#2 Itsmyluckyday is set to close out his career in today’s Grade 1 Cigar Mile. After making a fairly miraculous recovery from serious injury sustained mid-way through his 3yo season, he has come back to the races better than ever this year, winning 4 of his 7 starts, including the Grade 1 Woodward at Saratoga, and finishing 2nd in the prestigious Whitney Handicap. He will be looking to rebound today from a disappointing loss as a heavy favorite in the Kelso Handicap, and we have reason to believe he may be in position to do so.
The key to this race may be the pace. Itsmyluckyday has always been a very handy horse to ride, and he had been on a good run this year while taking up a tracking position in the early stages of his races. For that reason, it was surprising to us to see him so overaggressively handled by Paco Lopez in the Kelso. Rather than take up his usual stalking trip, he was sent up early to contest the pace from between horses, and he was outfinished late. That was a disappointing performance from a horse who had not disappointed all year long. But we thought the ride had a lot to do with it, and we are going to give him a chance to rebound today.
To us, Pace Projector tells the story of this race. It does not project a fast pace in the Cigar Mile. But it does place the pair of Private Zone and Secret Circle, both stretching out from fine efforts in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, up on the pace together. And it indicates that Itsmyluckyday can be in that tracking position just behind them. That may be the key to his success, as well as his best chance to go out a winner in a very big race.