Thank you to all that came out this morning for the first tour of the season. Here’s hoping that the weather will be as glorious in two weeks for the other tour as it was today. Special thanks go out to both the Litfin and Broberg teams for letting us spend some time with our horses and making sure the morning was a memorable one for all. Some impromptu cell phone pictures are below.
Sunday is the final day of racing before the break and we’re going to try and close out the first half of the meet with Ender earning another victory for the Club. The race came up pretty tough and he would have liked the extra half furlong like the last race, but we play what’s been dealt and we’ll get after them. Group 2 is in the Paddock.
The race is the 9th on Sunday, another $15,000 allowance optional claimer going six furlongs. We break from post 8 and here is the field in post position order.
French Quarter (Berndt/Eikleberry) – Comes out of a very tough turf race that featured the likes of Burgmeister and Wings Locked Up. Drops to the lowest tag of his career and back on the dirt.
Shooters Alley (Litfin/Butler) – Beaten by Ender by 9 1/4 last out and doesn’t seem to have the same “pop” as he did last year when he won $36,925.
Hotfoot (Eidschun/Meche) – Comes back to the dirt where he was claimed to start the Canterbury meet. Has shown flashes of early speed but not consistently enough to think he’ll be in front early.
Superstar Leo (Robertson/Roman) – Leading trainer brings this one back to the races in MN rather than Chicago where it was toiling in 2018. Claimed back by the original connections last August and makes his 2019 debut here. Has shown versatility winning out front and off the pace.
Hot Item (Bethke/Lindsay) – Popular at the claiming box this guy flashed some speed last time out versus us but faded. Losing the extra half furlong should help this one out and hopefully he can be on or near the lead with others.
Big League (Williams/S. Gonzalez) – Won at this level to kick off the Canterbury meet and beating others in here doing it. The last two races he has really stepped up into stakes and $35,000 optional claiming company where he ran credibly. He should be out early and will hopefully have some company. He gets loose early and he could be tough to catch.
Luckynsuccessful (Bethke/Arrieta) – Back in 11 days after handling a field of Minnesota bred allowance horses. You have to go back to last summer the last time this on missed the exacta.
Kota Copy (Diodoro/Mojica) – After a pair of board hitting finishes to start his Canterbury season at this level he faltered a bit in his lone turf try. He’ll be back on the dirt in here and will be looking to stalk the pace. His latest dirt figures make him very dangerous in here.
There are a couple of things working against us heading into this race: there appears to be a lack of pace and the race is 1/2 furlong shorter than last time which is tough for a closer. That said, it’s certainly not impossible for us to win in here but a couple of things will need to have to happen.
Someone needs to go with Big League. It’s not totally far fetched to think that Big League could get out to an early lead alone and make it very difficult for anyone to come and overtake him. He’s also won at this level/distance earlier in the meet, earning a big 88 Beyer Speed Figure in the process. In this last two races you could argue that he didn’t like the slop and wasn’t fond of the turf. Now he returns to the dirt and the distance that he enjoyed when he first came here and that makes him dangerous.
Hot Item, Hotfoot and perhaps Kota Copy COULD go with Big League but they haven’t been consistent early speed horses to count on.
Ender will most likely need to be closer to the front than he was in the last mostly because there won’t be as much ground to work with and the pace scenario is likely going to be less advantageous.
This one will be a test for sure, but he certainly belongs and we know that Karl has him ready and Quincy can get the best out of him. We’ll be charging late and that should make it pretty exciting when the race hits the last 100 yards.