Gotham Stakes (G3) Cheat Sheet

Track: Aqueduct

Purse: $300,000

Distance: One Mile

Points: 50-20-10-5 to first four finishers

With all the speed horses in this race, the closer Haikal could get the perfect setup to pull a major upset.  Instagrand is good and he could just as well be much faster than the other runners, but he will face a lot of pace challenge and has a lot of things going against him like shipping, the distance and his layoff.  Much Better can sit off the pace and be successful, and with Baffert and Smith teaming up I would not count this horse out.  Mind Control hasn’t been getting as much attention, but this is his home track and it is his ideal distance.

1 – Family Biz (30/1)

  • Fed Biz – I’mclassyandsassy by Master Command
  • Edward Barker / Kendrick Carmouche
  • Running style: closer
  • 7-1-2-2
  • 3rd by 5 ½ lengths in 1-mile Jerome
  • Most recently 4th by 4 ½ lengths in 7 furlong Jimmy Winkfield
    • Facing several of the same challengers again
  • Would need very fast pace to be a major factor
  • Faces major class challenge

2 – Knicks Go (12/1)

  • Paynter – Kosmo’s Buddy by Outflanker
  • Ben Colebrook / Jose Lezcano
  • Press the pace
  • 7-2-1-1
    • Great juvenile season winning G1 Breeders’ Futurity by 5 ½ and 2nd in BC Juvenile
  • Looks to be going downhill since his juvenile season
    • 11th by 18 ¾ lengths as favorite in G2 KY Jockey Club in slop
    • 5th by 13 lengths as favorite in G3 Sam F. Davis
  • Cutting back in distance, but will have a lot of pace challengers to deal with
  • Needs big time rebound to prove he can still compete at this high level

3 – Mind Control (9/2)

  • Stay Thirsty – Feel That Fire by Lightning N Thunder
  • Gregory Sacco / John Velazquez
  • Pacesetter / press the pace
  • 5-3-1-0
  • Won 1-mile Jerome at Aqueduct by 1 ½ lengths in 3yo debut
    • Same conditions as this race
      • Mile seems like his best distance
    • Tougher field than he has faced with a lot of early speed to battle
    • Two year old season: Won G1 Hopeful in 3rd start before troubled trip led to 7th in G1 BC Juvenile
    • Contender

4 – Much Better (10/1)

  • Pioneerof the Nile – Dust and Diamonds by Vindication
  • Bob Baffert / Mike Smith
    • Duo rarely defeated together in NY and Baffert rarely send horses to NY to lose
  • Pacesetter / press the pace
  • 5-2-1-1
  • Stakes placed on turf, but looks to prefer dirt
    • Debut winner on dirt as a 2 year old at Del Mar
    • Never outside of the money on dirt
    • 3rd in the Sham (G3) after being near the hot pace
  • Recently front running 3 ½ length winner of allowance sprint at Santa Anita
    • 2-for-2 sprinting and 0-for-3 going long
  • Can perform well sitting off the pace, so if he does that he can hit the board

5 – Haikal (6/1)

  • Daheer – Sablah by Distorted Humor
  • Kiaran McLaughlin / Rajiv Maragh
  • Closer
  • 3-2-1-0
  • Won or lost by a neck in all three races
    • Broke maiden before winning the Jimmy Winkfield in last start
    • All starts have been at Aqueduct
  • Stepping up in class while stretching out to a mile for the first time
  • Projected speed in this race will set up his strong closing move, making him a live longshot

6 – Instagrand (1/1)

  • Into Mischief – Asset of War by Lawyer Ron
  • Jerry Hollendorfer / Javier Castellano
  • Pacesetter
  • 2-2-0-0
    • Undefeated
  • $1.2 million 2yo purchase won 2 sprint races by combined 20 ¼ lengths including G2 Best Pal
  • First start since August, going past 6 furlongs, and shipping outside California
    • Distance wise this race is good move to test his distance ability, but will be facing several other horses who prefer to run near the lead
      • Might just be faster than challengers given what we saw last year
    • Has had several solid workouts leading up to this and is the top choice, but not worth the price

7 – Not That Brady (5/1)

  • Big Brown – Lisa’s Booby Trap by Drewman
  • Rudy Rodriguez / Reylu Gutierrez
  • Pacesetter
  • 6-2-2-0
  • 3 length winner of Damon Runyon Stakes for NY breds before 2nd by head to Tax in G3 Withers
    • Cutting back in distance here
  • Had uncontested pace in last 4 starts, but he will not get that here
  • Needs to take step forward to win this against improved competition, but drawing outside of the other speed horses will help him
  • Has dealt with a quarter crack between races

8 – Tikhvin Flew (12/1)

  • Street Sense – Chatique by Deputy Minister
  • Steve Asmussen / Dylan Davis
  • Press the pace
  • 2-1-0-1
  • 1 ¾ length winner in debut before 3rd in Jimmy Winkfield by 2 lengths with both at Aqueduct
    • Home track advantage
  • Lackluster performance against NY-breds in last start
    • This will be first time running against open company
  • Has talent, but faces major class jump and this race seems like a tough test for him

Tampa Bay Derby (G2) Cheat Sheet

Track: Tampa Bay Downs

Purse: $400,000

Distance: 1 1/16 miles

Points: 50-20-10-5 to top 4 finishers

At Tampa Bay this meet – pacesetters and pressers have won 66% of race, mid-pack runners 20%, and closers 14%.

