Last year saw European trainer Aidan O’Brien stage a slight coup to win the Grade 1 Man o’ War Stakes with Cape Blanco.
This year, his charge will be favored.
The vaunted Treasure Beach is back in North America in hopes of securing his first victory since last year’s Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park. The son of Galileo finished a good fourth in the Dubai Sheema Classic two back before failing in Sha Tin’s Queen Elizabeth II Cup. He scored a career best win in last year’s Irish Derby and his earnings of $2,267,749 dwarf those of any other horse in the race.
European turf horses typically prove to be inherently better than their American counterparts. It will take a special effort to take down Treasure Beach in this spot. Jamie Spencer is making the trip across the pond to ride the 9-5 favorite.
Todd Pletcher’s Hudson Steele could be the biggest threat to the chalk at morning line odds of 5-1. Two back he was a stalking winner of the Dixie Stakes. He followed that effort up by finish fourth in the Manhattan Handicap after making the lead. The gelding figures to make a lonely lead once again and that would make him dangerous. Joe Bravo is listed to ride. Pletcher and Bravo are three for four in graded stakes company this year.
Newsdad could win this event if he runs one of his “A” type races. The 4-1 shot has shown tremendous talent on the turf and was rewarded with his first graded stakes win two back in the Grade 2 Pan American at Gulfstream Park. He followed that effort up with a flop in the Elkhorn at Keeneland. We should forgive that effort because he found himself in a somewhat unnatural spot on the lead. New jockey Junior Alvarado figures to keep him behind horses in this race. Bill Mot trains the son of Arch.
Point of Entry will receive plenty of support from bettors as he is the 5-2 second choice on the line. The son of prolific sire Dynaformer is a winner of three of his last four outings including the Elkhorn in his last trip to the track. Jockey Jose Lezcano is picking up the mount for trainer Shug McGaughey. He figures to sit in the back of the pack and make one big run near the end of the race. Recent form says he is clearly a top contender.
Ken McPeek brings 15-1 chance Tahoe Lake to the races. He was last seen finishing up the track in an optional claiming race. A chance against softer company would probably do him some good. Eddie Castro is listed to ride.
Center Divider, Game Ball and Philly Ace round out the field.