Head-to-Head: Handicapping the 2022 Remsen Stakes

Head-to-Head: Handicapping the 2022 Remsen Stakes
Photo: NYRA

The Grade 2, $250,000 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct offers 2-year-olds the chance to compete at 1 1/8 miles for the first time in a stakes. The top four finishers will earn points of 10-4-3-2-1 toward inclusion in the 2023 Kentucky Derby.

During the last decade, colts who placed in the Remsen also affected the Kentucky Derby superfecta. Zandon (2021) and Mucho Macho Man (2010) finished third in Kentucky, and Frosted (2014), Wicked Strong (2013) and Normandy Invasion (2012) finished fourth. The last colt to pull off the Remsen/Kentucky Derby double was Thunder Gulch in 1994.

Fast forward to this year, where seven colts will compete in Saturday's seventh race, with a post time of 2:44 p.m. EST. There’s an 88 percent chance of rain showers throughout the day.

Laurie Ross of Pedigree Power and Ashley Tamulonis of Coast To Coast sort out the contenders from the pretenders.

Laurie

Ashley

1.   Il Miracolo (4-1)

After finishing second three consecutive times, Il Miracolo broke through to win his fourth start by 5 1/2 lengths. His Brisnet speed ratings improved in each start, and he is bred to improve with maturity. Il Miracolo is bred on the potent Gun Runner/Tapit cross, which produced Cotillion (G1) heroine Society and multiple graded winner Wicked Halo. Antonio Sano, trainer of Gunnevera and Simplification, thinks Il Miracolo deserves a shot at nine furlongs and a chance to pick up some Kentucky Derby points. But over the last five years, Sano wins with 7 percent and hits the board with 15 percent of juvenile shippers. Toss.

 

It took Miracolo four attempts to find the winner’s circle, but he finished second, albeit beaten by open lengths, in his first three starts. All of those races were at Gulfstream, so he’ll be shipping for this race. While the Gun Runner colt gets a jockey upgrade to Javier Castellano, trainer Antonio Sano is winning graded stakes at only a 3 percent clip and winning with shippers at a 7 percent rate. Use underneath.

 

2.   Tuskegee Airmen (9-5)

Tuskegee Airmen outclassed the competition in both starts, including the Rocky Run Stakes at Delaware, where he blitzed Midnight Trouble by 3 1/4 lengths. Additionally, both races earned a 90+ speed rating. Sounds good, right? Maybe not. The John Servis trainee didn’t like being between horses during the Rocky Run Stakes and wanted to back up. Kudos to Paco Lopez for aggressively pushing Tuskegee Airmen forward. Justify’s son lost momentum briefly while eyeing the competitor to his outside. Lopez moved Tuskegee Airmen to the rail, and the colt picked up the pace. He hesitated slightly while passing Midnight Trouble, but once by that rival, he drew off with his ears pricked. Tuskegee Airmen is by Street Sense out of a Medaglia d'Oro mare and should love extra distance. His multiple graded-winning second dam is a half-sister to War Front. Tuskegee Airmen is running on talent. Once he figures it out, he could be formidable. Contender.

 

A son of Street Sense, Tuskegee Airmen is undefeated in two starts. He won his debut at Parx by 5 1/2 lengths and won the Rocky Run at Delaware Park by 3 1/4 lengths. Both Brisnet speed ratings were in the low 90s, and the 93 he earned in his debut is the best in the field. Contender.

 

3.   Prove Right (6-1)

With eight starts under his girth, Prove Right has more experience than the rest of the field and more than many graded winners have when they retire. The James Chapman trainee stretched out to a mile in the Nashua in his last start. He set average fractions but began to tire after getting six furlongs in 1:11. Prove Right noticeably slowed and swished his tail when encouraged by Jose Ortiz. Justify’s son kept trying but was passed in the shadow of the wire. Prove Right is out of a three-quarter sister to multiple Grade 1 sprinter/miler Goldencents. Prove Right’s speed figures are low, and he’ll have to improve to run with this group. Toss.

 

This son of Triple Crown winner Justify already has eight starts to his name. He won at second asking but performed poorly in stakes company in starts three and four. Trainer James Chapman dropped him into allowance company where he went 3: 1-1-0. In his most recent start, he finished a close third in the Nashua (G3) here at Aqueduct. Unfortunately for this colt, his Brisnet speed ratings have been poor, with a 79 being the best he’s ever earned. Additionally, Chapman hasn’t won a graded stakes in 15 attempts this year. Pass.

 

4.   Arctic Arrogance (4-1)

Arctic Arrogance steps into open company after three starts against New York-breds. The Linda Rice trainee ran away from them in the Sleepy Hollow by 4 1/2 lengths and looks to improve on his sire Frosted’s second-place finish in the 2014 Remsen. The pretty gray colt fired a pre-race bullet five furlongs in 1:01, so he should be on his toes for the Remsen. Arctic Arrogance does his best work on the lead, but he might not get the uncontested lead he enjoyed in his three previous starts with other speed in the field. Still have to consider him as a contender.

