Picks and Plays for the Bourbon and Spinster

By Antonio Tristino, @AndoTrist21

Dixiana Bourbon Stakes

This will be a Win and You're In race for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (Grade 1). The interesting part about the Bourbon and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf would be that the winner of this race will be able to cut back from the 1 & 1/16th miles to the 1 mile distance. Last year’s winner, Poker Player, finished 8th in the 2013 Juvenile Turf. Just for a bit of history about this race, Gio Ponti won the 2007 edition of this race. In the last 5 years, none of the Bourbon Stakes winners have won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf but 3 of those 5 did finish 3rd. If the turf improves from yesterday, I think we should see a firm turf course. We have 8 contenders this year since Conquest Tsunami ran in the Futurity.

1- Majestico (20/1)
Jockey: Juan Saez
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas

If Corey Lanerie would have stayed here, I would have included this Lukas entry. Since Majestico does have the rail and still seems a bit immature, I think this will be a too big of a jump for him to take on in his 3rd lifetime start.

2- Lawn Ranger (6/1)
Jockey: Chris Landeros
Trainer: Kenneth McPeek

Lawn Ranger has been training well at Churchill Downs since his maiden win at Kentucky Downs on 10/13. In his debut at Ellis Park, he lost by 3 length of the Danny Boy and competes against him again here. I like that McPeek and Landeros do have a 27% win rate this year and the Lawn Ranger draws an inside post for the first time. The more interesting part about this colt would be that he will be the only one to race without lasix. His maiden win was impressive since he had to be rushed up to take the lead then slowed down to still have enough to win by 3.75 lengths. I would use him underneath.

3- Can’t Happen Here (7/2)
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.
Trainer: Chad Brown

This will be the 1st of the two Chad Brown entrants. Can’t Happen Here ran and won in good fashion considering that he broke slow on the rain and then was bumped around the 1/4th pole. He did start drawing away on the stretch to win by 1.25 lengths over the 10 horse field. Since his Saratoga turf maiden win at the 1 & 1/16th miles distance, Brown has been training him over the Saratoga dirt until he could get him on the Belmont turf in his last two works. If the turf goes to being firm, his 1:01.3 breezing work over 5 furlongs on a firm Belmont turf. I like that Irad Ortiz Jr. flies in to ride again and when he rides for Brown, they win at 23% this year. Seems all gears will be firing and he should be able to get a good trip, I would use him underneath in the exacta and so on.

4- Danny Boy (3/1)
Jockey: Corey Lanerie
Trainer: Dale Romans

Corey Lanerie gets on Danny Boy for the first time and I assume he took Danny Boy over Majestico. Danny Boy comes out of the Iroquois (Grade 3) where he finished a good closing 4th place finish with Miguel Mena aboard. He broke his maiden in his start over the Ellis Park turf at the 1 mile distance. He closed to win over Lawn Ranger after giving the field a 10 length advantage initially. His maiden win had 8 horses but since his 4th place finish in the Iroquois at the 1 & 1/16th distance on the dirt, that legitimized him as a contender in my opinion. He gets back on to the turf course and showed that he can handle the distance gives me enough reason to make him my second choice in this race.

5- Thirtysilverpieces (10/1)
Jockey: Robby Albarado
Trainer: Wesley Ward

Thirtysilverpieces comes here off of a nose win at the 1 mile turf distance in an optional claiming $75,000. Robby Albarado stays on for Wesley Ward for his 4th lifetime start. Ward did scratch him out of the race he was entered to run in at Gulfstream Park on Saturday which tells me that he does like his chances to win this race. He does have three works over the track and one of them being over the Keeneland turf course. He worked 5 furlongs on 9/25 in 1:03.4 breezing which alone does not impress me, but I like that he is the only one to have even been on the turf course. Ward must have seen something since I doubt that he would keep this Thirtysilverpieces here if he thought he could not get the distance. Since Conquest Tsunami will not be racing, I do believe that he will be able to set his own pace and conserve something for the end. That being said, Thirtysilverpieces will be my top choice.

6- Less Than Perfect (12/1)
Jockey: Willie Martinez
Trainer: Kevin Rice

Since Less Than Perfect does not need to face Conquest Tsunami again, he will be better off in this start. I doubt he can win, but I would not count him out of hitting the board. He seems like this 1 & 1/16th distance will be a bit out of his range according to his past performances, but his pedigree makes me wonder if he actually wants further. I will use him underneath since I have a feeling he might go off at 15/1 or higher in this race.

