Can the four year old Touchuponastar take his amazing streak to seven wins from his last seven starts and bag his first graded stakes victory in the Steve Sexton Mile Stakes?
Steve Sexton Mile Stakes
Grade 3 – Purse $400,000 – 1 Mile – Dirt – 3-Year-Olds and Up
We have to start with the prolific winner Touchuponastar 3/1 who is going for his seventh straight win and his seventh in nine starts. Both other runs have seen him hit the board.
His biggest win came last time when winning the EVD Classic by more than 9 lengths, and in the process, he posted a 102 Beyer Speed figure. He has one way of running and that is to go gate to wire. Normally that would not be an issue but today he has a very wide gate post and there are others on his inside, including Frosted Grace 6/1 and Allege 20/1 (himself going for his seventh straight win) who like to be on the speed, so it won’t be plain sailing for the chalk, and this is a step up the class ladder.
Frosted Grace is running well himself, and produced a strong 99 Beyer Speed figure two back when winning a $62k Optional Claimer and has since finished second in a minor stakes race at Oaklawn Park earlier this month. He is a seven-year-old now but has hit the board in 28 of his 40 races and should give the chalk plenty to think about.
Silver Prospector 4/1 is another veteran and he is very consistent in this spot. He finds it tough to win in this grade but invariably runs well and could be one for exotics players. He won a $75k Optional Claimer three back so we know he is in form. It just remains to be seen if he can outrun the younger Touchuponastar. He’ll be stalking the pace and aiming to strike late.
The one that is likely to give the chalk the most to do is Endorsed 7/2. He was beaten easily enough last time against the top-class Cody’s Wish but had won his previous three races, including in this spot, and the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Mile two starts back. He has plenty of back class and the class drop gives plenty of upside.
Looking for a longshot to play in the exotics, and the one that could go well is Holden The Lute 12/1 who was beaten in this spot last time but had hit the board in his previous seven. He’ll enjoy stretching back out here and could be one for across-the-board players.
Steve Sexton Mile Stakes Odds & Betting Pick
|Horse||Jockey||Odds by Jazzsports|
|McLaren Vale||Ricardo Santana, Jr||+3000|
|Mine That Star||Leandro D. Goncalves||+2000|
|Holden the Lute||Luis A. Fuentes||+1200|
|Frosted Grace||Cristian A. Torres||+600|
|Silver Prospector||Stewart Elliott||+400|
|Logical Myth||Iram Vargas Diego||+2000|
Touchuponastar is aiming to make it to seventh heaven for his connections and it will be a brave handicapper that goes against him. However, he might not get on the speed and may have to settle for a share underneath.
The selection is ENDORSED who has by far the best form of any of these and this race should set up nicely for him to close late.
Silver Prospector and Holden The Lute should put up strong efforts to secure a slice underneath.
Stakes – Purse $300,000 – 1 1/16th Miles – Dirt– 3-Year-Olds
Can Harlocap get back into the winners circle taking a huge drop down the class ladder, or will the up and coming Black Powder notch the hat-trick for the Steve Asmussen barn?
A fascinating race with some proven graded stakes performers dropping down the class ladder, and some lightly raced individuals looking to build already tall reputations, none more so than the Steve Asmussen trained Black Powder 7/2 who has a perfect 2 for 2 so far.
He broke the maiden tag at Oaklawn in a $90k maiden special weight back in March and then stretched out to today’s distance earlier this month, again at Oaklawn where he met winners for the first time and ran out a decisive winner of a $100k OC.
The only downside is the wide gate position as he likes to be on the speed but he’ll track across and try to beat Ghost Hero 10/1 into the clubhouse turn and will attempt to go gate to wire.
Another of his rivals that is lightly raced is Eyeing Clover 3/1 from the Brad Cox barn and he is already three from four with the race he was beaten in being the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct. He was fourth beaten just over nine lengths. He is another who likes to show early speed but will do well to clear Black Powder to his immediate left in post nine.
We mentioned Harlocap 10/1 in our headline and he is posted out in the car park in gate 11 but his form reads well if you discount his last two runs where he was clearly outclassed. He broke the maiden tag at the third attempt at Santa Anita and has since contested the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes and the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, in which both times he finished behind Angel Of Empire, who himself is now a strong fancy for the Belmont Stakes next month. He will definitely enjoy the class drop.
There is lots of speed here and that may set it up for a closer, and two that match the profile are Curly Jack 4/1 and Hayes Strike 9/2.
Curly Jack has been running at a much higher level in recent starts and has been coming up against some of America’s very best three year olds, so this class dropper should have an ideal race set up. He is slowly away from the gates but could get a nice stalking mid pack position and pounce late if they go too quick up front.
Hayes Strike has finished in behind Curly Jack on a couple of occasions but should not be underestimated.
It’s difficult to see any of the longshots getting involved, but one with a chance of grabbing a slice is Single Ruler 10/1. He was well beaten last time but ran a fantastic race in the Grade 2 Risen Star when closing late for fifth and beaten just over five lengths. The pace set up here means he might be able to deep close for a slice.
Texas Derby Odds & Betting Prediction
|Horse||Jockey||Odds by Jazzsports|
|Rarified Flair||Leandro D. Goncalves||+2000|
|Curly Jack||Edgar Morales||+400|
|Ghost Hero||Floyd Wethey Jr||+1000|
|Caballo Feliz||Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez||+5000|
|How Did He Do That||Isaac Castillo||+2000|
|Hayes Strike||Cristian A. Torres||+450|
|Single Ruler||David Cohen||+1000|
|Black Powder||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||+350|
|Eyeing Clover||Tyler Gaffalione||+300|
From a betting perspective, it’s a tough race with both Black Powder and Eyeing Clover having clear chances. Of the two, Eyeing Clover might be the one to come out on top.
But a slightly bigger price, then CURLY JACK is the choice. He has a great post position, should be able to get a nice stalking position and can close down the leaders close to the wire.
Single Ruler and Harlocap should not be taken lightly and can be fighting for a spot on the board.
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