A contentious field of eight has gathered to try to win the Grade 1 $300,000 King’s Bishop Stakes over seven furlongs on the main track at Saratoga Racecourse. Last year’s race was won by Visionaire. Prior to that, Hard Spun took the race. The list of stars to have competed in this event is a mile long, and this years winner will certainly have a bright future.
Munnings is the morning line favorite at odds of 2-1. Though he is much hyped, he has yet to win a Grade 1 race. His last trip to the track was a third place finish in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational. That was too far for the son of Speightstown to run, and he should perform better while returning to a sprint distance. The best win for Munnings to date came in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens at Belmont Park.
Todd Pletcher is concerned about the rail draw for Munnings. Nobody wants the rail, especially when sprinting. Great horses overcome problems and I’ve heard only the highest of praise for Munnings. If he is as good as everyone thinks he is then it shouldn’t cost him the win. I’ll look elsewhere for my winner, but I’m certainly giving a big look to this one with John Velazquez in the irons.
I’ve grown fond of Big Drama. He is quite a temperamental horse as he proved prior to the start of the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes, and last out in the Grade 3West Virginia Derby. I love his early zip and the stubbornness that he shows to win races. He went crazy on the front end and wasn’t able to hold off Soul Warrior in the West Virginia Derby, but should do well turning back in distance. The son of Montbrook would be a perfect three for three at the distance if not for an iffy disqualification in the Grade 2 Swale Stakes.
He has enough early speed to be close or to take the lead. I expect jockey Eibar Coa to try and go wire to wire. This colt always shows up with a strong race. His only off the board finish came against fierce competition in the Preakness Stakes, where he ended up fifth. I’d like to see him calm before the race. He clearly holds a strong hand for trainer David Fawkes.
Vineyard Haven is the only Grade 1 winner in the race, but will be making his first start since finishing fourth in Dubai back in February. The son of Lido Palace has been training here at Saratoga since early July, but will probably be a bit short coming off the shelf. He has good early speed, but his running style might have changed since his freshman campaign. I won’t be using him on top.
There was a split second when I thought Capt. Candyman Can might run Quality Road down last out in the Grade 2 Amsterdam Stakes. The gelding ran a strong race, but was not able to get by Quality Road. The gelded son of Candy Ride has never lost at this distance and looks primed for a peak effort.
This will be a good one for horse betting. I’ll go with Big Drama at 3-1. Who do you like in the King’s Bishop Stakes?