We are back to routing this week as a large field of eleven goes forward in the Sleepy Hollow Stakes, a 1-mile NY-bred stakes for $250K. 1 mile on the main track at Belmont is a one-turn race. Every year, there are NY-breds in the Kentucky Derby and many more on the Derby trail. Let’s take a look at the field:
- Stoney Bennett: He had a very strong maiden win at 6f, taking command at the start and he’s the fastest in the field. He is trained by Ollie Figgins and is stabled down in Laurel. It is difficult to go from a maiden to stake. One to watch, but that’s about it.
- Battle Station: Two nice wins, including a 9 1/4 length win at 7 furlongs. Trained by Wesley Ward at Keeneland. A serious contender.
- Big Gemmy: Middle of the pack in the G3 Iroquois, he may appreciate the drop in turns and distance. Another contender, if he runs back to his maiden, which is very possible with the drop. Gets a second go at the longer distance, something no one else has. THE PICK.
- Engineers Report: A slow maiden winner and in the slop at that. Cut him from top spot consideration.
- Mr. Pete: Stakes winner at the Finger Lakes (never impresses me). Overall, a bit slow, even though he brings experience. Underneath players may want to take a deeper look.
- Bourbonfuhrme: A turf maiden winner — he seems terribly overmatched, even if he takes to the surface.
- Inalienable Rights: A poor showing as the favorite last time out as he was whooped by Battle Station. Still, he has 2 good showings and, if you’re willing to throw out the last, there’s your value. Blinkers on, which hasn’t been exactly a strong move for his trainer, Mark Henning.
- We Should Talk: Another fast maiden winner — coming from off the pace — and Sagamore and DePaz have been successful. Almost everything that applies to Stoney Bennett applies here, but the rating of the horse bumps this guy up a decent amount.
- Lover’s Leap: Broke his maiden at Finger Lakes and was competitive in stakes there. Irad Ortiz catches the eye on a horse with 4 sprints that now stretches out. But, he’d likely have to improve significantly to bring about a win.
- Analyze the Odds: Another first stretchout on dirt (Only Big Gemmy has a dirt router) in the field.Some competitive runs at Saratoga and a Finger Lakes win. Will need to really enjoy the extra ground to be there at the finish.
- Evaluator: The best turf horse in the field. A strong maiden win and then unimpressive runs in two G3 turf sakes. Likely in shape, but he’ll have to take to the dirt.
The Pick: BIG GEMMY (8-1)
Image: Daniel Mennerich, 2011