2015 Pocahontas Stakes Preview

2015 Pocahontas Stakes Preview

The Road to the 2016 Kentucky Oaks will commence on Saturday, September 12 at the same venue it will end: Churchill Downs. The Grade 2 Pocahontas Stakes will be the first race with the winner receiving 10 points, the runner up receiving 4 points, third place receiving 2 points, and the fourth place finisher receiving 1 point.

The Grade 2 Pocahontas Stakes will be run at 1 1/16 miles on the main track. A field of 8 was entered for a purse of $200,000. Post time for the Pocahontas is scheduled for 4:18 PM Eastern Time and is carded as race eight on an eleven race program.

The Pocahontas Stakes is also part of the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In Challenge Series. The winner will be guaranteed a spot in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Keeneland in October.

Free past performances for the Pocahontas can be found here under Saturday, September 12 and race 8 at Churchill Downs. You can also check out the Iroquois Stakes preview here. Entries are listed in the table below.

Post PositionHorseJockeyTrainerMorning Line Odds
1Decked OutColby HernandezKeith Desormeaux6-1
2Bold QualityPaco LopezKelly Breen8-1
3Dream DanceBrian Hernandez Jr.Neil Howard8-1
4Princess KennedyGallyn MitchellGary Hartlage12-1
5Dothraki QueenCorey LanerieKenneth McPeek9-2
6Vivid StormCalvin BorelWilliam Bradley15-1
7Just WickedJose OrtizSteve Asmussen1-1
8Put Da Blame On MeAlbin JimenezDale Romans10-1

1. Decked Out – She has started four races thus far with he first race being at Santa Anita in May. She won that race by coming off the pace after a slow start and then shipped east to Belmont where she was second in the Astoria. Her last two races were at Saratoga in graded stakes competition in the Grade 3 Schuylerville (finished 3rd) and the Grade 2 Adirondack (finished 4th). This will be her first attempt beyond 6.5 furlongs and she will need to step up to compete in this race.

2. Bold Quality – She has ran once in her career with a smashing maiden victory at Parx by 4 1/2 lengths. She broke on the rail, but ended up with a perfect trip behind a quartet of horses and pulled away in the stretch. She ran a bit greenly in the last furlong, but she has two solid works since that race. She is an interesting horse in this spot.

3. Dream Dance – She started her career at Churchill Downs in June with a fifth place finish after a slow start. She rallied well in that race, but was no match to the top four. She broke better in her second race and was incredibly unlucky to win, losing by a nose. She got the job done in her third start with a stalking trip and three wide move in the stretch to win by a length and a half. This will be her first test around two turns, but she is bred for it by Afleet Alex out of a Vindication mare. She rates a solid look in this group.

4. Princess Kennedy – This filly has made four starts with all four coming in the Pacific Northwest at Emerald Downs. She was wide throughout in her debut finishing fourth in a field of 8 with a mild rally. Her second race saw her battle off two horses in her maiden breaking score by 2 1 /2 lengths. She stepped up into stakes company her next two starts. In the Angie C, she broke awkwardly, then steadied on the turn, and finished with a nice rally, but missed by a nose. She crushed in her latest race by 8 3/4 lengths with a nice trip behind the speed at 6.5 furlongs. This race will be at 8.5 furlongs, but her pedigree and running style suggest she will relish two turns. She is worth a long look as a price in here.

5. Dothraki Queen – She is the only filly to have raced around two turns, but she did it on the grass. He lone start was in July at Ellis Park going a mile on the good turf course. She broke slow and started her move on the far turn before engulfing the leaders in the stretch on her way to a 7 length victory. She does have some dirt influences in her pedigree and a better break will make her a dangerous foe in this race.

6. Vivid Storm – She began her career at 5.5 furlongs at Churchill Downs in the slop. She made a wide bid on the turn and in the stretch, but was no match for the top two finishing third by 8 3/4 lengths. She came back in her second start with a nice rally to win by a length at Ellis Park. She stepped up into an allowance race in her last start, but was unable to do better than third by 6 1/4 lengths with a good trip off the speed. She has the pedigree to relish the longer distance, but she will need to do better to have a legitimate chance to win this race.

7. Just Wicked – She ran 5 furlongs on turf in her debut, but missed by half a length after striking the front in the stretch. She moved to dirt in her second start at Saratoga where she broke on top and then found herself with a good trip behind the leaders. She won up the rail by 1 3/4 lengths while moving on to the Grade 2 Adirondack. She had another good trip off the pace set by Tonasah, but she had to battle down to the wire to finish her off. She won by 1 1/4 lengths and the Pocahontas will be her first start around two turns. She is bred to go long being out of Tapit and a Harlan’s Holiday mare. Just Wicked has faced the stiffest competition and she is a deserving favorite here.

