last summer. Her form in Florida has been solid and her front running style should fit well here.
- FILLET OF SOLE 2. BAKU DANCER 3. BATTLE READY
FILLET OF SOLE is getting a big class break here and may be too much horse for this group. He had a sharp victory last time out at Aqueduct and that winning performance was flattered when both the runner-up and third place finisher came back to win. He has some back class and comes out for the very high percentage Jason Servis barn. He checks all the boxes here and looks like the one to beat.
BAKU DANCER is one of the more in form contenders in this field and seems like a logical top choice after a good runner-up effort last time out as the favorite. While likely a short price again, he has been in solid form against some respectable fields all year and that form, coupled with his live connections, make him tough to get past.
BATTLE READY caught a tough group last time out and should find this field more manageable. While he isn’t the most consistent, he is capable and could offer some value in this spot. He has sharp early speed and could post a front running threat.
- DRIVER’S LICENSE 2.AVOCADO 3. A LITTLE INFO
DRIVER’S LICENSE is an interesting longshot on pedigree alone. He has shown next to nothing on the racetrack so far but is switching to the turf for the first time and has the sort of pedigree that indicates he could really, really like the grass. In addition, he stretches out to two turns and seems more of a route type. These maiden races on the turf can be the spot to take a swing with a longshot.
AVOCADO was purchased for $250,000 as a juvenile and while she has not lived up to her six figure price tag so far, she did hint at some ability over the winter at Gulfstream. She has some sharp early speed and though her recent efforts have been flat, she may be too much horse at this reduced level.
A LITTLE INFO is trying turf for only the second time and her turf debut last fall was encouraging enough to make a case that she may move up on the surface switch. She ran well on the dirt last time out and is getting a little further class relief here.
- SUCCESSFUL SAINT 2. SYDNEY’S MAGIC 3. SHAMROCK’S RULE
SUCCESSFUL SAINT has an experience edge on his two rivals and this gelding could not have been more impressive in his career debut. He looks like a really talented state-bred who will be worth keeping an eye on as he continues to mature and develop.
SYDNEY’S MAGIC has a lovely female family and is a half sister to several competitive horses. It is interesting to see some new stallions represented in Massachusetts-bred horses and this filly has been training steadily for her career debut.
SHAMROCK’S RULE is one of two horses in this race carrying on the legacy left by George Brown on the local breeding industry. She is a half sibling to a multiple winner and is by a stakes winning son of Malibu Moon.
- DESERT WONDER 2. JC INDY 3. SAINT ALFRED
DESERT WONDER turned in a great effort last time out to win by a nose in a thrilling stretch battle. He is stretching out to a mile after primarily sprinting but physically and with his pedigree, he is a horse who should actually improve around two turns. He was bred by the late George Brown, for whom this race is named, alongside his wife Arlene.
JC INDY is a half sibling to Successful Saint and it is always noteworthy when siblings are competing on the same card. Now seven years old, this gelding was slow to develop but has really matured into a competitive, consistent sort of racehorse. He is making his second start of the year and should appreciate the stretch out to a mile.
SAINT ALFRED is much more effective around two turns and has put together a solid, consistent resume. He is a multi-generational homebred for Joe DiRico and his second dam, Dr. Margaret, was an exceptional Mass-bred racehorse and an even better producer.
Jessica M. Paquette
VP – Marketing
Cell – (978) 606-6059