2015 FrontRunner Stakes Preview
The Road to the 2016 Kentucky Derby makes its second stop on Saturday, September 26 at Santa Anita. The Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes will be front and center for the 2 year old males.
The FrontRunner Stakes will be run at 1 1/16 miles on the main dirt track with a purse of $300,000. The winner will receive 10 points towards the Kentucky Derby Points Leaderboard while second, third, and fourth will receive 4 points, 2 points, and 1 point, respectively.
Post time is scheduled for 5:30 PM Eastern Time and the race is carded as the fifth race of a 11 races. Free past performances can be found here by going to Saturday, September 26 and race 5. The entires have been listed in the table below.
|Post Position||Horse||Jockey||Trainer||Morning Line Odds
|1||Go Long||Fernando Perez||Keith Desormeaux||20-1
|2||On Fire||Gary Stevens||Simon Callaghan||12-1
|3||Blameitonthelaw||Tyler Baze||John Sadler||5-1
|4||Nyquist||Mario Gutierrez||Doug O'Neill||6-5
|5||Hollywood Don||Brice Blanc||Peter Miller||4-1
|6||Rare Candy||Joseph Talamo||David Hofmans||15-1
|7||Swipe||Kent Desormeaux||Keith Desormeaux||5-1
|8||Mt Veeder||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||6-1
1. Go Long – He started his career from the dreaded rail spot in his debut and had a decent effort. He showed speed and tired to finish fourth by 4 3/4 lengths. He went to the lead again in his second start and had plenty of company, but was able to pull away near the wire for a 3/4 length victory. In his last start, he went long, but on the grass at one mile in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf. It was a dull effort where he sat well of the pace before passing tiring horses and finished sixth. The return to dirt will help, but he has to step up in a big way to contend in this spot.
2. On Fire – In his debut going 6 furlongs, he went to contend for the lead shortly after the break, but was no match for the top two. He did, however, hang on for third and lost by 5 1/4 lengths. He was given more distance in his second race going a mile. He had a wide trip for most of the race and prompted the pace three wide on the backstretch and far turn. He took the lead in the stretch, but had to hold on for the win by a half-length. The connections are appealing, but he too will have to run better in this spot to contend for the win honors.
3. Blameitonthelaw – He began his career at Del Mar going 5.5 furlongs where he got a wonderful trip behind the leaders. He was able to pull away in that one to win by 4 1/4 lengths before taking on Grade 1 competition in the Del Mar Futurity. In that race, he had a similar trip behind the leaders while wide. However, he was no match for the to two and he finished third by eight. Both of those horses he lost to return here (Nyquist and Swipe). He will have to get better in this spot, which he could with is pedigree and the blinkers going on. He has a good chance of hitting the board.
4. Nyquist – We arrive at the favorite for this race, a colt who has done little wrong. He won his debut in a game effort by a head before waiting for graded stakes competition at Del Mar. His second race was in the Grade 2 Best Pal where he improved dramatically with a 5 1/4 length win while pressing the pace. His latest race was the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity where he battled for the lead and then had a nice bid entering the stretch to win by 3 3/4 lengths. He has not raced at two turns, but being by Uncle Mo, it should not be an issue. He is the deserving favorite and is the one to beat.
5. Hollywood Don – He began his career going a mile on the turf, but had a slow start and then was wide for most of the running of the race. He made no impact on the race late, as he finished seventh by 4 1/4 lengths. He came back in his second start to go gate-to-wire in an impressive race where he set fast fractions early on and was tracked all the way around the turf course. His last race was the Del Mar Juvenile Turf at one mile where he employed a new winning tactic. He sat over four lengths off the lead in the first two calls, but made his move on the far turn. He went on to win by 1 1/2 lengths for his second victory in a row. He has not raced on dirt and clearly has an affinity for turf. He has a running style that will help, but he will need to be more competitive to have a chance to win though he could hit the board.
6. Rare Candy – He started his career in New York with a five furlong turf dash at Belmont. He took a while to get going, but closed determinedly to finish only three quarters of a length back in second. He was then shipped to California where he was sent a mile on the turf in another maiden race. He went gate-to-wire that day in a game performance where he won by 2 1/4 lengths after setting comfortable fractions. He then took on stakes competition in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf, but was outrun early. He made a solid rally in the lane and just missed third place. He has had some really good works on the Santa Anita main track, but the question is can he be good enough?
7. Swipe – He is the most experienced horse in this race with five starts. His first start was in May at 4.5 furlongs where he broke poorly, but rallied strongly to finish second by 2 1/4 lengths. His second start was in the Tremont, but he could not rally again and finished third by 4 1/4 lengths. He broke his maiden in his third start in the Summer Juvenile Championship with a driving finish to win by a head. His next two starts were at Del Mar where he finished second both times to the favorite, Nyquist. He is out of Birdstone so the two turns is not an issue. He is a top candidate to round out the exacta.
8. Mt Veeder – He debuted at Del Mar going 5.5 furlongs where he dueled on the lead before pulling away to win by 2 1/4 lengths. He stepped up into stakes competition where he went gate-to-wire and won by 4 3/4 lengths. He has not raced beyond six furlongs, but he is by Ghostzapper so two turns should not be a big issue. He is probably going to try and wire the field again and has a solid chance here.
#4 Nyquist is the clear favorite here and is decisively the one to beat. He should be able to rate off the speed, which makes him incredibly dangerous, but he will be a short price. #8 Mt Veeder will be going to the lead and could be good enough to make this a very good race. #7 Swipe has been consistent in his career never missing the board, but has not beat Nyquist in the previous two races. #3 Blameitonthelaw is going both long and getting blinkers on, which could improve his chances while #5 Hollywood Don could take a liking to dirt though he will probably have short odds.
Top selection – #4 Nyquist
2nd selection – #8 Mt Veeder
3rd selection – #7 Swipe
4th selection – #3 Blameitonthelaw
A recap of the Grade 1 FrontRunner will be posted on Saturday so be sure to come back and check it out.