Friday, February 28, 2014

Gotham Stakes 2014

AQUEDUCT - March 01, 2014
Race 9 - 4:17 PM
Gotham S.   (Grade III)
Purse - $500,000
Distance - One And One Sixteenth Miles
Surface - Dirt

1 – Noble Contender
1a – Samraat
2 – In Trouble
3 – Financial Mogul
4 – Uncle Sigh
5 – Monopolize
6 – Deceived
7 – Classic Giacnroll
8 – Extrasexyhippzster
9 – Master Lightning
10 - Harpoon

Hey there race fans – well Closing Speed is getting started a little late for the Triple Crown run this year – but the first race I’m covering promises to be an exciting one.

#1a Samraat and #4 Uncle Sigh are set for a rematch after finishing in a final stretch duel last month in the Withers Stakes here at Aqueduct.

Samraat exhibited fantastic poise in his last race as he stalked Uncle Sigh nearly the entire trip and pushed ahead for the victory in the last few furlongs. Samraat enters this race undefeated in four races.

As you’ll see in the video below Uncle Sigh may have pulled back a bit if he was uneasy about being pinned against the rail in the Withers. We’ll see if Uncle Sigh can find some breathing room this time around and improve when they head for home.

#2 In Trouble enters this race with some good news and some bad news – the good news is this horse has two victories in two races…..the bad news is he hasn’t raced for 153 days. 

Against this level of talent , and with his lack of experience I think a third place finish would be impressive.

#6 Deceived interests me as he enters this race after a victory in a recent allowance race – he had an absolutely horrible start in the Damon Runyon Stakes and I sense this horse has some good racing ahead. 

However in the Damon Runyon Stakes Samraat romped and Deceived wasn’t even in the same area code when Samraat hit the finish line……I like Deceived but he’ll need a lot of help to compete in this one.

Strangely Sensitive
Extra Sexy Cheetah
knows when you saw the words:
Extra Sexy, you immediately
thought of his
Extra Sexy Self.....Growl!
#8 Extrasexyhippzster has been BLAZING the racetrack over the past two races – and he has three victories in his past five races. He may end up being the 2nd favorite in this race when the gates open.

#10 Harpoon – Is currently going off at 10-1 odds and I think he’s extremely under bet! Don’t let his one victory in five attempts fool you…..he’s finished 2nd in the remaining four races and I think he’ll hit his stride as the races begin moving to longer distances.  In his last outing, the Sam Davis Stakes, he struggled with all kinds of traffic issues in the final turn and then in a blink he blew past four horses and closed about five or six lengths on the leader to lose by a nose. He's got a great starting position, and we'll see if he can pull off an upset.

I believe the race will unfold with Samraat and Extrasexyhippzster setting the pace – they may let Uncle Sigh take the lead and stalk him into the final turn, but I also believe they could shoot past him early and set a faster early pace.

As the race closes it is possible that Samraat, Extrasexyhippzster and/or Uncle Sigh will have set the pace too hot for the distance – and Harpoon would be in the perfect spot to take the victory away from the exhausted horses.

However from what I’ve seen from Samraat I don’t think he’ll get suckered into an early speed duel that leaves him gasping in the final furlong – I think either Extrasexyhippzster will have to beat him at his own game or Harpoon will wait in the middle of the pack and blow by them in the final few strides.

Then again I can also see Samraat winning this race by a neck -- he's got talent, patience and he knows this track. 

Weather permitting this should be a great race.

Closing Speed is swinging for the fences on the first pitch and likes: 
Harpoon – Samraat – Extrasexyhippster (10/1/8)
Another Race of interest is the Swale Stakes – as #1 Havana takes on #3 No Nay Never

Havana finished second in the Breeders Cup Back in November and is considered by many to be a promising Kentucky Derby prospect.

However No Nay Never has three victories, in three races….in THREE COUNTRIES! He’s beaten horses here in America, England and France – which is kind of badass! 

I think both of these horses could struggle – because they’ve had so much time off – Havana 119 days and No Nay Never 195….and it may be worth throwing some cash at #2 Can’t Stop the Kid or #4 Prudhoe Bay…..but I think (and hope) that this race will be about two major talents Havana and No Nay Never leaving everyone else in the dust. Should be a good one.