8- Croninthebarbarian (5/1)
Jockey: Leandro Goncalves
Trainer: Garry Simms

Goncalves stays on the Croninthebarbarian’s 4th start after winning his last 2 races. Last time out he closed from giving the leaders a 7 length start at Kentucky Downs. He beat Luck of the Kitten by 2 lengths who will be running in the Zuma Beach Stakes later on at Santa Anita as the 2nd morning line choice for Wesley Ward. That helps legitimize him as a true contender to make a real late charge to win. I do not give him my top choice because I believe that last start might have taken a bit out of him. He will be my 4th choice in this race though.

9- Chief Kitten (10/1)
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Trainer: Chad Brown

Chief Kitten gets Joel Rosario for the first time in this step up in class. This will be the 2nd Chad Brown entrant in here. He comes off of an incredible closing win at Belmont Park where he spotted the field 7.5 lengths at the 3/4th pole. I am more impressed with the fact that he finished 2nd by 2 lengths behind the impressive Startup Nation in his first start over the Saratoga turf course at the 1 & 1/16th turf mile distance. I think that this will be his time to shine again over the firm turf course, but I did give Danny Boy the edge over Chief Kitten just because this will be more of Danny Boy’s home turf. Chief Kitten will actually be the 2nd of the Ramsey entrants and I do like their other entrant, Thirtysilverpieces, on top.

Pace Prediction

Speed: Lawn Ranger & Thirtysilverpieces
Pace: Majestico & Can’t Happen Here
Off Pace: Danny Boy
Closer: Croninthebarbarian & Chief Kitten

Recommended Wagering ($100.00 Budget)

$5.00 Win/Show on: ($10.00)
(5) Thirtysilverpieces

$2 Part-Wheel Exacta ($24.00)
4, 5, 9
3, 4, 5, 8, 9

$0.50 Part-Wheel Trifecta ($24.00)
4, 5, 9
3, 4, 5, 8, 9
2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9

$0.10 Part-Wheel Superfecta ($24.00)
4, 5, 9
3, 4, 5, 8, 9
2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9

Total Cost: $82.00

Juddmonte Spinster Stakes

Win and You're In race will be for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (Grade 1). Last year’s winner of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, Beholder, won her challenge race when she won the Zenyatta Stakes (Grade 1) last weekend at Santa Anita. The benefit for the winner of the Spinster Stakes will be that they will be going 2 turns at the 1 & 1/8th distance like they will face in the Distaff.

Close Hatches had been already earned her berth into the Distaff with her win in the Personal Ensign Handicap (Grade 1) at Saratoga on August 22nd. Last year’s winner Emollient entered the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (Grade 1) and finished a game 4th behind Dank (GB) by 1 length. We have 6 entrants on here with one of them being an international import.

1- Ria Antonia
Jockey: Paco Lopez
Trainer: Thomas Amoss

Paco Lopez gets on Ria Antonia for the first time for Amoss and she gets blinkers on for the first time as well. She comes off of a 4th place finish behind Don’t Tell Sophia and Molly Morgan who are entered here as well. Since the switch to Amoss as her trainer, she has been running slowly but improving races. She does have a work over the Keeneland dirt in :48 breezing over 4 furlongs. Amoss does have a 32% win rate when he adds blinkers on a horse and Ria Antonia did run that amazing Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (Grade 1) last year with blinkers on for the first time. She has all the potential, but I still have not seen that Ria Antonia in a long time. If she beats me, that will be fine by me.

2- Close Hatches (3/5)
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Trainer: William Mott

Close Hatches runs for the Juddmonte Farms who sponsors this race. If her amazing win streak does not impress you enough, you could love her based off of the fact that she improves her beyer every time 2nd off of a layoff. At 3/5 morning line, she does not offer any value for bettors. So because of that and 1 other reason, I made her my 2nd choice.

3- Got Lucky (15/1)
Jockey: Rosie Napravnik
Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Got Lucky will be stepping up in class by going up against older mares, but she has been facing the best of her 3 year old class over and over again. She comes out of the Alabama (Grade 1) at Saratoga where she finished a closing 5th by 2.75 lengths. She spotted the field 7.25 lengths at the start, but showed that she could not make up all that ground from 9th at the 1 & 1/4th distance. She cuts back to the 1 & 1/8th distance that has shown to be competitive at in her 3 starts before the Alabama. If Pletcher has figured out how to get her to break well out of the gate, she will be able to compete. Rosie Napravnik gets on her for the first time in Got Lucky’s 9th lifetime start. Her 2 lifetime wins are always off of a layoff, like she does in this start. I cannot say that I see her winning this race, but I believe she has a real chance to get a piece of it. I made her my 3rd choice.

