Pure speed will be on display at the Equinics, where we honor six time Grade I winner Casterly Rock with a race in which some of the best sprinters the Sim has to offer will contest this race at 6.5 furlongs. A full field of fourteen will line up in the gate, let’s take a look at them:
1. Barb Island – LION HEARTED x SMOKE GLACKEN x PENTIRE (GB)
Lightly raced five-year-old horse representing the host residency, the Universal Racing Club. He has run well in groups of somewhat lower quality than this one, but shows no wins since December of 2016, so he is sporting a nine race-losing streak that he looks to break. Looking at his speed figures, definitely he is not far off the bests in here, but it is a cause for concern that he does not like to be in that winners circle. His trainer dumbest is trying to change his style from a pure need the lead sprinter to a stalker, and his last two races are proof that apparently that adjustment is starting to pay dividends. We cannot recommend him as one of the top choices in this race, but there is hope from his entourage that he still can improve and have a nice five-year-old campaign. However, for now, the most he can aspire is a lower exotics placement at most.
2. Yo Whasupp – FED BIZ x INDIAN RIDGE x EL GRAN SENOR
This consistent colt is carrying the colors of the Elite Residency, and with four wins and six seconds from a total of eleven lifetime starts, you know he is a very dependable horse. Looking at his resume, it is obvious that he has been running against company not nearly as strong as the one he will be facing in this race. But his trainer jbcri63 cannot be any more happy that his prodigy has been selected to such a high level competition, and he vows he will run the race of his life on February 24th. His last race was a solid fifth place finish in the Grade I Malibu Sprint, a race in which he was a 22/1 proposition, so definitely outran his odds. He has maintained a very steady and healthy improvement pattern, and we should see him trying to pick up the pieces, hoping he has a hot pace to run against. Cannot be one of the favorites, but will not be a surprise to me that he ran well enough to sneak into the exotics.
3. Gyoka San – SKY MESA x DANZIG x SECRETARIAT
Representing the Midas Residency, this five-year-old gelding out of the much-underrated sire Sky Mesa, he comes from a stakes-winning mare with a pedigree to die for; Danzig out of a Secretariat mare. He seems to be slowly getting into his tip to shape, confirmed by the fact that he has won two stales races in a row, one of them a Grade II, and in his last three races, he has improved his peed figure in each and every one of them. There is no question that this is the deepest and most talented field he has ever faced, but his trainer longdesert gave him a nice eight-week refresher, hoping to maintain that same condition he was displaying at the end of last year. If the morning work is an indication of how he will perform in the afternoon, then his trainer does not have anything to worry about, as clockers have been raving about him over the last month or so. He should be well positioned from the start and with a little improvement, he can be a top contender for the major award here.
4. Metaphorically – TIZNOW x INDIAN CHARLIE x STORM CAT
The Universal Racing Club is represented by this four-year-old light grey colt, out of former Horse of the Year Tiznow. His dam was a stakes winner going long over the grass, so he is doing exactly the opposite that he is supposed to do. This horse is coming into this race in probably the best shape of his career, having won his last two races with extremely high speed figures, denoting his current form. Although he has not been able yet to win at the graded level, we cannot overlook the fact that he is an improving colt, and more improvement is definitely not out of the question. He loves to go to the front from the gitgo, and there will be many speedsters trying to grab that early lead. He has shown he needs the lead in order to perform at his best, so we can expect his jockey to shake his reins from the first jump. If he can get that initial advantage, he can be dangerous, but with the abundance of early zip, I will side with others first.
5. Falchion – TAPIT x STORM CAT x ALYDAR
He is the number one ranked older sprinter in the SIM, and that is a testament of the quality and deepness of this field. He carries the flag for the Minnesota Testbarn Residency, and he will be making a quick turnaround, after winning the Grade III The Minister’s Deputy down in sunny Florida, a race that was supposed to serve as a prep for this race. Apparently, the horse is feeling better than ever, as he came from off the pace to just nail the runner up at the wire. In talking with his trainer phillipj3, we spoke about the possibility of a bounce, after such a great return. He tells me that the horse has kept the same demeanor he has prior to that most recent effort, so he does not think he will bounce off that win. He is one of these colts that needs a good speed set up for his late rally to be affective, and he will definitely have pace to run against. If he keeps that same condition he exhibited two weeks ago, he should be a factor at the final stages.
