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Sunday Stakes: Analyzing the CARY GRANT STAKES
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2018
by: Rich Bieglmeier
Since it's a slow Sunday of Stakes racing, just three on the schedule, let's break down one of three stakes races, horse by horse. We'll stick with the Saturday Stakes theme of honoring icons and analyze the eighth at Del Mar, the $100,000 CARY GRANT STAKES.
FYI, the two other $100,000 or more stakes races for the day include:
Aqueduct Race 7 - $125,000 NEW YORK STALLION SERIES STAKES
Woodbine Race 8 - $225,000 CORONATION FUTURITY
The CARY GRANT STAKES is named to honor one of Hollywood's original leading men, Cary Grant. During Hollywood's "Golden Era", Cary Grant was one of the biggest box-office draws for nearly 30-years. He was born Archibald Alec Leach and was recognized by Premiere magazine as "quite simply, the funniest actor cinema has ever produced."
He died in November 1986 and in 2009 the first race to honor Grant was won by the appropriately named BESTDRESSED at Hollywood Park. The 2018 version of the CARY GRANT STAKES features nine horses running seven-furlongs on Del Mar dirt.
Let's take a look at the horses in the field.
TOUGH BUT NICE (PP: 1 ML 12-1) The five-year-old is coming off a wire-to-wire (w2w) win at Santa Anita. Looking at his past performance line, he tends to fade late. Even in his recent score, he lost 1 1/2 lengths in the stretch. To win, it looks as if he'll need the lead one his own by at least a length. Considering there aren't other horses with a consistent history of running on the lead, it is possible for TOUGH BUT NICE to control the early pace and go gate-to-wire.
TOUCHING RAINBOWS (PP: 2 ML 5/2) The Philip D'Amato trained horse will be making his first start in 51-days. In has last two first starts following a layoff, the five-year-old won w2w and pressed the lead from the jump, finishing second by a neck. Both races were at Santa Anita. His last two races were dull efforts on turf, where he scored on lonely third in five lifetime grass races. Whereas, TOUCHING RAINBOWS has won six of 11 on dirt, including two of four at Del Mar. Based on his dirt record, particularly on a fast track, TOUCHING RAINBOWS appears to one of the top contenders.
EDWARDS GOING LEFT (PP: 3 ML 2-1) This four-year-old has never finished out-of-the-money in seven-furlong races with two wins, a second, and two thirds in five tries. He is stepping down in class from a Grade 1 Stakes race where EDWARD finished fourth by five lengths in a five-horse field, losing ground down the stretch. Non-graded stakes races look like the right level for the horse as he's finished third by a neck, won by six, and won by a length in his last three, including a seven-furlong dirt race at Del Mar. Due to his history at today's distance/surface and recent non-graded stakes results, EDWARDS GOING LEFT seems to be another top contender.
SOLID WAGER (PP: 4 ML 4-1) Being the two-time defending champion should make SOLID WAGER one the public's top choices by post-time. The seven-year-old is making his third start after a short layoff. He finished second in his previous two start, but never threatened for the W. He'll be coming from behind in a race that might offer modest early fractions, meaning the pace might not be favorable for a third straight CARY GRANT STAKES victory. Although SOLID WAGER knows how to win this race, recent form suggests he is more likely to finish in-the-money than win.
BRANDOTHEBARTENDER (PP: 5 ML 201) His triple-digit speed rating is the top last face figure for the field. However, it was in turf. He'll need to carry his grass form to the dirt in the five-year-old's third start off the bench. While BRANDO has fared well on grass, he is oh-for-two on dirt, both labeled as off tracks. Considering trainer Craig Dollase only wins at 3% with the turf-to-dirt angle, it's unlikely BARANDTHEBARTENDER's dirt fortunes change today and he finds the finish line first. Considering his morning-line odds and highest last race speed figure, toss BRANDO into the back half of exotics.
MINOSO (PP: 6 ML 30-1) The best thing MINOSO brings to the track today is trainer Hector Palma, who wins at 21% with horses making their third start off following a layoff. But, Palma is oh-for-fifteen in 2018 non-graded stakes race and MINOSO's on the track performances have not been on par with any other in this group. Toss MINOSO out of consideration. If he beats us, it's one in 100 with 30-1 odds.
SHADES OF VICTORY (PP: 7 ML 12-1) SHADES could play the spoiler role. He has shown limited back-class where he can run a race at the non-graded stakes level at a longer price and hit the board. He popped close to a triple-digit speed rating at 40-1 on September 8th, scoring the win at Los Alamitos and getting the better of EDWARDS GOING LEFT. The four-year-old is making his first start since September 29th and his best first-race following a layoff finish is third in his last three tires. Prior to going on hiatus, he finished sixth of six, losing by 16 lengths. We aren't fans of playing horses who finished dead last without an excuse. At best, SHADES OF VICTORY might find his way into-the-money, maybe add to the back half of exotics.
ANN ARBOR EDDIE (PP: 8 ML 5-1) He has run his last 10 on turf. So, he'll need to bring his form to the main track. Trainer Doug O'Neill wins at 12% going turf-to-dirt, which is OK. However, EDDIE does have positive history racing on dirt. He's won four of nine, with a second and a third. His best dirt speed figure is the highest for this group, meaning he has the potential to compete for the first-place check. He's been no worse than 2 3/4 lengths behind the winner in his last seven races, finishing in-the-money five of those seven. Making his third start after a layoff, ANN ARBOR EDDIE's recent form and dirt history suggest he'll be in the mix late looking for his share of the prize money.
GRECIAN FIRE (PP: 9 ML 10-1) His recent speed figures say the four-year-old is a threat. However, comments from his last two races like roused, no threat and four-wide into the stretch, no rally hint at a tired horse. FIRE has not taken a break from racing in the last year. Although we have great respect for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer's ability, his team has steadily moved GRECIAN FIRE down in class recently. He is, however, taking a slight step up today. On paper, it looks like they are searching for the right level for this horse. His last two races are not inspiring. He could surprise, but 10-1 morning line doesn't offer enough value to consider, in our opinion.
TOP CONTENDERS: TOUCHING RAINBOWS, EDWARDS GOING LEFT
IN-THE-MONEY: SOLID WAGER, ANN ARBOR EDDIE
EXOTIC VALUE PLAYS: TOUGH BUT NICE, BRANDOTHEBARTENDER, SHADES OF VICTORY
BAD BEATS: MINOSO, GRECIAN FIRE
Have a blessed day and good luck at the races.
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