Pat Day Mile Preview: Joe Frazier an interesting 12-1 shot

Florent Gerous might be piloting a long-priced contender in Joe Frazier
Florent Gerous might be piloting a long-priced contender in Joe Frazier

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1 Mile (Dirt) Pat Day Mile Stakes (G2), Purse $500k, 3

Formerly known as the Derby Trail Stakes, the renamed Grade II Pat Day Mile represents an important fallback position for 3-yr-olds who were just not swift enough during “Prep Season.” This is a 1-turn mile, which provides an interesting twist. Redemption can be sweet, since many of the winners that come out of this race go on to further their careers in other major “Graded” Co. races. Some of the recent winners include last year’s miler, an excellent horse named Rushie. Day was a jockey, but not just any ordinary one. His splendid record, and the character that he exhibited made him one of the best in the sport. Who will etch their name below his in 2021?  

Now, let’s find out about this field… 

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#1 Three Two Zone (Jky: K. Carmouche/Trn: M. Montoya): 

Here is an accomplished Northeast runner who comes to Churchill for the first time. The Montoya Barn doesn’t get out to these types of events all that often, so this is quite a coup to be drawn in here. The colt they are entering, by Street Sense, has some quality wins under him at Aqueduct. Still, it is going to take more than Kendrick Carmouche to ratchet this one up the class ladder. Too much to do on the stretch out to a mile . . . 

Grade: C

 

#2 Ultimate Badger (Jky: J. Talamo/Trn: D. Romans): 

Here is probably one of Dale Romans’ strongest avengers out of his barn. That is not saying much because his stable seems pretty dilapidated these days. This son of Commissioner had a nice Chruchill moment last fall in an OC75 event which he won for his connections. Most of his other efforts were pretty pedestrian, except for his last race at Gulfstream Park—the Hutcheson 75k. That 2nd place score is one to key off of, and if Joe Talamo can make some noise, this is one to possibly consider at least for the minors.  

Grade: C+

 

#3 Jackie’s Warrior (Jky: J. Rosario/Trn: S. Asmussen): 

What a difference 6 months makes when it comes to a rising or falling star. Most thought this son of Maclean’s Music was poised for Derby Trail stardom going into the Breeders’ Cup. It was not to be. Failing at such a short price taught all the backers a lesson—the perils of such high-highs. His 2021 debut rematch against Essential Quality in the Southwest S. (G3) ended with a 3rd place finish. Steve Asmussen now is recalibrating, and has made a smart choice cutting this one back in distance. I have always thought he should be a sprinter, and he certainly could take this thing all the way. Could be a pretty impressive runner despite a couple of misses.

Grade: B

 

#4 Defunded (Jky: I. Ortiz/Trn: B. Baffert): 

This son of Dialed In happens to down the depth chart of Bob Baffert’s bench. He is super-talented, but has not had much of an opportunity to run in only 3 career starts for the celebrated trainer. In early March, he exhibited some nice sprinting ability in a 6F MSW76k event at Santa Anita. The dive into the SA Derby (G1) seemed rather hasty, and was a major ask for a runner so inexperienced. Mike Smith did his best to put him in the proper place towards the end, but it was not enough to keep up with the likes of Dream Shake #8 (who is drawn in here), Medina Spirit, and the eventual winner, Rock Your World. He is going to be up against it, but this is Baffert, so take that into account.

Grade: B-

 

#5 Prevalence (Jky: T. Gaffalione/Trn: B. Walsh):

The Brendan Walsh-trainee is ready to roll off a 6th place finish in the Wood Memorial (G2), a race that the colt should have won. The bloodlines, the stars, the tea leaves . . . all of it, was ready for this offspring of Medaglia d’Oro to enter the “Big A” Winner’s Circle. It was not to be, mainly because a couple of Pletcher-trained long shots spoiled the party. Now, returning to a shorter distance, this one is getting Tyler Gaffalione back in the irons. It is time for some redemption. The bosses at Godolphin expect better.