6. Annoyances – FIRST SAMURAI x INDIAN CHARLIE x CHESTER HOUSE
The entrant from the Megalopolis Residency, he had an extremely productive 2017, with two graded stakes and several Grade I solid figurations in his resume. His last race was disastrous, but that was at a nine-furlong distance, which is not to his liking. Now he is returning to a more suitable six and half furlong distance, and his trainer soft cleverly gave him a refresher after that poor performance. The questions is, can he return to his winning ways in a Grade I, after an eight-week layoff? Certainly seems like a lot to ask, so those questions linger in the minds of the bettors. Work pattern has been solid since his last effort, so he is ready to roll from the bench. Is he good enough to beat these Grade I sprinters? That will be answered on Saturday, but looking at it realistically, probably will need a race to show his best race form. Outside chance.
7. Fabregas Soler – TAPIT x SEEKING THE GOLD x BROAD BRUSH
Seven year old veteran representing the always powerful GR Simsters Residency that is making his first start of the year, after having a well thought, spaced campaign that enabled him to win a Grade I late in the year and to perform solidly in other Grade Is. His trainer holdme tells us that his horse is been working splendidly after a very easy allowance win on New Year’s Eve, which was his most recent start. He would have prefer to sneak in another race to be more sure about his fitness level, but right now it is what it is, and he will come as one of the most seasoned horses in this group, and that alone is more than enough to consider him as a threat to win this event. He looks to win his fifth Grade I race and to increase his lifetime earnings to over $5,000,000, and although the quality of the competition is very stiff, he should be forwardly placed from the start and will make his presence felt when all the marbles are at stake.
8. Shaithans Wind – SEPOY x PULPIT x MEDAILLE D’OR
This five-year-old horse is carrying the torch for the Racing HQ Residency, and he has been a solid performer all thru his career. Six wins in nineteen starts, with thirteen placings lifetime are the body of his resume, although almost all of his races have been in much lesser company than the one he will be facing in this event. Furthermore, his best efforts so far have come in very short sprints, five and five and a half furlongs, and here he will have to travel at least an additional furlong, a fact that no doubt can be of importance when analyzing a probable outcome. He is coming off two very subpar performances, which he will need to improve dramatically in order to have a chance here. However, his trainer scout1 is old school. He says the only horse without a chance is the horse that stays in the barn, and he is confident about his horse running a credible race and to represent his residency with dignity. And that folks, ultimately is the real spirit of the Equinics. Good luck to all connections.
9. Yeah Thanks – TIZNOW x SUMMER SQUALL x RAISE A NATIVE
This horse carries the banner of the Blazing Saddles Residency, and comes into this race with an impressive resume. Ten wins out of thirteen lifetime starts, including seven victories out of his last eight outings, a Grade III win included tell the story of this extremely consistent homebred, out of two time Breeders Cup Classic winner Tiznow. His trainer horseriot gave his colt a nice bolt tightener on his most recent start, that definitely does not look good at the speed figure level, but the main purpose of leaving his best for this race has been achieved, and he is coming into this competition in insuperable form. He loves to sit in the garden spot, so the most important factor for him will be that his jockey gives him a nice trip, in which he finds the space whenever he asks him for his best. There is no doubt that he is stepping up in class big time, but with some improvement, he can be a nice upset possibility if all falls into place.
10. Tappan Z – TAPIZAR x SEA THE STARS x HENNY HUGHES
The East West Connection residency comes forward with this colt, who has been in sort of an up and down campaign recently. What is very clear from analyzing his past performances is that he is a definite need the lead type of horse. All his wins have come when he can establish a clear lead on his races, and that, in a Grade I, is much less probable to happen. After a solid win in an open allowance in July, his trainer benpyed rolled the dice, sending him to the Grade I Prince Knight, in which he was soundly defeated. He was then close to winning both a Grade III and a Grade I, making his trainer dream again about Grade I glory. Those dreams were inhumanely shattered after a disastrous performance in the Grade I Malibu. Now in 2018, he as a good second in a grade I and climbs the ladder once again. If he can go on an easy lead, he can be a dangerous horse, but realistically, I don’t see that happening. Not sold on his chances.
