Santa Anita, Race 9, 7:16 pm ET
The Frank E. Kilroe Mile, Grade 1, One Mile, Turf, Four-Year-Olds and Up
The Kilroe Mile has attracted a field of eight runners, six of whom exit the Grade 2 Arcadia, which was won in the most stylish fashion by the morning line favorite in today’s race, Suggestive Boy. Indeed, his effort was so impressive visually that it’s difficult to see any of his rivals that day reversing the form. However, it is worth noting that while Suggestive Boy looked every bit a champion in that race, his speed figure, a 113, represented a decline of 13 points from his previous effort and, if repeated, would probably not be fast enough to win today’s race.
Mr. Commons enters this race off a four-month layoff for trainer John Shirreffs, who is excellent at training horses up to races, while Mr. Commons has run well when fresh in the past. In his last three races, he has earned speed figures of 129, 127, and 128, the last of those in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, when he was beaten only three lengths by Wise Dan. Yes, his outside post position can be a negative at this distance, but his new rider, Corey Nakatani, has performed more than his fair share of ground-saving heroics on turf courses over his long career, so it may not be a big problem.
Mr Commons has been training regularly and fast. He is in the hands of a supremely talented horseman. He is talented and honest. At the morning line odds, he is the selection.
Aqueduct, Race 10, 5:02pm ET
The Gotham, Grade 3, One Mile and 1/16, Inner Dirt, Three-Year-Olds
Morning line favorite Overanalyze is marooned out in post position number 12 in a race that begins near the first turn, with several other speedy runners to his inside. Although he has plenty of form in this grade and even higher, that post position draw and his early running style harm Overanalyze’s chances to such an extent that it appears wise to look elsewhere.
Siete de Oros is the key horse. Two starts back, he ran a field-best 121 speed figure with the addition of blinkers in the Jerome (Vyjack beat him by a head that day, but will now have to carry 7 lb more here as a result). Siete de Oros was a good third in the Withers last time out after receiving an aggressive ride. With Angel Arroyo, who was the leading rider at Parx in 2012, back in the saddle, Siete de Oros can do better still here.
For exotic wagering purposes, Overanalyze must be used despite the terrible post position draw. His performance in the Remsen Stakes was arguably the best performance by any two year-old on dirt last year. He stalked a strong early pace and courageously fought back to beat perfect-tripper Normandy Invasion after being passed by that deep closer in the stretch. The Remsen went more than two full seconds faster than the fillies ran in the Grade 2 Demoiselle over the same course and distance 30 minutes earlier. Overanalyze earned a stellar 114 speed figure at a nine-furlong distance over which juveniles often struggle to run their best speed figures. He will need to be much the best to win, but he can be expected to get into the mix.
An intriguing longshot in the race is the maiden Champion Boy. He is 30-1 on the morning line and might be closer to double that. Trainer Juan Carlos Guerrero, who boasts a staggering 32% strike-rate since 2010, is again spotting this son of Big Brown with uncharacteristic aggressiveness. Last time he ran, Champion Boy seemed to have been thrown to the wolves, but he wasn’t disgraced by any means and seemed still to be green, too, giving hope of a better performance with that experience behind him. He draws the coveted rail post today and will certainly benefit a lot from the pace dynamics. This huge longshot has a chance to take advantage of circumstances and sneak into the exotics.