Grade: A-

 

#6 Starrininmydreams (Jky: L. Saez/Trn: D. Stewart):

There were several handicappers across this great land who were convinced that this massive overlay of Dallas Stewart’s was the one to chose in the Risen Star (G2) at the Fair Grounds. At 11/1, the colt out of Super Saver didn’t have the gas left in the tank to keep pace with Brad Cox’s Mandaloun—9th, 27-lengths back. He did a little better with Luis Saez in the saddle in the Louisiana Derby (G2), and in the Lexington (G3) at Keeneland. This runner will be a popular pick once again because of Stewart’s ability to serve as a wildcard. He could be an attractive bet, if the price is right. 

Grade: B

Kentucky Derby Betting

#7 Whiskey Double (Jky: R. Santana/Trn: S. Asmussen):

Another Steve Asmussen runner, this son of Into Mischief was 2nd best up against Saffie Joseph’s star pupil, Drain the Clock in the Bay Shore (G3) at Aqueduct. No one was going to beat that favorite that day, and could bode well for this entry. The race prior to that one in the slop at Oaklawn yielded a signature “win” against some good company. Getting Ricardo Santana back is a quality move. Still, coming into this race it is hard to know how he will react to the continued rise in class, and in a big field like this one. More to do . . .   

Grade: C+

 

#8 Dream Shake (Jky: F. Prat/Trn: P. Eurton): 

Here is the horse that will make many a list, when it comes top picks. He was heavily lauded after he broke his maiden in his first career race. Peter Eurton began to target stronger competition, and he came in 3rd, just behind Baffert’s Life Is Good and Medina Spirit. That was not a bad effort, and the colt out of Twirling Candy followed it up with the same placing in the Santa Anita Derby (G1). His conditioner toyed with the notion of entering in the Kentucky Derby, then backed off. With Flavien Prat flying in to ride during Derby Week, he gets aboard what will probably end up being the favorite. That is probably deserved, if he can live up to the expectations. His talent is assured, but what about the delivery. 

Grade: B+

 

#9 Sittin On Go (Jky: C. Lanerie/Trn: D. Romans): 

I have not been in Dale Romans’ corner in some time, and he is bound and determined to continue to enter runners at his home track. This son of Broady’s Cause looks to have competed against some accomplished routers, and that is right. But he did not do well, and time is running out when it comes to backing this one. Maybe the return to Churchill will assist, with Corey Lanerie riding? Doubt it . . .

Grade: C-

 

#10 Dreamer’s Disease (Jky: D. Cohen/Trn: R. Diodoro):

Robertino Diodoro is attempting to do something very challenging . . . bring this young Laoban colt off the bench and enter him in this tough G2 spot. When we saw him back in the fall, he had notched a couple of wins at the MSW43k and OC75k levels. Whenever he went up higher into “Non-G” races and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), he was out of his depth. Coming to Churchill for the 1st time, he has established a solid work tab. He is going to need all the fitness he can muster with regular Diodoro rider, David Cohen at the controls.

Grade: C

 

#11 Noble Reflection (Jky: J. Velazquez/Trn: R. Baltas): 

Richard Baltas’ early riser likes to go right from the start. He is a typical dirt runner in that respect, and we could surmise that if he doesn’t make the lead, then all bets are literally, “off.” Getting back to sprinting, after a 5th place finish at Keeneland in the Lexington S. (G3), the gelding out of Liam’s Map was at his best when he won a high-level MSW63k race in early March. Baltas has a surprise for his horse’s owners as he has John Velazquez riding. Maybe Johnny V can get this one back on track. It is going to take a major effort breaking from that outside post.   

Grade: C+

 

#12 Joe Frazier (Jky: F. Geroux/Trn: B. Cox): 

Brad Cox is in for quite a show this week as he taps the upper reaches of almost every “Graded” contest on this card. Not to be left out, he arrives in this race with a runner who is coming off a nice score at Keeneland in an OC75k contest. That was a gritty go, and Florent Geroux did some of the best race riding I have ever seen him pull off. He was riding this son of Distorted Humor who had a number of misses dating back to the Springboard Mile 200k at Remington Park. Getting closer to the action after the break was clearly the ticket. I think he can build on that effort, and come up with a victory at Churchill in what could be a hotly contested pace. 

Grade: A-

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