Well Defined got an easy wire to wire win in the Sam F Davis, but I’m not sure how he will handle Zenden challenging him.  Win Win Win has won from both the front end and the back so the pace won’t be the issue, but I have a hard time going with a horse when they choose a big stakes race to attempt two turns for the first time.  Given how he dominated in such an easy fashion last time out, I’m tempted to go with Dream Maker over the other two favorites.

1 – Admire (12/1)

  • Pedigree: Cairo Prince – Visavis by Indian Charlie
  • Trainer: Dale Romans / Jockey: Robby Albarado
  • Running style: Mid-pack runner
  • Race Record: 3:1-0-0
  • Cutting back 1/16th of a mile to try and rebound from 5th in Withers (G3) at Aqueduct
    • Raced wide and didn’t have anything left at the end, so inside post will help
  • Nice workouts so might have an improved effort, but don’t think its enough to win

2 – Sir Winston (12/1)

  • Awesome Again – La Gran Bailadora by Afleet Alex
  • Mark Casse / Julian Leparoux
  • Stalker
  • 6:2-0-1
  • Looks to prefer the synthetic at Woodbine over dirt – hit the board in all 3 starts there
    • Won the Display S. at 1 1/16 miles
  • Finished 4th in Withers (G3) in last start

3 – Lord Dragon (30/1)

  • Oxbow – Broken Spell by Broken Vow
  • Jordan Blair / Jose Bracho
  • Closer
  • 6:1-2-1
  • Has improved in past two starts at this track and broke his maiden in 6th attempt last time out
  • Toughest field he faced was in 1 1/16th mile Keeneland maiden where he finished 10th
  • Big jump in class for him and I think its more than he will be able to handle

4 – Dream Maker (4/1)

  • Tapit – To Dream About by Monarchos
  • Mark Casse / Florent Geroux
  • Stalker
  • 4:2-0-0
  • Won two-turn Fair Grounds optional claimer by 8 ½ under hand ride in first start after a layoff
    • Horse he beat, Courtyard, came back to win allowance – him and 2nd place finisher were 13 ¾ lengths ahead of third place
  • Looks to be getting better at the right time and should improve in second start off layoff
  • Win contender

5 – Well Defined (7/2)

  • With Distinction – Fru Fru by Medaglia d’Oro
  • Kathleen O’Connell / Pablo Morales
  • Pacesetter
  • 7:3-1-1
  • Homecourt advantage – won Sam F. Davis (G3)
    • Given he didn’t do well in previous races against non-stake breds this win was a surprise
  • Will have more pace pressure here
  • As a 2 year old won the Florida Sire In Reality Stakes by 7 ½
  • Win contender

6 – Outshine (8/1)

  • Malibu Moon – Life Lesson by Unbridled’s Song
  • Todd Pletcher / Joel Rosario
  • Mid-pack runner
  • 3:2-0-0
  • 2 length winner of Gulfstream allowance optional claimer after being 4 wide in turn
    • First start after 8 month layoff, so should improve in this start
  • Needs a big improvement, but don’t underestimate Pletcher in this race
  • Could hit the board

7 – Win Win Win (5/2)

  • Hat Trick (JPN) – Miss Smarty Pants by Smarty Jones
  • Michael Trombetta / Irad Ortiz, Jr.
  • Closer
  • 4:3-1-0
  • Set Tampa Bay track record with 7 ¼ length Pasco S. win and only career loss was by 1 ½ lengths
  • Will be first two turn start against toughest competition he has faced
  • Win contender

8 – The Right Path (15/1)

  • Quality Road – Always Trouble by Bernardini
  • Jorge Duarte, Jr. / Joe Bravo
  • Press the pace
  • 2:1-1-0
  • Won debut at Aqueduct in November and was 2nd in optional claimer at Gulfstream last month
    • Elevated from 3rd to 2nd after a disqualification
  • This will be his first time around 2 turns
  • Others in the field I like better at high prices

9 – Dunph (20/1)

  • Temple City – Skymynx by Sky Mesa
  • Mike Maker / Daniel Centeno
  • Stalker
  • 5:2-0-1
  • Won Spendthrift Juvenile Stallion S. by 7 ¾ lengths in October
    • Since then: 2nd in Springboard Mile, 9th in KY Jockey Club (G2) on sloppy track, and faded to 11th in Risen Star (G2)
      • Needs to prove he is still at the same level as his big win
    • Carrying 123lbs will not help him

10 – Tacitus (12/1)

  • Tapit – Close Hatches by First Defense
  • Bill Mott / Jose Ortiz
  • Mid-pack runner
  • 2:1-0-0
  • First race since November when he won 1 mile maiden at Aqueduct by a neck
    • Finished 4th in debut at Belmont against good competition like Kentucky Wildcat
  • Unproven at this level, but has some of best connections in field
  • Has been working well, but might need this race from a fitness standpoint

11 – Zenden (8/1)

  • Fed Biz – You Laughin by Sharp Humor
  • Victor Barboza, Jr. / Samy Camacho
  • Pacesetter / press the pace
  • 3:2-1-0
  • Has done little wrong with his career
    • Won first two starts sprinting at Gulfstream, including Buffalo Man Stakes
    • 2nd to sprinter Call Paul in Swale (G3)
  • Will be first race around 2 turns against tougher competition
    • Tough task from this post