Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic Horses Guide 2022

The highlight on the Matt Winn TC come Saturday will be the always great Grade 1 Turf Classic! What a history, and this edition will be no exception. See who comes to play on the grass, below ...
The highlight on the Matt Winn TC come Saturday will be the always great Grade 1 Turf Classic! What a history, and this edition will be no exception. See who comes to play on the grass, below ...

Race 11: 1 1/8th (Turf) Turf Classic (G1), Purse $1 Million, 4+ (Saturday)

The $1 Million Turf Classic is the signature race on Saturday’s Kentucky Derby undercard. Over the years, this contest has brought together some of the very best turf distance routers, as they battle for supremacy on Matt Winn’s new lawn. Looking over some of the older horses that have found the winner’s circle, you discover some names of some of the best in the business. These include . . . English Channel, Einstein (BRZ) 2x, Get Storm, Little Mike, Wise Dan 2x, Finnegans Wake, Divisidero 2x, Yoshida (JPN), Bricks and Mortar, and Digital Age. Last year, we had an epic contest with Todd Pletcher’s Colonel Liam and Chad Brown’s Domestic Spending. It was a “Dead Heat,” and that made history. Remember, those that wear the crown are destined to be in quite a pantheon. A Turf Classic win dictates as such …

Now, let’s find out about this field…


#1 Ivar (Jky: J. Talamo/Trn: P. Lobo):

An alum from last year’s TC (G1), this Paulo Lobo runner has yet to eclipse his performance in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) at Keeneland in 2020. Since then, this son of Agnes Gold (JPN) has competed against some of the major players in the “miler” division. I should think that he still has ability, since his finishes continue to be solid. However, the distance on the Matt Winn is the question when it comes to this one. Joe T. … his riding ability on the grass is also highly circumspect.

Grade: C+


#2 Bizzee Channel (Jky: G. Corrales/Trn: L. Rivelli):

Patricia’s Hope LLC owns this turfer that is trained by the transient Larry Rivelli. The conditioner, like the other horsemen, were driven out of Arlington International Racecourse when it was sold by CDI. This gelding by English Channel was strong in the Arlington (G3), but he missed in what was the last Arlington Million (G1). With Gerardo Corrales in the irons for 3rd time in-a-row, he is going to be a massive price. Hard to see this one hitting-the-board against a field like this one.    

Grade: C


#3 Public Sector (GB) (Jky: I. Ortiz/Trn: C. Brown):

The power of Chad Brown lords over this race once again (he has 3 entries this time around), and he has an ace of a turf router that can win this race. I am not sure that this well-bred son of Kingman (GB) will be 5/1 on the M/L when post time comes around. Irad Ortiz has the ability to make a turf racer better, and he took over for Flavien Prat back at Saratoga. The only question is, can he come from the layoff, and win this celebrated Grade 1? Klaravich Stables expects their investments to skyrocket … it will happen, I am sure … my bet.

Grade: A-


#4 Tribhuvan (FR) (Jky: M. Franco/Trn: C. Brown):

One of the “other” Browns … this one was last seen at Del Mar in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) against the excellent Charlie Appleby runner, Yibir (GB). His effort was not exactly what Brown probably expected. Looking over his form, this gelding by Toronado (IRE) has some “good” performances at Belmont and down at Monmouth. Jockey Manny Franco is taking over the riding duties this time around, and it is going to take a major effort.  

Grade: B-


#5 Mira Mission (Jky: J. Leparoux/Trn: I. Wilkes):

A budding star for Ian Wilkes is this gelding by the excellent Noble Mission (GB). Right now, he is 3rd in the form cycle, and looking to build on a 5th Place finish in the Maker’s Mark Mile (G1). That might seem strange … but recall, he was 24/1 in that race. Even though the line tells the story of “lacking a kick,” I still think it was character building moment. Wilkes has a nice stable, and once again, he and Julien Leparoux get together to try and get this one home. This is a wise guy horse …

Grade: B+


#6 Shirl’s Speight (Jky: L. Saez/Trn: R. Attfield):

Trainer Roger Attfield has a long history of competing at the highest levels of racing in North America. Coming into the Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) at Keeneland, Attfield’s horse by Speightstown was not thought to be a sure winner, whatsoever. With Luis Saez aboard and at 9/1, the team rallied home, winning a thriller by a nose. Now, they are looking for more “graded” glory, and Charles Fipke is hoping for another “signature” score. It might not happen … the distance test will be the toughest yet.

Grade: B-


#7 Cavalry Charge (Jky: B. Hernandez/Trn: D. Stewart):

West Point Thoroughbreds and Terry Finley are looking to expand on their success with this Dallas Stewart-trainee … A gelding by Honor Code, he was 3rd last time out in the Muniz Memorial (G2) against the front-running Two Emmys. Brian Hernandez has deep experience aboard this runner, and let’s face it, Stewart has the ability to strike when you least expect it. The Fair Grounds (G3) is a case in point … That was a “loose on the lead” type of go that saw him winning at 35/1. If this runner can compete outside of the Fair Grounds, then it will be quite surprising …

Grade: C+


#8 Adhamo (IRE) (Jky: F. Prat/Trn: C. Brown):

The last of the Brown trio is this one owned by Madaket and Michael Dubb that made his debut in the Fair Grounds (G3) back in February. Since then, he has worked well, and now Flavien Prat gets the call. The former French runner has stellar lines, and should be tough in this spot. His late turn-of foot is powerful, and should be a tough one to match. Is there a chance that Brown could go 1-2? Sure … My preference is for Public Sector #3.

Grade: B+


#9 Kentucky Ghost (Jky: R. Bejarano/Trn: V. Oliver):

This Vicky Oliver runner is double entered in this race, and in the Opening Verse Overnight Stakes on Thurby. A major step-up in class, Oliver might be smart to keep him entered in the latter, instead of keeping him in this tough G1. There is no question that he has solid turf experience, but the class leap is going to be very difficult. I like Rafael Bejarano in spots like these because he still has the magic. Long shot … long shot, at best … large price too …

Grade: C+


#10 Santin (Jky: T. Gaffalione/Trn: B. Walsh):

Here is a Godolphin homebred, trained by Brendan Walsh that just missed in the Muniz Memorial (G2) at the Fair Grounds. Two Emmys won the day, but it was still a strong “try” by this colt by Distorted Humor. The one drawback was his price in that race … 2/1 … is that concerning that he failed at such a low price? Maybe the “Blinkers” will assist, and you cannot disparage the turf riding ability of Tyler Gaffalione. Might be a candidate for the “minors.”

Grade: B-


It’s Derby Week! Join us for all of our analysis and selections for the big races! Should be great fun as we count down to the 148th edition of the Kentucky Derby! Be sure to follow us on Twitter … Horseracing_USA !!!

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