Ohio – 01/20/2018 – G2 The Buckeye Stayer
Bundle up if you plan on watching this battle of open company colts trying to weather this two-mile marathon across a chilled but fast labeled ground here in Ohio. It’ll be 39 degrees upon post time, but the breathtaking action down on the dirt will surely get the heart rate to increase, thus will warm up the stadium in anticipation of whom will cross the finish line first. Let’s take a look at the contenders…..
$375,000 Grade 2 The Buckeye Stayer (Post Time 2:10pm EST) 4yr Olds and up 16 Furlongs – Dirt
#1 POINT N SHOOT (9/2) – by Smart Strike, out of G3 winning mare Smash N Grab (Deep Impact). Comes in off of a second place finish in the G2 Grey Fox over in Belgium. Doesn’t visit the states too often, but when he does, he and trainer dirtriot, make a huge splash. Visited Florida in the summertime of this past year and romped his way to a 4.25 length win over this same distance. Been facing the top competition, so he has the class. Needs not to be too far back to race himself into contention here.
#2 EMOTION FREE (6-1) – by Arch, out of allowance winning mare Emotionalism (Quality Road). Trainer scoregon6 simply said to us earlier “we’re looking for a repeat of last year”. This 6yr old is looking to repeat last years 4 length win in this contest. Times of lately haven’t been as nice to him though. Loser of 7 straight since and trying to be woken up with the turf to dirt angle. His last two attempts have produced his lowest SP ratings in quite some time. May need the dirt back, or some rest…. We’ll see.
#3 ORB OF MYSTERY (7-1) – by Orb, out of G1 winning millionaire Seattle In Summer (Curlin). Been on a roll as of late, showing three straight, hard charging victories. One of which was the G2 Rocky Top Derby in Virginia. Last three wins were by a combined 11.25 lengths. Only true hiccup on the sheets for this fella was when he gave up the normal feed bag and switched to yum cha and char siu in his visit to Hong Kong in July. Will be heard from in the lanes late as this one nears the finish.
#4 THOUSAND STEPS (11-1) – by Harlan’s Holiday, scratch bred to a mare out of (Dubai Millennium). Looms a longshot as he hasn’t been closer than 21.25 lengths to the winner in any of his last 4 attempts around the oval. Only one effort posted an SP of over 100 last year and that was on 6/24, the Razorback Route, where he closed for second, beaten 3.5 lengths. Looks to me as if he has lost a step or two. Comes back after one of his shorter breaks between races. Not sure I can back this one.
#5 LIMESTONE (5/2) – by Malibu Moon, scratch bred to a mare out of (Pleasant Colony). Trainer newmarket5 brings in the reigning Breeders Bowl Dirt Marathon Champion for his first start in his 5yr old campaign. Sports back to back G1 winning efforts in stunning fashion. There doesn’t seem to be much pace here, so his tactical speed is a real advantage to all the hard closers. Not a stretch that he could see an easy lead, or be just off a slow pace. Race sets up for him unless someone goes uncharacteristically fast out the gate. The one to beat.
#6 MALICIOUS HF (10-1) – by Palace Malice, scratch bred to a mare out of (Broad Brush). Was scooped up by trainer legendary2 after being entered in a 5k claimer just 5 starts ago. He’s paid quick dividends as he has been in the money in all 4 races for new trainer, including 2 wins and a hard closing second last out in a listed stakes in Idaho. Seems up against it as he’s facing the toughest competition of his career, but I will note, he’s improving each start out. Out of the clouds closer will look to pick up the pieces in the end.
#7 COMEBACK POWER (7/2) – by Camelot, out of stakes placed mare Chill Dynamo (Teofilo). Put in a career best effort when last seen on dirt, 3 starts ago in the G3 The Premier. Ran a 120SP that day in come from behind fashion. Clearly didn’t enjoy the grass in his last two starts. Gets back to his better surface but hasn’t proven himself at this distance. Trainer winrun says he’s been working well and is ready for the challenge. Might see some more speed from gate due to the race lacking any pace.
#8 GHOST OF CHAPARRAL (5-1) – by High Chaparral, out of G2 winning mare Miss Rise (High-Rise). Been in tough company all last year. Did manage to bring home a G2 and two G3 wins during the grind. Gave absolutely no effort in his last two races, where he fell behind and stayed behind. Trainer Henderson brings him into this contest off a 3 month layoff, hoping to rekindle the leg juice he showed in early 2017. Seems a boom or bust type, and the ride will determine his fortune.
#9 HIGHLY ACCURATE (181-1) – by Alajwad, out of allowance winning mare Lil Ol Winemaker (Galileo). Really shouldn’t be in the field. Still available for NW3L and NW2x. Not only that, only had 2 races last year, none in 2016 and 1 in 2015. Hasn’t been closer than 15.25 lengths at the finish in his last three. Highest SP number to date is an 84, and that was on 11/8/2014. Enjoy the trip around the track!
Swami Selections: 7 – 5 – 8