Practical Joke, last years winner of the Dwyer Stakes
This year's edition of the Grade 3 Dwyer Stakes features a trio of Kentucky Derby also rans, a horse from the Derby undercard, and some new faces. The reappearance of Mendelssohn is sure to have a few tongues wagging. It's a short seven horse field and a difficult handicapping puzzle. Trying to figure out who will rebound from a poor Derby Day performance is never easy.
Lets look at the field.
After trailing Mendelssohn in Europe and Dubai, he showed up here on the Derby undercard in the Pat Day Mile. He didn't run much that day in a race memorable for the slop and the $1700+ exacta it produced when two of the longest shots in a 14 horse field ran 1-2. He did pass a couple in the stretch that day, but never made an impact on the race. Now he shows up here.
I've been waiting for horses that ran from the rear on the outside in Dubai this year on one of the most speed biased racetracks I've ever seen. He probably won't take money with all the attention on Mendlessohn in here, but I'm not going to be surprised if he runs a little bit. Needs a very fast pace, which he is likely to get, and could surprise. I'll forgive the Pat Day in the mud. I think he might win and the price will be right to get involved.
2. Seven Trumpets
Won a high priced NW 3 lifetime optional claimer at Churchill beating a field of six in a race that was very fast early and slow late. He got the perfect setup in that one, but this will be much tougher. I can't see him winning.
Three really nice races versus easier and now he gets the acid test. He has a lot of speed and will be a factor in the race, but can he win it? Asking a lot from an inexperienced horse whose only win came in the slop, but he is regally bred. Will need to improve, but could get a piece of this.
4. Noble Indy
After the Derby and Belmont failures, he shows up here looking for class relief and a more suitable distance. He certainly has speed and will be part of the pace, but I wonder how much the two classic races have taken out of him. There is no shame in losing to Justify, but the way he pitched his tent and looked for a shady spot to lay down in those races has to be concerning. He's a tough one to figure in this race because his best would put him right there, but I'm going to pass.
5. Fixed Income Larry
Broke his maiden in his last in a very fast race, but where did it come from? It was by far his best race to date. He had some trouble at the start behind a very fast pace, then swooped them from behind to win going away. Can he repeat something like that against these horses? I don't think so; I'll pass.
How far the mighty have fallen! The latest incarnation of the European wonder horse variety, he had everyone gasping at that performance in Dubai when he ran off the TV screen. Came to the Derby looking to be any kind and promptly flopped like many of his predecessors.
In retrospect, the Dubai race was probably enhanced by the ridiculous front end speed bias that existed there this year. For the entire meet, horses with long odds were winning wire to wire by multiple lengths. However, his wins in Europe and the win in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf were not aided by anything other than his enormous talent. O'Brien drops him in here hoping to get him back on track, but I see it almost as a sign of weakness.
He could easily destroy this field, but just as easily might have us all shaking our heads wondering what happened. I'm taking a stand against him.
7. Firenze Fire
Another one who flopped in the Derby, but at least he chased the fast pace that day for six furlongs before packing it in. He is logically spotted in here at a distance he should like. He'll get the outside stalkers trip and will be a handful. He is a major contender.
I'm going to pass on Mendelssohn and go with the lesser known O'Brien horse. I like Seahenge and will use Firenze Fire and Rugbyman underneath.
Good luck to everyone who is playing.