Arctic Arrogance enters open company for the first time in his career. A son of Frosted, he won his debut, finished second in the Bertram F. Bongard, and won the Sleepy Hollow, with the latter two races contested at Aqueduct. He has won on fast and muddy surfaces, and his best Brisnet speed figures fit with the best in the field. Trainer Linda Rice and jockey Jose Lezcano have been winning together at a 19 percent rate and have done particularly well in the last 14 days. Contender.

 

5.   Midnight Trouble (6-1)

Midnight Trouble has hit the board in all six starts, and his speed ratings improved in his last three outings. He’s been hit or miss at Delaware and was no match for Tuskegee Airmen in the Rocky Run. But by Midnight Lute, out of a daughter of Harlan’s Holiday, Midnight Trouble may find 1 1/8 miles at the top of his distance range. On the plus side, Peter Walder’s charges hit the board 33 percent of the time after the trainer switch. Exotics.

 

Midnight Trouble has never been out of the trifecta in six career starts. It did take him three attempts to break his maiden, but since then, he finished a close third in the First State Dash and second to Tuskegee Airmen in the Rocky Run. Since the Rocky Run, Midnight Trouble has been transferred from Anthony Pecoraro’s barn to Peter Walder’s. Midnight Trouble’s best Brisnet speed ratings have been in the 80s, not enough to get the job done. Pass.

 

6.   Quick to Accuse (10-1)

Quick to Accuse looked like a good thing winning his second start by 9 3/4 lengths against restricted maidens, but he had to settle for a distant second place in the Sleepy Hollow after a three to four-wide trip. Quick to Accuse is by Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Accelerate out of a Grade 3-winning miler. His half-brother Mr. Buff is a multiple-stakes winner at 1 1/8 miles. Exotics.

 

Quick to Accuse is another who enters open company for the first time. He ran a credible fourth upon debut despite the slop before winning by nearly 10 lengths in his second start on a fast track. Most recently he was second behind Arctic Arrogance in the Sleepy Hollow. That gave him a 2: 1-1-0 record at Aqueduct. Trainer Horacio De Paz and jockey Manny Franco have been striking at a 29 percent rate, and De Paz has a 21 percent success rate with routes. Could be one to watch. Live long shot.

 

7.   Dubyuhnell (5-1)

After finishing a distant fourth behind eventual Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) winner Instant Coffee, Dubyuhnell returned to outclass maidens by 2 1/2 lengths over a sloppy Aqueduct track. The Danny Gargan trainee impressed with his wide trip, going eight-wide around the turn and finding another gear in the stretch to mow down the tiring pacesetters late. By champion 2-year-old Good Magic out of multiple graded-winning sprinter Wild Gams, Dubyuhnell is a half to 2020 Bashford Manor winner Cazadero and could handle the extra distance. Gargan trained Tax to a third-place finish in the 2019 Remsen. Exotics.

 

Bred by Stonestreet, this son of Good Magic out of the multiple graded-stakes winner Wild Gams, Dubyuhnell, slang for Washington and Lee University, was fourth upon debut behind eventual Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) winner Instant Coffee. The colt then won his second start in an off-the-turf mile event at Aqueduct in the slop. His Brisnet speed rating jumped from a 79 in his debut to an 83 in his second start, but he’ll need to take another step forward to compete with the best in this field. With his breeding, you have to take a long look at him. Contender.

 

Final thoughts

Laurie: In the last decade, favorites have won 30 percent of the time and finished out of the trifecta only once. All Remsen winners finished in the top four in their previous start, with 60 percent winning their last race and 60 percent prepped in a stakes.

Pacesetters and pressers dominate the Remsen.

Arctic Arrogance and Tuskegee Airmen appear closely matched. Both won their preps in relatively the same final time and earned the same speed rating. But Arctic Arrogance gets the nod for his professionalism because Tuskegee Airmen is still trying to get his act together and is running on raw talent.

Ashley: All seven of these colts are trying 1 1/8 miles for the first time. Il Miracolo, Prove Right, Arctic Arrogance, Midnight Trouble and Quick to Accuse all like to set the pace or be close to it. So far, only Arctic Arrogance has shown that he will always go for the lead. Tuskegee Airmen has never had anyone finish close to him and does have the highest Brisnet speed rating in the field, but I do think he’s beatable.

Selections

                Laurie

           Ashley

#4 Arctic Arrogance (4-1)

#7 Dubyuhnell (5-1)

#2 Tuskegee Airmen (9-5)

#4 Arctic Arrogance (4-1)

#7 Dubyuhnell (5-1)

#2 Tuskegee Airmen (9-5)

#6 Quick to Accuse (10-1)

#6 Quick to Accuse (10-1)



Meet Ashley Tamulonis

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, which led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation covering racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues and, from time to time, offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry. A move North to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the From Coast to Coast blog for HRN. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband, Chris, and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.

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