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Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity & Foxwoods Champagne

2 Kentucky Derby Points Races Saturday

Bond HolderWe have 2 2014 Kentucky Derby Points races on tap for Saturday, October 5th in the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland and the Foxwoods Champagne at Belmont Park. Both races will give points to the top 4 finishers in each race that are added up towards invitations to the 2014 140th Kentucky Derby. Our small list of points earners will grow this weekend because of these 2 races, as well as the Grey Stakes at Woodbine on Sunday. So far our top point’s earners are Cleburne for his win in the Iroquois and Bond Holder for his win in the Frontrunner, both at 10 points. If you are unfamiliar with the points system or want to keep current on its standings, bookmark our post and check it out here- 2014 Kentucky Derby Points System.  Let’s take a look at the $400,000 Grade 1 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity Stakes at Keeneland first.

Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity

Solitary RangerThe $400,000 Grade 1 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity Stakes is the 8th race on the card at Keeneland Saturday and will host a field of 14 contenders (as well as 2 also eligible) battling it out over 1 1/16 of a mile. The 4 to 1 morning line favorite is Kendall’s Boy. Kendall’s Boy is trained by Thomas Amoss and will be ridden by Garret Gomez in this race. In his past 2 starts, Rosie Napravnik has been onboard, but she will be riding in the Foxwoods Champagne at Belmont on Saturday. In those 2 starts, Kendall’s Boy has run 2nd in a straight maiden 80k at Saratoga and broke his maiden in a straight maiden 46k at Churchill by 5 ¼ lengths. My only concern with Kendall’s Boy is whether or not he can handle the distance. This will be his first outing in a route, so we’ll have to see. Solitary Ranger is certainly a consideration in this race at 6 to 1 on the ML. He recently dominated in the Arlington-Washington Futurity, winning by 5 ½ lengths clear. His speed figure isn’t super impressive in that race, but it clearly didn’t have to be. I do believe he can get the distance in this race with no problem, but he will have to fend off several in this race to capture the front-end lead and that could be a real issue. For value, I’m going with the Todd Pletcher trained We Miss Artie at 8 to 1 on the ML. We Miss Artie has a lot going for him with Pletcher and John Velazquez in the irons. His last 2 outings were at this distance but over turf. I think he will adjust well to the change, but will need to stalk the pace here to win it. For a longshot at 15 to 1 on the morning line, I like Arctic Slope. He likes to come off of the pace which will be useful here and has actually won at this distance at Churchill. I don’t normally throw out another longshot option, but Smarty’s Echo has caught my eye and I would be remiss for not giving him a mention. This 2 year old son of Smarty Jones could be a real threat that’s easily overlooked. His 2 races have been excellent performances in my opinion and his latest bullet work is highly impressive.

Foxwoods Champagne Stakes

Strong MandateThe $500,000 Grade 1 Foxwoods Champagne Stakes is the 10th race on the card at Belmont Park Saturday and will showcase a field of 9 two year olds set to travel 1 mile. The 5/2 morning line favorite is Strong Mandate, winner of the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes by a whopping 9 ¾ lengths. Trained by D Wayne Lukas and ridden by Jose Ortiz, Strong Mandate is going to be a handful in this one! At 3 to 1 on the ML is Honor Code trained by Shug McGaughey and ridden by Javier Castellano. Honor Code broke his maiden in his career debut in a straight maiden 80k at Saratoga when he made a late charge and won it by 4 ½ lengths. Whenever a horse can make a run from dead last to first in such a short time, they have my attention! There is a lot of front end speed here, so my only concern is that he doesn’t wait too long to make his move. For value, I’m sticking with one of my favorites this year and I hope he does right by me. Debt Ceiling is 10 to 1 on the ML and I have to play him. He let me down in the Sanford but clearly had some issues in that one, so I can’t hold it against him. Out of 5 starts, it is the only one he has lost. He followed up the Sanford with a 5 length victory in the First Date Stash Stakes at Delaware and put up his best speed figure to date. His works are always solid and he is versatile enough to front run, stalk or come from behind. At these odds, I won’t pass him up. For my longshot, I like Ride On Curlin at 12 to 1 on the ML. He ran fourth in the Iroquois at Churchill, but he has the speed and potential to be a real threat here and the public will most likely overlook him. Good luck to all and check back with us Sunday for more 2 year old stakes action including HHR’s preview of the Grey Stakes at Woodbine!

 

 

 

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Mike Jr, eldest son of Mike Lane Sr, is co-lead author at HandicapHorseRacing.com and was raised on thoroughbred horse racing and handicapping. Although father and son often butt heads on their selections, they both have much love and admiration for the sport. Mike Jr. brings a new, fresh perspective to horse racing and is often in search of new angles to try.

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