Thanksgiving Weekend Stakes RECAP – Clark, Matriarch, KJC! – Super Screener
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Thanksgiving Weekend Stakes RECAP – Clark, Matriarch, KJC!

Photo By: Chris Crestik/Eclipse Sportswire

Mrs Revere (G2)

With less than a furlong to go, we were looking really good in this race. We needed either New and Improved or The Mackem Bullet to hit the Exacta as all other contenders were well covered. Mackem Bullet tried to do her part but came up just a bit short, finishing third. The “other” Chad Brown filly, Nay Lady Nay jumped up for the win, improving in a giant leap over her last race. Dalika, the Super Screener Top Value horse, did finish 2nd after getting to the lead in mid-stretch and showed she can come from off the pace, which will now make her a great danger in races to come.

Clark (G1)

The Super Screener Top Win and Top Long Shot pick, Mr Freeze, who went off at surprisingly long odds of 15-1, did all the dirty work up front dueling with two other rivals (that ended up finishing last and 2nd to last) but he managed to stay on for a solid third-place finish. In the end, the odds-on favorite chalk and the Super Screener Top Board Hitter pick, Tom’s d’Etat, was just too good on this day, drawing away for the victory and benefiting from a perfect trip. Nice to see Owendale come back into form. Unlike most years when you want to avoid horses making their first start since a Breeders’ Cup effort, horses that ran on that tiring Santa Anita surface may spring back to prior good form when running on their home tracks in the Midwest, South and East.

Seabiscuit (G2)

The usually off-again, rarely on- again, Next Shares, was ‘on-again’ scooting up the rail to deny our Top Win pick, Sacred Life, the victory on the good turf course. The real disappointment here was Prince Earl, who had all the makings of a prime contender but failed to fire. Going to file away the note that this horse needs very firm going for his best. With nearly all of the speed falling back in this race, River Boyne showed his quality by contesting the pace and then holding on gamely missing second place by just a head.

Kentucky Jockey Club (G2)

Difficult to draw any predictive conclusions from this very early Kentucky Derby prep race as the track surface came up a mess with a ton of driving rain preceding this year’s renewal. It was a blanket finish in the end with Silver Prospector getting the best of the rest. We underestimated that colt’s abilities but perhaps he was aided by the sloppy going. What we did get right is isolating Finnick the Fierce as the Top Long Shot pick in the race and he obliged with a 2nd place finish at mind-boggling odds of 87-1.

#6 Finnick the Fierce was the victim of a very poor trip in his 2nd career race. Horses on each side of him came together after the gates opened and this required the jock to take hold of his mount but he lost at least 4 lengths in the process. His stretch run was hampered a bit but once free, he really ran on well to and through the wire. With a clean break, will press the pace here in the clear. Only question will be how he makes the transition to a two-turn route while facing tougher, but, at what will be more than generous odds, the risk/reward value proposition will be quite favorable.

We also faded on the odds-on favorite, Tiz the Law, picking him third in the race, which is where he finished. #1 Enforceable got into gear late after trailing throughout and was flying down the stretch to easily grab 4th place. It will be interesting to see how these horses run back on a fast track which will give us better insight into whether or not they belong on the Kentucky Derby trail.

Hollywood Derby (G1)

Not sure what John Velasquez was waiting for with the Super Screener Top Value, Top Board Hitter, Top Win pick, Standard Deviation, with his charge still sitting 10th with just 2 furlongs to go, but he clearly underestimated the modest pace that allowed front runners, Mo Forza and Neptune’s Storm to hold onto the Exacta finishes. No question Chad Brown’s charges, Standard Deviation and Digital Age, were the swiftest movers late, flashing their strong turn-of-foot… but it was just too late. We got out of the race with the “saver” Trifecta ticket cashing and validated the strategy of backing up your top win pick in 3rd in these turf races featuring large fields.

Hollywood Turf Cup (G2)

We covered the possibility of Oscar Dominguez (4th ranked horse) winning this race with United finishing second in both a suggested Trifecta ticket and a Superfecta ticket. But #1 Ward ‘n Jerry edged a Super Screener Top Pick, Cleopatra’s Strike, for third place in a race that featured all the early runners backing up, allowing the Superfecta to be comprised of all closers.

Matriarch (G1)

In the closing race of the weekend, everything went according to plan. The two “A” horses completed the Exacta and Toinette missed the Trifecta as we tabbed her a Vulnerable Favorite in this race… preferring both Juliet Foxtrot and Significant Form for the bottom of the Trifecta. One trip note… I was actually standing right at the gate for this race and when the horses took off, Daddy Is a Legend got clobbered twice from her left by the eventual last place finisher Painting Corners and once from her right by Giza Goddess which resulted in getting shuffled back to last in the early going with too much ground to make up. She was really the best horse in the end.  On a side note, I am glad there were no children standing by me as Manuel Franco had a few choice words for Paco Lopez following the clobbering! 

Another huge weekend of racing coming up with a couple of Kentucky Derby preps including the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) and the Remsen (G2) on tap with the featured Stakes race of the weekend being the G1 Cigar Mile

Also, the Claiming Crown will be run at Gulfstream Park this Saturday and that means there will be plenty of large, contentious fields to chose from to add more “big score” playing potential to our day. 

Until next weekend, go fast and win!
Mike Shutty

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