So I see the connections of Willy Beamin are at it again. For the second time in the past three months, the three-year-old son of Suave will attempt to wheel right back in a graded sprint just days removed from competing in a two-turn stakes race. The first time he did the deed, things could not have worked out any better. After scoring a runaway victory in Saratoga’s Albany Stakes at nine furlongs on August 22, the bay gelding came back three days later to pull an upset in the Grade 1 King’s Bishop Stakes over the same track. I was on record for having liked him that day, but I cannot say the same about his prospects on Thursday in the Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap. First off, I believe the seven furlong King’s Bishop was a perfect set-up for Willy Beamin. Dropping out of the restricted and two-turn Albany Stakes, he figured to be one of the benefactors of a speed laden field in the grade 1 affair. With all the speed in the King’s Bishop, many of the favorites figured to be withering late at the extended sprint distance of seven panels. Sure enough, fast, contested fractions ensued, and Willy Beamin was the one who most took advantage with a late-running, half-length score. My guess is Rick Dutrow will not be able to have him sharp enough, after a losing effort in Saturday’s Discovery Handicap to handle the older tigers he will be facing on Thursday at the shorter distance of three-quarters of a mile, especially considering he will likely not get the ideal pace scenario he enjoyed at Saratoga.
I also wonder about his sharpness, now nearly three months later. In the King’s Bishop, he was still relatively a fresh horse, having had only six races this year prior to the grade 1 test, and all of them coming in much easier races. Since then, he has had three hard races: the win at Saratoga, a trip out to Remington Park, (running a good 2nd in the Oklahoma Derby) and the recent second place finish in the Discovery. His defeat at low odds on Saturday was by no means a poor performance, but it sends him into Thursday’s race on less than the high he came in on in his last short rest attempt. The 133 pound impost, which makes him the relative highweight considering the allowance scale given to sophomores, also does him no favors.
Most importantly from a wagering standpoint, the difference from the King’s Bishop and the Fall Highweight will be night and day. In the deep Saratoga field, Willy Beamin was let go at the most attractive odds of 11-1. At the time, bettors not only questioned his class, but they also doubted his ability to come back after such a short rest. Things are different this time. His class is established, and now the quick turnaround will be seen as a key angle. Those great odds in the King’s Bishop are sure to be transformed into a major underlay on Thursday.
In short, play Willy Beamin at your own risk in the Fall Highweight. I will be taking the El Paso stance on him this time.