Apr 122018


A full field of Older Horses bred in New York will enter the Big Apple starting gate in the $100,000 ESR Victory Speech Stakes.  The Saturday feature will be run a One Mile over the Dirt Course.

Victory Speech was a multiple Graded Stakes winner including G2 Dwyer Stakes, the G2 Swaps Stakes, and the G3 Lazaro S. Barrera Handicap as a Three-Year Old.  His victory in the Grade 1 Strub Stakes earned him the title of New York Bred Horse of the Year in 1996.

PARTYZAPPER – the trotter1 trained 4-Year Old Brown Colt by Desert Party out of the stakes producing mare STAY SHY (Ghostzapper) was restrained early in his last start failing to make the lead for only the second time in 14 career starts; the winner of six races lifetime has yet to find the winner’s circle in three stakes appearances and displays a zero under the win column against ESR Local rivals in four chances; top ranked in this field, he won’t get a better opportunity…one to catch

MOROCCO MOLE – the scratch-bred 6-Year Old Light Grey Gelding by Emcee out of a French Deputy x Secretariat mare is the winningest horse in the field with 12 trips to the winner’s circle in 30 career starts; the itch trained Local favorite has been nothing short of sensational since being claimed and gelded two years ago, registering 8 wins for his new connections while bankrolling over $250k, a hefty return on a $4k investment; the blue-chipper registered a win against his ESR rivals in the ESR Wedding of River Song Stakes last year and is fresh off a victory at the Allowance level in his last start…dangerous

PLAYA MAYA – the pointblank trained 4-Year Old Bay Colt by Al Khali out of a Gone West mare has been somewhat of an enigma for his connections, displaying sufficient ability as a 2yo to merit a shot on the Derby Trail, yet stalling at times throughout his 3yo and 4yo season; struggling with consistency, the well-regarded New York-bred turned a well-beaten 13th place finish in the Be Bullish Stakes into a driving victory in his 2018 debut before bottoming out in the Fromwayback Dirt Sprint Stakes in his last outing; I’m not sure the connection’s even know what to expect from the Local contender here on Saturday, but if he’s the mood he will be tough to beat…chance off best

THE CADET GUY – who would have expected that a $30k claiming race would be the catalyst to kickstarting the racing career of this cadet trained Light Grey Colt by The Lumber Guy out of the graded stakes producing mare GOLD WAR SLEW (Seeking the Gold), but the 4-Year Old survived the NY Claim Box in December of 2016 and went on to string together five victories in a row earning him a start in the G3 Grunt last May, following that start with his first Stakes victory in the ESR Silence in the Library Stakes; the Local sensation makes his second start off a layoff and should feel right at home against his ESR adversaries where he has finished first and third in two career starts…one to watch

PASSIVE AGGRESSION – with more of an eye for the fillies than on the task at hand, the beisbol trained 4-Year Old by Micromanage out of an A.P. Indy mare suffered the knife at the end of his 2yo campaign; the newly gelded NY-bred returned to the races a more focused participant as evidenced by his three wins in the first four starts of his 3yo season; on the board in his last four outings, including a win against open company rivals while averaging a 105 speed figure, the now more driven New York-bred should prove a daunting opponent in the ESR feature…eye on the prize

BACK TO MALIBU – the frankster trained 4-Year Old Brown Colt by Hold Me Back out of the stakes placed mare LUNARCY (Medaglia D’oro) was the 2yo King of New York champion gaining the confidence of his connections to step away from the Local circuit and take on more compelling rivals; overmatched in the G2 Shiny Gem Stakes and the St. Niner Dirt Route respectively, the talented local bred got a well-deserved rest before returning to the races at the Local level LTO where he turned in a useful performance to finish a close up 6th; should be on edge in his second start off the layoff…eligible to improve

BEEN ON A BINGE – looking for their first ESR win of the 2018 season, the casino racing stables have a good shot of spinning seven’s this Saturday with their 4-Year Old Brown Colt by Here Comes Ben out of an I’ll Have Another mare; after a definitive victory as a 2yo in the ESR King of New York Challenge Group B race, the promising New York-bred struggled to find the winner’s circle until September of his 3yo season; it’s hard to imagine that a horse, off a three month layoff, comes in off the bench and pops a 112-speed figure only to settle for second money, but such was the case for this casino trainee; never off the board at a mile, expect a big run in his second start off the layoff…chance off last

TRINNI – when the discussion of great claims becomes a topic, be sure that this ace trained 5-Year Old Brown Horse by Trinniberg out of a Dixieland Band mare is part of the discussion; the $17.5k claim has earned over $157k with his four wins in his seven starts for his new connections, including a victory in the Local Championship Stakes LTO while posting an eye-catching 116-speed figure…never better

THEBOYSAREBACK – the lbailey trained 6-Year Old Bay Gelding by Boys of Tosconova out of the stakes placed mare BONECODE (Alysheba) tops the field in career starts, Saturday’s race being start number 38 of his career; at first glance you will be quick to notice that the diligent Local-bred is winless in over a year, but careful examination of his last start left him just a length and a half behind PARTYZAPPER and could provide a big payoff in the exotics…happy with part

