85thRunning of the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes highlights the final Saturday of racing this year in Louisville. Nice field of eleven (11) heading to the gate on a pleasant Indian summer day. Having failed to save any luck from U of L come-from-behind win yesterday & getting lit up in the Clark Handicap, credibility needs to be restored.
First run in 1920, the KJC has been held continuously except during the depression/war years of 1939-45. Two years ago, Super Saver won this race & would return the following spring to win the 2010 Kentucky Derby. Real Quiet ran 3rdin ’97 before returning to claim his Derby the following May.
The most impressive performance I saw in the KJC came in 1989 when Grand Canyon pulled an “Arazi” on his field. Sadly, he would pass away shortly thereafter. He could’ve been a great one. Run Dusty Run’s win in 1976 also stands out. His only mistake was being in the same crop as Seattle Slew.
Don Brumfield leads all jockeys with six KJC wins & Wayne Lukas leads all trainers w/four wins.
#1 Ever So Lucky 5-2 (Julien Leparoux)…he’s all the rage off his nifty maiden debut score. Distance shouldn’t be an issue either. Only question is how low of price you’ll take.
#2 Africanist 10-1 (Corey Lanerie)…circled the field to break his maiden here on November 3 after couple nice tries at Saratoga. His style fits this race too.
#3 Timely Tally 10-1 (Calvin Borel)…up the field twice at Saratoga then eaked out win over the snow tires at Keeneland. 2ndlast out to Gemologist in Churchill allowance. Borel was riding brain dead yesterday, gassing Dubious Miss & Will’s Wildcat into the ground. He’s hitting on less than 10% of his mounts again this meet too.
#4 Mr. Prankster 10-1 (Edgar Prado)…win & couple seconds at Hoosier & Presque Isle. Wouldn’t like his chances except that he’s by It’s No Joke. Much like Distorted Humor (who was an okay horse, but great sire for horses running at Churchill), It’s No Joke may be similar. Worth a shot if solidly double figures.
#5 Cyber Secret 6-1 (Shaun Bridgmohan)…won a sloppy maiden against five foes at Belmont a 11-1 in October. Hard to read this shipper. Bridgmohan has been a quiet church mouse this meet too.
#6 Optimizer 8-1 (Robby Albarado)…trainer Wayne Lukas suffering through another miserable meet with 1 win in 27 starts. Ran couple really nice turf races at Saratoga & was running well late in Keeneland’s Breeder's Futurity on the fake turf (polyturf). His only dirt try, in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, was uninspired. Being by English Channel & bombing in his first dirt race sure makes him look like a full-fledged turf horse. Pass.
#7 Fine 20-1 (Brian Hernandez)…Hoosier Park maiden winner ran distant 2nd to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Hansen in Turfway’s KY Cup Juvenile. Last out, he faded in Churchill’s Iroquois Stakes. Oklahoma-bred looks overmatched again.
#8 Atigun 10-1 (Manny Cruz)…came alive in his 3rdstart at Keeneland when 2ndat 51-1. Followed that with maiden score at Churchill on November 6. That also marked his first dirt try. His dad, Istan, ran his best race ever here too. Kenny McPeek wins with these kind of horses. He should have a big say in this thing at a tasty price.
#9 Gemologist 3-1 (Javier Castellano)…sharp winner in both his starts at Turfway & Churchill. Has never trailed at any point of call yet either. Son of Tiznow won last out going 1 1/16 miles, so stamina shouldn’t be a problem. Only question is whether he can wire this field too. Leaning slightly against to find better value.
#10 Seve 20-1 (Mark Guidry)…still a maiden after five tries, four of which were pretty pedestrian. Son of Giant’s Causeway has the breeding & has only made one start on the dirt (& he made up some ground in that one). Don’t know why they’ve wasted some much time on turf & polyturf. Could see him mucking up some trifectas & supers.
#11 Saint Honore 12-1 (Jesus Castanon)…always nice to see Nick Zito at Churchill Downs in the fall. Son of Sun King won by a nose in his 3rdstart at Belmont last month. Owned locally by Tracy Farmer, this colt has a future but more likely that’ll be at Gulfstream in a couple months.
Kentucky Jockey Club goes to…
#1 Ever So Lucky 1st
#8 Atigun 2nd
#4 Mr. Prankster 3rd
#9 Gemologist 4th
PS - Go Syracuse Go!! Let's go to the races at Gulfstream Park during Orange Bowl week!!
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