Yeah! Come sail away with me! I’m very excited to give you the preview of the return of the Sixty Sails Handicap. The race will be run this Saturday at Hawthorne Race Course in Chicago.
This race is for fillies and mares, three years old and upward, running a distance of 9 furlongs on the Hawthorne dirt course. This Grade 3 race has been run since 1976 and has seen its share of great female runners including Queen of Song, Peach of It, Crafty Oak, Fleet Indian, and most recently Life at Ten. Crafty Oak, mother of Illinois Champion Giant Oak, has the stake record of 1:46.3 which was set in 1999. Hawthorne has hosted this race since 2004. Let’s take a closer look at this year’s field and see if we can pick a winner!
Connections: Romans / Emigh
Analysis: Winning trainer Dale Romans sends this 5-year-old mare to Chicago in hopes of winning this Grade 3 stake. She has been on the shelf since November 24th where she finished 2nd in the Fall City Handicap at Churchill Downs (which was also her first time at this stake’s distance). She has yet to finish off the board since being trained by Romans and jockey Chris Emigh is no stranger to riding this horse either as he has a victory with her in an allowance race at Hoosier. She has been posting some good workouts recently and we’ll see what we get from her 2012 debut.
Interesting Fact: This horse is coming off of her lifetime best Beyer of 90.
#2 - She’s All In (22-10-5-2) - Include-Georgia Ok by Hickory Ridge
Connections: Von Hemel / Quinonez
Analysis: Here’s a horse that we have to take a very close look at in this race. In her last start, she finished second to Tiz Miz Sue in the Grade 3 Azeri at Oaklawn back in March. She has run all of her 2012 races on Oaklawn’s deep, tiring track so she should be very fit coming into Hawthorne for this race. She has improved in every start so far this year and I don’t think there’s a reason to believe that she can’t provide a great effort again here. She should be on or near the lead in this race and that might not be a bad place to be.
Interesting Fact: She’s All In is also coming off of a lifetime best Beyer of 97 in the Azeri!
#3 - Beloveda (21-9-6-0) - Ghostzapper-Mysterious Angel by Saint Ballado
Connections: Wolfson / Hamilton
Analysis: This 4-year-old filly ships in from Florida and is no stranger to Chicago. Last year she ran in some optional and open claiming races before being turned over to trainer Tom Amoss. Tom took her to Indiana and Louisiana and achieved 3 wins in 4 races. Then, once trainer Marty Wolfson took over she has climbed the ranks into graded stakes company. Her last race was a decent second place finish in the Rampart stakes at Gulfstream on March 31st. Away from the turf this horse has posted an amazing record of 14-9-3-0 and has won 6 or her last 8 races. She posted a bullet workout at Calder on April 15th and, if she can hold it together, can most definitely contend in this race.
Interesting Fact: Since June 21st, her two starts on turf were the only races where she didn’t finish 1st or 2nd!
#4 - Juanita (15-5-3-3) - Mineshaft-Wishful Splendor by Smart Strike
Connections: Maker / Torres
Analysis: This versatile front-runner seems to be able to win on both turf and dirt. Her most recent victory came in the Grade 2 Indiana Oaks back in October where she took the field gate to wire to win by an impressive 4 lengths! Since then she hasn’t quite gotten it together in her last 4 races. Don’t let that fool you however as she lost to a couple of very good horses by the names of Joyful Victory and in her last race to horse of the year Havre de Grace. Hawthorne leading jockey Francisco Torres gets the mount here for trainer Mike Maker so we’ll see if Torres can get to the lead and try to slow down the pace.
Interesting Fact: Juanita is the fourth of eight horses in this field coming off a lifetime best Beyer!
Connections: Pletcher / Geroux
Analysis: There is no doubt that this horse will be bolting out of the gate. She does have an impressive record as she’s only finished off the board once and that was in the Cotillion stakes at Parx where she got into the trouble. She’s been on break since March 3rd where she finished second to superstar It’s Tricky in the Top Flight stakes on a muddy Aqueduct track. The pedigree fits and she can get the 9 furlongs. She will be one to watch here.
Interesting Fact: Todd Pletcher and Florent Geroux have teamed up one other time in recent history and that was a $12.60 winner!
#6 - One Last Dance (7-3-0-1) - Officer-Galloping Gal by Victory Gallop
Connections: Reavis / Thornton
Analysis: Mike Reavis takes over training duties of this four year old filly as she makes her Chicago debut here. This will be the toughest test of her career in terms of class level and I also wonder about her being able to get 9 furlongs. Still, when Reavis and local favorite jockey Tim Thornton team up they win at a 20% rate together. This horse has run on a variety of surfaces and it seems that dirt may be her favorite (3-2-0-0 record.) With all of the front speed, this race could set up well for her.
Interesting Fact: Trainer Mike Reavis has a ROI of $2.91 with horses running their second race off of a break.
#7 - Arena Elvira (13-8-3-2) - Ghostzapper-Two Item Limit by Twining
Connections: Mott / Lezcano
Analysis: If there is one horse in this field that knows how to win, Arena Elvira is it. She has won 5 in a row, included against graded stakes company and has been working very well for trainer Bill Mott. She can certainly handle the distance as well since she has won four in a row at 9 furlongs. In my mind there really isn’t anything not to like about this horse. On top of all this, Bill Mott sends familiar rider Jose Lezcano to Chicago to ride in this race.
Interesting Fact: This horse’s record at the 9 furlong distance is 5-4-1-0!
#8 - Distorted Love (29-3-3-3) - Distorted Humor-Any for Love by Southern Halo
Connections: Pitts / Homeister Jr
Analysis: Welcome to Chicago Rosemary Homeister! Helen Pitts sends this three-time winner and 6 year old mare to run in this year’s Sixty Sails. This horse has run against tougher company in losses to Havre de Grace, Joyful Victory, and Cherokee Queen. However, she hasn’t won since early 2011 in first level allowance races. I’m not sure she fits here based on class level, but with the expected pace scenario this horse could jump up and get a piece of the action.
Interesting Fact: All three of these horse’s wins have been on dirt.
Expected pace scenario:
Wow. There is a ton of up front speed in this race, and some of this speed has the class to go along with it. Though, I am expecting a speedy pace duel here between Juanita and Love and Pride. Based on this alone I think the winner will come from off the pace or mid-pack. I estimate that this is where Afleeting Lady, She’s All In, Beloveda, and Arena Elvira will be. I expect these four to be charging home down the long Hawthorne stretch for the victory.
There are a few ways to go with this very nice field, but my choice will be Arena Elvira. This horse knows how to win and she has proven that she can get the distance.
There you have it, the exclusive Chicago Dark Horse preview of the return of the Grade 3 Sixty Sails Handicap!
Who is your choice?