8. Put Da Blame On Me – She began her career at Ellis Park in the same race that Vivid Storm broke her maiden. Put Da Blame On Me prompted the pace, but weakened in the stretch to finish fourth by 5 3/4 lengths. She was sent to Indiana Grand for her second race where she prompted the pace once again, but this time was able to keep going to the wire. She won by 4 3/4 lengths and will now have her first start around two turns. She is out of Blame and a Roman Ruler mare, which means she should like the added ground. However, She will have to step up in here to have a chance to win.

Selections

This race is chock full of fillies who are trying something new for the first time. Only #5 Dothraki Queen has been around two turns, but she is also the only filly who has not raced on dirt yet. Some are trying winners for the first time after breaking their maiden as well. #7 Just Wicked is tough to beat, but it is worth a shot with #4 Princess Kennedy and #5 Dothraki Queen.

Top selection – #4 Princess Kennedy

2nd selection – #5 Dothraki Queen

3rd selection – #7 Just Wicked

4th selection – #3 Dream Dance

Check back on Saturday for a recap of the Grade 2 Pocahontas Stakes.

2015 Iroquois Stakes Preview

2015 Iroquois Stakes Preview

The Road the 2016 Kentucky Derby gets underway with the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes from Churchill Downs. The Iroquois Stakes is also part of the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In Challenge Series. The winner will be guaranteed a spot in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland in October.

The Iroquois Stakes will award 10 points to the winner, 4 points to second, 2 points to third, and one point to the fourth place finisher. The race will be run at 1 1/16 miles over Churchill’s main track with a purse of $150,000.

Post time is scheduled for 4:49 PM Eastern with the race carded as the ninth of 11 races and is right after the Pocahontas Stakes. Free past performances can be found here under Saturday, September 12 and race number 9.  Entries are listed below in the table.

Post PositionHorseJockeyTrainerMorning Line Odds
1Conquest WindycityShaun BridgmohanMark Casse7-2
2Meeteetse FlyJoe JohnsonKenneth McPeek15-1
3Expected RulerWilmer GarciaLiam Benson5-1
4CondominiumJon CourtD. Wayne Lukas8-1
5Unbridled OutlawCorey LanerieDale Romans4-1
6Cocked and LoadedEmmanuel EsquivelLarry Rivelli6-1
7Star HillJose OrtizGeorge Arnold10-1
8Dothat DanceMarcelino PedrozaJimmy Corrigan20-1
9Missle BombVictor LebronDarrin Miller15-1
10Rated R SuperstarCalvin BorelKenneth McPeek8-1
11Twirling CinnamonBrian Hernandez Jr.Brad Cox12-1
12BaychimoPaco LopezKelly Breen30-1

1. Conquest Windycity – He has only one start and it was a good one. He went 1 1/16 miles at Saratoga over the turf from the rail. He had a good trip midpack for most of the race and ran on in the stretch to get second only 1 1/4 lengths off the winner. He is bred to love the turf out of Tiznow and an A.P. Indy mare. He is the tepid favorite here and has a good chance like many others in this race.

2. Meeteetse Fly – Like the horse to his inside, he too has only one start and that came on the turf course over at Ellis Park. He went one mile that day and was stuck in the outside post from the nine hole. He settled at the back of the field before moving up on the backstretch, he went 5 five entering the stretch, and then started to pull away in the final sixteenth of a mile. There is dirt influence in the pedigree, but the question is can he up his game against better horses in this spot? The feeling here is probably not.

3. Expected Ruler – He is yet another that made his debut on turf, but he did so going only 5 furlongs and also in the Tyro Stakes at Monmouth. He sat in the middle of the field off a fast pace of 21 2/5 and 44 4/5 while finding his way through on the rail. He blew up the tote board at a massive 47-1 and his price will not be anywhere close to that today. He seems more suited towards the turf with his pedigree, but the distance should not be an issue. Interesting horse, but also has some question marks.

4. Condominium – We arrive at our first horse in the field to have made a start on dirt. His debut was a poor one up at Saratoga going 5.5 furlongs. He pressed the pace and then faded badly to finish 8th by 16 lengths. His second race was far better as he broke from the rail and tried to wire the field. He had a clear lead, but could not hold off his foe in the final furlong finishing second by 2 1/2 lengths. He was nearly 7 lengths clear of third as well. His pedigree says there will be no issues with the distance. We know he will be going straight to the front, but can he hold them off for 8.5 furlongs?

