Twin Spires Turf Sprint Horse-by-Horse Analysis & Betting Grades

Florent Geroux pilots Diamond Oops but our turf-man doesn't like the defending champion to win again
Florent Geroux pilots Diamond Oops but our turf-man doesn't like the defending champion to win again

5½F (Turf), Twin Spires Turf Sprint Stakes (G2), Purse $250k, 3+ 

The 27th running of Grade II Twin Spires Turf Sprint will send a bevy of entries that will ply their trade on the grass at a short distance. Past winners of this event include Marchman, Power Alert (AUS), Rocket Heat, Green Mask, Will Call, World of Trouble, and the defending champ, Diamond Oops. Being loose on the lead doesn’t ensure victory . . . but it sure can help if the fractions are right. Who will take this lawn prize at the conclusion of this year’s event?

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Now, let’s find out about this field… 

Kentucky Oaks 2021

#1 Johnny Unleashed (Jky: G. Corrales/Trn: E. Foster):

The Foster Family is probably proud of son Eric, but he is in too deep with this son of Colonel John. Here is a perfect example of a horse who fits nicely in OC40k Co., but when his conditioner tosses him into a spot like this one, it is just nothing short of a big ask. Gerardo Corrales is an admirable gate jockey (he has Wesley Ward to thank for that), as was the case in the Grade II Shakertown (his last race), it will be difficult to even hit the board.

Grade: C


#2 Guildsman (FR) (Jky: U. Rispoli/Trn: B. Walsh):

Here is a Brendan Walsh-trained turf sprinter who has yet to really get on track. Last fall, he came to Kentucky and won a nice G3 race on the pear-shaped oval at Kentucky Downs. Since then, it had been a tough go for the Qatar Racing charge. The best news is that Umberto Rispoli comes to Louisville, and his turf sprinting skills have been sharp while riding in SoCal. Don’t count this gelding out. Remember, Walsh knows sprinters on the turf . . . 

Grade: B


#3 Fiya (Jky: L. Saez/Trn: T. Albertrani):

Trainer Tom Albertrani ventures out of the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic from time to time, and can sometimes attack with a strong runner. That is the case with this son of Friesan Fire who is sharp as can be. With 5 wins in-a-row (that dates back to his time with trainer Mike Merryman), this new conditioner is hoping to roll the dice in this Grade II spot. This entry has some issues . . . laid off since Dec. . . . class jump . . . However, don’t forget that Luis Saez is aboard again. He knows how to win. Period.

Grade: B-


#4 Classy John (Jky: /Trn: D. Stewart): 

Trainer Dallas Stewart knows all about “ringers” in his midst at boxcar prices. He is bringing this 5-yr-old gelding out of Songandaprayer into a much deeper class race than he has faced in some time. Running primarily at the Fair Grounds, he scored a nice win in a 100k “Non-G” event last out at 30/1. I have concerns that he can do something like that again. The one X-Factor is the addition of rider, Tyler Gaffalione. He might be able to help get this one home. But, don’t count on it . . . Stewart doesn’t have a bevy of turf sprinters on his C.V. 

Grade: C+


#5 Just Might (Jky: C. Hernandez/Trn: M. Lovell): 

In my opinion, the biggest disappointment to come out of the Shakertown (G2) was this runner from the barn of Michelle Lovell. This 5-yr-old gelding should have run better in that event at 7/1 odds. Colby Hernandez has major experience with this one, and once again, he is back aboard for this go at the Matt Winn blades. Lovell has sent her Justin Phillip-born runner to this course before (Record: 6/0-1-3). I should think that 8/1 might be about right to make a wager. Interesting play . . . again.

Grade: B

#6 Ambassador Luna (Jky: J. Graham/Trn: J. Gulick): 

The Gulick Barn is one of those locals that doesn’t get into a fix like this one often. Maybe they can spring a major upset with a win? There is form when it comes to this one’s PPs; just look back around last August. The Kentucky trails this mare blazed were “good.” She is taking on “the Boys” in this spot, and James Graham will need all of his experience to get this one home. The break will be absolutely essential. If he cannot win that . . . it is curtains.

Grade: C-


#7 Smart Remark (Jky: R. Bejarano/Trn: V. Oliver):

Vicky Oliver had a nice Keeneland Meet, especially on the Haggin, so now she is shifting over to the Matt Winn at Churchill. I am not sure it is going to help this gelding, since he has not hit the board since a sprint last August at Presque Isle Downs. Maybe just too much to do in this spot against a field of sizable proportions. Rafael Bejarano, Oliver’s signature rider, will try.

Grade: C


#8 Fast Boat (Jky: I. Ortiz/Trn: J. Sharp): 

Brad Grady owns this sprinter who possesses some nice features . . . a solid record, runs well in Kentucky, and had a nice win last time out at Sam Houston in a competitive 100k. The horse that finished 3rd in that “key” race was Change of Control, who came back and had a major score at Keeneland. He has faced some of these foes before, including Just Might #5 and Carotari #11. Big chance . . . especially with the addition of leading jockey (wherever he lands), Irad Ortiz. The form this one has is pretty inviting. His trainer, Joe Sharp, has this one headed in the proper direction with a series of works that look smart.

Grade: A-


#9 Diamond Oops (Jky: F. Geroux/Trn: P. Biacone): 

The defending champ from last year’s go is back with alacrity. It is rare to find a runner with such versatility, but Pat Biancone’s ace probably needs to get back on the turf. Sometimes off the bench it can be an inviting prospect, as opposed to running on the dirt. Now a 6-yr-old gelding, he is going to attempt to get back on track with Florent Geroux aboard. If he can stay close to the lead, those traditional late gears he possesses might do the trick. Lately, his jazzercise at Palm Meadows looks pretty swift.

Grade: B-


#10 Sombeyay (Jky: F. Prat/Trn: P. Miller):

Trainer Peter Miller is bringing in this West Coast turfer in hopes of sweeping in and grabbing this Grade II prize. Last year, Miller got this one from Todd Pletcher, and the son of Into Mischief went right to work entering in some pretty challenging SoCal turf races. Even though most think that grass racing out there is not up to scratch, he competed in a pair of G3 events that yielded some nice winners. Hit the Road and Gregorian Chant were impressive. If Miller has this one where he wants him, then he could be formidable with Flavien Prat on board. SoCal invader cometh . . . 

Grade: A-


#11 Carotari (Jky: J. Leparoux/Trn: B. Lynch):

Trainer Lynch is experiencing a nice turn of fortune, and it is coming at just the right time. He had a good Keeneland, and hopes to keep it going over the Derby Weekend. Last out, in the salty Silks Run 75k at Gulfstream Park, the Artie Schiller son ran all the way around the turn, loose on the lead. He will most assuredly be the speed up front. Julien Leparoux has been known to steal some of these types of races. The other jockeys better watch him because he is fast as can be.

Grade: B+


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