We head into the race tomorrow very anxious to get our first win on the season. It’s not a walkover group but with a solid effort we’re going to be dangerous.
Dandyman (Manley/Emigh) – Nice runs over the artificial at Arlington and a “best of the rest” finish fall debut here at Hawthorne over the dirt. He’s only 2/16 over the turf and will want to be close.
Fort Aiken (Cristel/Gallardo) – Definitely showed some talent last year but since the break has struggled.
Fort Dixie (Slager/Santiago) – Winner at $8000 two back (if you recall!), however seems to struggle a bit past a mile. Hopefully the extra half furlong will have him struggling late.
Veter (Stidham/Marquez) – Moves up in class about a half a notch from a $10,000 non-winner of a race in a year but has shown ability versus better. A late runner.
Frontier Force (Rodriguez/Perez) – Claimed out of a winning effort last out at $5000, Rodriguez pushes him back up the class ladder here where he has been competitive. Could very well have needed that confidence builder and will be coming late.
VANDERBOOM RIDGE (BRINSON/VELAZQUEZ)
Xblanque (Cameron/Montalvo) – VERY large drop in class for the 7-year old that has had a pair of breaks that have lasted more than a year. He is also stretching out so stamina may be an issue as well.
So the question is if we can win this one. There are a few things that I like. Boomer is training very well: I couldn’t be happier the way he is coming into the race. We know that he had some trouble closing in his last but Clay has that figured out (we think) and there should be some late from him. Denny is riding great, notching his first graded stakes win last week aboard Hay Dakota for trainer Joel Berndt in the Grade 3 Commonwealth at Churchill (at 30-1!).
What I don’t like? I’d prefer to be going a flat mile. I mentioned that stamina may be an issue for some in here: we may be one of them. That said, Boomer is 2 for 5 at the distance so it’s not like he CAN’T get the extra half furlong and he really needed that last race as a tightener after the long time between races.
I’m hoping that we can break well and settle behind the pacesetters and start cutting loose as we bend through the far turn. It will take a darn good effort from him to beat these but he’s primed for a good one.
Good luck everyone!