Always fun to handicap a race type you don’t see that often. Here are some key points on the Jerkens, named for a great horseman:
- We’ve got a 2-mile route on the Gulfstream Park turf course. Yes, I typed that right — 2 miles…a full 1/4 of a mile longer than the Marathon and the distance of the Belmont Gold Cup. We’re looking for a horse with stamina — and an easy lead could be carried a long way. All the horses in the field except 2 are turf horses. The horses are El Kurdo and Infobedad. Heavy stamina tests are much more common on turf. And 2 miles is quite a stamina test. We really don’t know who is going to be able to do it, but we can use clues to help us get there (have they done it before?).
- The race is relatively new, so it’s not graded, even though it was a purse of 100K. I’d treat it as a GIII — it drew a decent field.
- The real test is the distance and trying to project the speed. Infinite Wisdom has dominated a 1 5/8 miles on the lead, although he’s recently been off form after that performance. He should enjoy the extra ground with the right trip.
- Bullards Alley is coming out of the G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf, where he earned a great speed figure. He’ll be the favorite as he brings his high turf speed. He ran great in the 2-mile Belmont Turf Cup. Showed great stamina in that race, and has to be the favorite here.
- El Kurdo comes from Ecuador, where he’s been a consistent winner. But he was a bit slow on his state-side debut…enough so, that I’m going to pass on him on the turf try.
- Infobedad is the only American dirt horse with distance experience. His last race was a 2nd in the GII Marathon. But he’s going dirt-to-turf and hasn’t exactly been interchangeable in the past. Still, he has the distance pedigree for this — certainly worth a look if he floats over 8-1.
Lots of turf horses in a quality field. If you are an expert at estimating distance, this is a race for you. For me, I’m going to stay away from the heavy favorite in Bullards Alley, and bank on Infinite Wisdom getting the lead and taking them all the way around. Hoping for 9/2 or better.
Good luck at the races!