5. Unbridled Outlaw – His debut was here at Churchill Downs going 6 furlongs in late June. He broke well in that debut, but was soon near the back of the field and had to rally in the stretch. He made a solid rally in the stretch to finish 3rd by 3 1/4 lengths. He was then sent to Ellis Park next out where he got the job done. He had an odd start where he broke from the rail and ended up hitting the rail, but he was able to sit off the pace and rally to win by half a length. Once again, he is another that is bred to go long and has a solid chance in this race.

6. Cocked and Loaded – He made a very early start in his career with an April debut at Keeneland. He had a poor start to that race when he broke outward, but was able to rally on the turn and in the stretch to win by a length. He made his second start at Belmont in the Tremont where he broke on top of the field, but ended up sitting behind the leaders and rallying to win by a half-length. Up next was the Grade 3 Sanford where sat midpack, but had nothing in the lane while finishing 6th beaten 3 1/2 lengths. His latest start was at Arlington in the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity. There, he had another good trip off the speed, but offered little in the lane finishing fifth by 7 1/2 lengths. He is bred to go long, which may do the trick for him, but he has also been trending the wrong way on numbers and form.

7. Star Hill – He has a lone maiden race at Saratoga to his credit. He settled midpack, but was more than five or six lengths off the lead until the turn when he made his move. He moved up in the stretch, switched out, and just missed second while finishing 3rd by 2 1/4 lengths. He is bred to go long, but may find the turf more suitable for his breeding. However, he is an interesting long shot and cannot be discounted underneath in the exotics.

8. Dothat Dance – His career started here at Churchill Downs going five furlongs. he was off slow and made a mild rally in the stretch to finish 5th in a field of 6 by 7 1/4 lengths. The connections decided to enter him in the Grade 3 Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs in his next race where he broke slow and had another mild finish in the stretch. He managed to finish fourth, but was beaten 11 lengths. His most recent start came late in August at Indiana Grand where he was entered on turf going 7.5 furlongs in a maiden race. He broke awkwardly and slow again in this race before finishing fourth by 5 1/2 lengths. He will need to break better and have a much better rally to even contend here.

9. Missle Bomb – His only two races came at Arlington Park. In his debut, he broke from the rial and managed to rally for second in the shadow of the wire, but was no match for the winner losing by 7 3/4 lengths. His next start was against stakes company in the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity and he sat off the pace, but once again was no match for the winner. He finished third by 5 lengths that day and will now make is first start around two turns. His last workout was excellent going four furlongs in 47 4/5, but he is also facing some good competition. Tough call to make on him…

10. Rated R Superstar – His debut came in the same race as Unbridled Outlaw’s maiden breaking score. He pressed the pace throughout, but could not fend off the eventual winner losing by only a half-length. He came back last out to press the pace again, but this time he drew off to win by 5 lengths again at Ellis Park. He will be sent to the front in this spot and will have some company in the form of Condominium. Can he put him away as well as the others from out here?

11. Twirling Cinnamon – He made his debut here at Churchill in mid-June. He broke well, sat off the pace behind the dueling leaders, encountered some slight traffic issues, and came on late to grab the win by a nose. He was then sent to Saratoga for the Grade 3 Sanford, but he was unable to make an impact while racing wide most of the way. He finished 8th of 10 that day by 6 3/4 lengths. He will need to work out a good trip from this post.

12. Baychim0 – He made his only two appearances at Monmouth Park in New Jersey. He was outrun early in his debut, but made a decent rally in the stretch. He was no match for the top two as he finished third by 8 1/4 lengths, but he was 5 3/4 lengths clear of the fourth place finisher. In his second start, he was off the pace early on, but made a nice sweeping four wide move on the turn and into the stretch to give him a lead he was able to hold on to. He won by 3/4 of a length in the end. He has the pedigree to run long, but the far outside post does not help his chances.

Selections

This is a tough race to decipher due to many variables. Some horses are making their dirt debut while others have not been longer than six furlongs. It is hard to take a favorite here, but there are not as many worries regarding #1 Conquest Windycity from the rail. We will not want too short of a price, but given the field, this is not too much of a worry. For second we will look to #9 Missle Bomb. He ran evenly in his two races, but the extra distance should help him and he will be a solid price. #5 Unbridled Outlaw should be able to work out a good trip in here and has the credentials to win this race. #7 Star Hill ran a sneaky good race in his debut and despite finishing third, has a chance to make noise on the stretch out. #4 Condominium will certainly take them as far as he can, which makes him a must include on the tickets if he can get a clear lead again.

Top selection – #1 Conquest Windycity

2nd selection – #9 Missle Bomb

3rd selection – #5 Unbridled Outlaw

4th selection – #7 Star Hill

Check back on Saturday evening for a recap of the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes.