US Racing - Preview of Saturday's Graded Racing
A touch of after the Lord Mayor’s Show today the riches of last weekend’s Breeders’ Cup. We have just three races to preview, 2 from Aqueduct and one from Churchill Downs.
We start with the Red Smith Handicap, a grade 3 event for three year olds and above over a mile and three eighths of the turf track. 12 runners face the starter for this $200,000 race with Wake Forest the 8/5 Morning Line favorite. It’s not surprising he is favoured given that he has winning grade 1 form at this trip (Man o’ War) as well as plenty of placed form at this level. On the negative side, this form has been taken into account by the handicapper, with Wake Forest having to give 3 or more pounds to all his opponents.
Of the opposition, Messi would have a good chance if you can ignore his last run on firm turf but I like the look of Bigger Picture, who has been running consistently well of late, is a course winner and will appreciate the likely strong pace.
The second grade 3 on the Aqueduct card is the Discovery Stakes for three year olds over a mile and an eighth of the dirt track. 11 have been entered for this, the last stakes race of the year where 3 year olds race against their own age.
Gift Box is 3/1 Morning Line favourite on the strength of his 4th to Arrogate in the Travers. Gift Box was beaten a long way but Arrogate has advertised the form in no uncertain terms with his fantastic win in the $6m Breeders’ Cup Classic. Gift Box has had a long lay-off since the Travers but if fully fit for this must have a great chance. If not fully wound up, then Adulator is interesting. He is improving with each race and this return to a two-turn race looks ideal.
We have more turf action to look at for the final graded race of the day, Churchill Down’s Commonwealth Turf Stakes for three year olds over a mile and a sixteenth.
One Mean Man is 3/1 ML favourite in what looks an open grade 3 race. He has won three stakes races this year including at this grade in the American Derby. Sir Dudley Digges is interesting as he steps up to open-class having made hay in restricted company but I like the look of Blackout, who looks open to plenty of improvement after posting a Beyer of 92 when winning an allowance race at Belmont.