Analysis: It's worth taking a Shotski in the Remsen Stakes

December 05, 2019 03:23pm
Analysis: It's worth taking a Shotski in the Remsen Stakes
Photo: Courtesy of Laurel Park
Given no current stars are present in Saturday's Grade 2, $250,000 Remsen Stakes (G2), Aqueduct's feature for 2-year-olds is wide open on paper. The contest runs at nine furlongs, which also provides most from this age group their first real stamina test.

With those points in mind, Shotski looks like an exciting option at 15-1 on the morning line, with the selection based on his likely staying power and potential to lay up close to the pace.

Shotski made his successful dirt debut at Laurel Park, winning his maiden race back in October by four lengths while earning a 100 TimeformUS Speed Figure.

The maiden victory gave Shotski's connections enough confidence to enter him in the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs, and he ended up mild fourth at 21-1. But there are a couple of positive notes to point out about his run.

For one, Shotski displayed some decent tactical speed early on, never falling more than three lengths off the leader, Silver Prospector.

Because Shotski secured a good close-range position outside, he also got a clear run around the turn to make his move. He rallied briefly to pull up alongside the leaders while four-wide and then began to stall on the turn.

Despite a pause in his run, Shotski remained in the mix heading into midstretch. South Bend and Fighting Seabee passed him on both sides, but Shotski never quit and inched closer to a tired Silver Prospector in third before the wire. Silver Prospector returned to win the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) last Saturday, albeit by using different tactics.

Shotski earned a 100 on TimeformUS in the Street Sense, backing up his triple-digit Laurel figure at Churchill Downs.

The top TimeformUS figure in this race belongs to Informative, who ran an incredible 110 when second as a maiden in the James F. Lewis III Stakes at Laurel Park. Trusting big Laurel numbers is difficult, though, after watching horses such as Alwaysmining and Hoffa's Union within the last year.

Informative needs to prove himself first outside of Laurel, as Shotski did in the Street Sense.
The number deviated too far from his norm.

Assuming the 110 is a tossout until proven again, the real measuring stick is Chase Tracker with the second-highest figure, as he ran a 103 TimeformUS figure in his successful career debut at Parx Racing.

He also repeated the number in the Nashua Stakes (G3).

Chase Tracker did finish 13 ¼ lengths behind Independence Hall. But forget about that margin for second, because the winner is a potential superstar -- and, again, there aren't any of those that have already revealed themselves in the Remsen.

Chase Tracker made a nice move while five-wide around the turn. He continued on in the stretch, losing second by a length to Meru. As a sidenote, Meru ran a 114 in his previous start.

Now trainer Todd Pletcher decides to add blinkers to Chase Tracker, which might help him show more early foot in this paceless affair.

He is a contender
and the second choice in this analysis.

The other horse to discuss is Cleon Jones. He finished second by a head to Captain Bombastic in the one-mile Sleepy Hollow Stakes and won the Bertram F. Bongard, with both of those races restricted to New York-breds.

Despite the weaker company, Cleon Jones posted a 99 on TimeformUS in the Sleepy Hollow, which is competitive here. As stated above, Chase Tracker ran a 103 in both of his starts, bringing him within range of his closest competitors.

Also, Cleon Jones moved gradually toward the leader. Generally, that is a good sign the horse wants a longer distance.

While it is a negative that Irad Oritz Jr. needed to ride him hard until the end, he lost to a potentially good horse in Captain Bombastic. 

Furthermore, Cleon Jones sports a surprising European pedigree underneath with at least one notable route influence, the German-bred Martessa. She captured the 1991 Prix de l'Opera back when it was a Group 2 event.

Given Cleon Jones runs like a grinder at shorter distances and sports a routing pedigree, he should handle the nine furlongs.

The one strike against Cleon Jones, if any, is that TimeformUS Pace Projector places him in eighth in the initial stages, well behind the speed.

To touch on a few others,  Forza Di Oro is the favorite on the morning line, but looks too slow to win using TimeformUS' scale. His odds are possibly inaccurate given the numbers, more influenced by his connections. If Forza Di Oro's odds manage to drift up, then he is more attractive.

Ajaweed did beat Forza Di Oro by four lengths last time. Similar to Forza Di Oro, his numbers are too low in relation to his 9/2 odds. But he is good as an underneath option if Joel Rosario can get the right trip.

Alpha Sixty Six gives the impression he wants to go shorter, even though connections insist he can "run all day." Notice how he won his career debut in a sprint and then failed to make a dent in the Champagne Stakes (G1). He also comes from a precocious family and suffered when off slowly last time.

Like Forza Di Oro and Ajaaweed, Alpha Sixty Six is useful underneath.

This isn't the greatest Remsen field in terms of talent, but it is a good one for bettors. With the paceless scenario and some interesting longshots, it's certainly one to play.

Considering Shotski is trained by a young conditioner in Jeremiah O'Dwyer, he is likely to hold his value at double-digits. He is the top choice in this analysis, with respect given to Chase Tracker and the New-York-bred Cleon Jones.

2019 Remsen (G2)


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Meet Reinier Macatangay

My first time at the racetrack came as a 5-year-old kid at Santa Anita Park. For most of my younger life, that was the only track I attended other the occasional visit to Hollywood Park. 

Years later, after graduating California State University, Stanislaus with an English MA, I began writing for Lady and the Track. From late 2014-2016, my articles were seen on a weekly basis and covered handicapping, interviews with well-known racing personalities, fashion and more. 

The handicapping style I use concentrates on pace analysis. Some horses are compromised by the pace. Others are helped. Handicappers just starting out cannot easily see how pace affects the finish, so with this blog, I hope to help those unsure of how to apply pace into their handicapping and post-race analysis. 

On an unrelated note, I enjoy video games and attending anime or comic-book conventions. I am currently based in Kentucky, but spend a lot of time traveling between there and California.

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