The first Kentucky Derby points race of the season is now upon us. The Iroquois Stakes which will be run tonight at Churchill Downs under the lights has been moved up to early September and takes over as the first race to award points for the Derby to the top four finishers. I like the change as it will start and end 'the trail' all in the same place, which seems fitting. This race being at a mile and 1/16 will really test these horses and start to weed out the contenders from the pretenders.
Last years winner Uncaptured was a very strong horse, but a 10th place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes really knocked him off the trail. He's been racing well since then and just finished 3rd in the Grade III Smarty Jones Stakes on 9/2. Other notable horses that won this race in the past include Capt Candyman Can, Court Vision, and perhaps the most famous Harlans Holiday. The winner of the race will receive 10 points, which isn't much but its a nice start. PPs and my picks are below
Horses to Watch:
3 - Rise Up - This horse won the Mountaineer Juvenile Stakes last time out very easily and put up a very impressive speed figure in dong so (95). He's been training very well headed into this race and looks to be a top contender.
4- Tapiture - Tapiture has only ever raced once before finishing second in a Maiden race up in Saratoga. Looking back at that race though the winner Strong Mandate came back to romp in the Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga on Labor Day. If Tapiture can bounce out of that race the same way Strong Mandate did he may be unbeatable here.
7 - Solemnly Swear - Took 3 tries to break his maiden but when he did, he did so convincingly, winning by 8 1/2 lengths at Monmouth on 8/11. That race was run at a distance of 1 mile, so the extra 1/16 shouldn't hinder this horse. The second place finisher on 8/11 came back to win next time out.
9 - Ride On Curlin - The Morning Line favorite in this race put up an incredible 102 speed figure last time out while winning by almost 8 lengths. He's raced twice and in both races other top finishers have come out of their respective races and won so it looks like he faced good competition. The negative against this horse is he's had trouble breaking from the gate and against a field of this caliber he will need to break strong.
My Pick to Win: 9 Ride On Curlin
My Pick to Place: 3 Rise Up
My Pick to Show: 7 Solemnly Swear
Fourth: 4 Tapiture