4- Shuruq (5/1)
Jockey: Julien Leparoux
Trainer: Saeed bin Suroor

This international import comes off of a win in the Istanbul Trophy (G3) at the 1 mile turf distance where she carried 132 pounds and still won by 2.5 lengths. Since that race happened over the turf, I want to talk about her win in the Burj Nahaar (Grade 3) at Meydan over the synthetic track. She broke well in the 16 horse field and sat about 6th all the way around until Barzalona asked her to start going at about the 450 yard point. She closed like a train on the 2 horse who were about 3.5-4 lengths in front of her at the 400 yard mark. She ate up the ground and took the lead to win by 1.75 lengths over the other 2 Godolphin entrants. She galloped through the wire in extreme fashion and looked like she wanted more ground because she did not get into her real stride until 50-75 yards before the wire. Julian Leparoux showed that he can win with international horses when he won with a first time United States starter, Peace and War, in the Alcibiades on Friday. I would not usually bet a horse like her with a win-lose-win pattern with this being the race she should lose, but her work over the Keeneland dirt course tells me that Saeed bin Suroor has her ready. She worked 5 furlongs on 9/29 in :59.3 bullet breezing. Shuruq gets lasix for the first time in this start and off of that work, she will be my top choice. I think the 2013 UAE Oaks winner will love the added ground and the dirt.

5- Don’t Tell Sophia (9/2)
Jockey: Joseph Rocco, Jr.
Trainer: Philip Sims

Don’t Tell Sophia comes off of an off the pace win over Molly Morgan in the Locust. She won that race with Rocco Jr. and he comes back to ride again for Sims. Her last work was over the Keeneland dirt course on 9/28 in 1:00.1 bullet breezing over 5 furlongs. If history repeats itself for her, she will not win this race because last time Rocco Jr. rode her off of a win and she added more ground, she lost as the post time favorite. I think she will be closing to get a piece of it at the end, but will be out kicked by Shuruq and Got Lucky to try and run down Close Hatches. If something does go wrong or that one of those two other horses do not fire, I could realistically see Don’t Tell Sophia vying for the win. I will have her as my 4th choice in this start.

6- Molly Morgan (5/1)
Jockey: Corey Lanerie
Trainer: Dale Romans

Molly Morgan has been showing her stuff since her Fleur De Lis (Grade 2) win by 4 lengths at Churchill Downs over Flashy American and Fiftyshadesofhay. Corey Lanerie rode her to that win and in her most recent start where she could not out kick Don’t Tell Sophia. If I stick to my belief in patterns, she wins. If I try and make a case for her to win, I always come back to Close Hatches beating Princess of Sylmar in the Ogden Phipps (Grade 1) at Belmont Park. The reason why I come back to that race would be because Molly Morgan flattened out in the Delaware Handicap (Grade 1) when Princess of Sylmar finished 2nd. I understand that was at the 1 & 1/4th distance, but she seems to be regressing off of her Fleur De Lis win. I may be wrong, but I really have not been impressed with her after the Fleur De Lis. I will use her under, but I cannot see her winning.

Pace Prediction

Speed: Close Hatches
Pace: Ria Antonia, Got Lucky, Molly Morgan
Off Pace: Shuruq
Closer: Don’t Tell Sophia

Recommended Wagering ($100.00 Budget)

$10.00 Win & Show on: ($20.00)
(4) Shuruq

$2 Part Wheel Exacta ($24.00)
2, 4
2, 3, 4, 5

$1 Part Wheel Trifecta ($18.00)
2, 4
2, 3, 4, 5
2, 3, 4, 5, 6
$1 Part-Wheel Superfecta ($36.00)
2, 4
2, 3, 4, 5
2, 3, 4, 5, 6
2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Total Cost: $98.00

Antonio Tristino is a 21-year-old handicapper who grew up in the horse racing industry. His first experience at the racetrack was Arlington Park when he was 6 months old. Over the years, he's learned various ways to handicap Thoroughbred horse races, and combines these handicapping methods into his everyday analysis of Thoroughbred races. Tristino graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a double major in Entrepreneurship and Management in May 2014. Visit his blog at andotrist20.blogspot.com