11. He’s in Shape – TAPIT x DISTORTED HUMOR x STORM CAT
Representing the All Stars Racing Residency, he is a son of mega sire Tapit out of a Grade I winning Distorted Humor mare, and slowly he is beginning to look like the horse his breeder dream he would be. He should be one of the favorites for the Eclipse Award for best Sprinter, due to his win in the Malibu Sprint and his second place finish in the Breeders Bowl Sprint, both Grade I races. So we can call him the now horse, and although he is been on the shelf for almost two months, his trainer primus2 ensures us the colt has maintained the same form he exhibited late in 2017. He has only eleven lifetime races, so further improvement is definitely not out of the question, as he looks to take a firm hold of the sprint division in 2018. He likes to be sitting just off the pace and make a move from the three-eighths pole on, and he will be right in the thick of things at the final furlong. Great chance to win and betting wise, he will be one of the top choices on the board.
12. Scattered Assets – SCAT DADDY x TAPIT x AWESOME AGAIN
This horse belongs to yours truly, and I think we can call this horse kind of a Cinderella story. Representing the Empire State Racing Residency, I acquired this colt early last year at the auctions, for a very modest sum of around $40,000. An obvious under achiever, I tried the grass first with him, and he won a quality hot race with a very nice late kick. Then I returned to the dirt in a restricted high claimer, and gave the jockey instructions to hold him way off the pace, and at almost 15-1 he came flying to miss by only a couple of lengths. After that, the horse kept improving and finally, at the end of the year, he won his first stakes race, and followed that effort with his first graded score in the Grade III Kenny Joe Stakes. He started 2018 by just missing in the Grade III Narrowly Missed Stakes, but still displaying that wicked late turn of foot. He definitely needs a hot pace to develop for his late run to be effective, and I hope that pace materializes for him. He is coming in superb condition, and although I would have prefer to have an extra furlong to work with, his chances of winning are excellent, and he will be a force to be reckoned with at the stretch. Big chance.
13. Muhaackrar – MUHAARAR (GB) x SEA THE STARS x GHOSTZAPPER
This is the flag bearer for the SIM Hispano Residency. He has been in a roll lately, winning five out of his last six outings, showing blazing speed from the gate and running his competition out of their feet. However, he is climbing way up the ladder for this Grade I event, as all but one of his wins have come at the allowance level. On his next to last race, he won the Band Camp Dirt Memorial down in Sweden, taking them wire to wire while posting very fast fractions in the meantime. No secret about the instructions trainer ottico is giving his jockey; they will take the lead at all costs, and then play catch me if you can. With all the other quality speed signed in for this race, he will have his work cut out for him, and after getting the lead, he will have to improve on his best effort speed figure wise in order to have a chance in here. He should be prominent at the beginning of the race, not sure about his chances of staying the whole six and a half furlongs.
14. Dabigeasy – SKIMMING x MORE THAN READY x MR. LEADER
Veteran six year old horse representing the NWRC Residency, he has been a consistent performer all through his career, winning eight races from twenty nine starts and banking almost $300,000 for his owner and trainer bigeasy03. For the most part, he has been competing against allowance horses, so he is climbing up the ladder big time to face these quality sprinters. The times that he has run in stakes races, he has been soundly defeated. But this is the Equinics, where dreams are allowed to turn into a happy reality, and his connections are hoping his horse can run the race of his life to be able to stay within close distance of these monsters. Fitness will not be an issue for him, he has maintain that same good condition he has shown late last year, and making his 2018 debut, he will need his top performance and then some to have a chance in this event. We should see him at the first flight of horses from the start; let us see how far his speed will take him.
12. Scattered Assets
11. He’s in Shape