HALLO FERN – it has been almost a year since the deeprock trained son of Japan out of a Forestry mare has visited the winner’s circle, and that came over the Turf Course, in fact all three career victories have come over the lawn; took a trip over the synthetic last time out, but the stakes-placed local bred has done his best racing in sprints and figures to struggle with these at this distance and surface; connections noted for coming home first at a big price and you can expect that here…not with these

AWESOME TROUBLE – it’s not often you see a kingab entry ranked this far down in the field, but the 4-Year Old Bay Gelding by Alpha out of G2 winning mare TROUBLE MY WAY (Awesome Again) has done most of his damage sprinting while struggling to navigate around two turns; recently gelded, connections are hoping this lightly raced local standout will move forward off his huge 111 victory in his last start and hit a trainer parlay by winning his first stakes and two-turn affair all in one start… might surprise

SPRING WOFTAM – the 5-Year Old Roan Horse by Smart Bid out of the stakes winning WOFTAM STAR (Kendel Star) was a private purchase for ivanyamil racing stables, and in one start for his new connections has already raced faster than he did in any of his previous 17 starts; beaten only a ¼ of a length by MOROCCO MOLE LTO in only his second try around two turns, it is easy to see why connections were anxious to add him to their barn and enter him here in the ESR feature…might be this good

SOPHOMORESENSATION – making his first start for the spinround stables after a recent $17.5k claim is the 5-Year Old Bay Gelding by Pomeroy out of the G1 winning, multi-stakes producing mare JEN IS A HOTTIE (Forest Wildcat); doing most of his racing in sprint claimers since early in the 2017 season, connections are hoping to cash in on his performance in his one start around two-turns where he finished a solid second against non-local contenders; whether his talent is best demonstrated at a route remains to be seen, but a shrewd move by a sharp outfit nonetheless…your call

SMART MINI –  the jrm trained 5-Year Old Bay Horse by Smart Bid out of Deputy Minister x Pulpit mare was a $4k claim back in September but has not been the claiming success story as his stablemate CITY BY KING HILL, the second place finisher in the ESR Saratoga Dew Stakes last weekend; this is a huge rise in class for the career claimer, who has yet to crack the triple digit barrier in 28 tries…look elsewhere

Handicapping the Field

A a full field of older New York-bred’s often result in the unlikeliest of outcomes, so I have decided to break this race down by pace, and then the prospective candidate from each pace scenario. I often warn bettors not to bet a lot of money in a race like this, however full fields do return he best investment on your dollar.

The Speed:

BACK TO MALIBU has been a stubborn front runner is past races and there is every indication that he will provide plenty of early pressure for PARTYZAPPER.  I am concerned over his last start when gave way in the stretch, a race I thought was well within his wheelhouse, even off the long layoff.

TRINNI is very fast early but might be better suited to stalk the pace much like he did in his last start.  A repeat of that performance earns him a top three finish on Saturday and would get high marks here if not for his poor effort against ESR rivals in the ESR Dr. Who Final.

PARTYZAPPER is the fastest of the fast and should compromise the chances of the other speed horses in the race.  Unlikely to be loose on the lead, the question is, will the early pressure make him susceptible to the late charge?  Nonetheless, he gets the nod amongst the speedsters.

The Stalkers:

THEBOYSAREBACK and PASSIVE AGGRESSION merit consideration but neither has done it on the big stage although PASSIVE AGGRESSION gets the nod of the two.

AWESOME TROUBLE finished behind THE CADET GUY in the ESR Silence in the Library and was no factor around 2-turns in the ESR Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS.

THE CADET GUY has never won a race at the Allowance or Stakes level when he has trailed by more than 4 lengths at the second call.  He sits a perfect trip here and should be much closer than the last two indicate.

MOROCCO MOLE has tactical speed and does hold a victory over many ESR stakes winning horses in the ESR Wedding of River Song at this distance, over this track.  He gets the nod in the stalker category.

The Closers:

PLAYA MAYA came up short in both the ESR Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS and ESR Dr. Who Final but comes into this sharpened with a front-running effort in his last start and could be a factor if he can stay closer to this field.

SPRING WOFTAM has never been better but I’m not sure he is up to this task.

BEEN ON A BINGE was well-prepped with a monster run in his first start off a layoff LTO.  Gets the edge over the other closers in this field.

The Longshots:

I love the claim, I love the idea behind the claim, I just don’t think SOPHOMORESENSATION will compete at this level.  An underlay at 10-1.

Connections have their price; now will HALLO FERN deliver?

I don’t believe that SMART MINI’s speed will translate at this level and expect he will struggle to keep up in the early going.

The Picks

MOROCCO MOLE – his victory in the ESR Wedding of River Song is the clincher

THE CADET GUY – put the last two behind him in a race that sets up well for him

PARTYZAPPER – the one to catch

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  10 Responses to “Who Will Stand at the Podium in the $100,000 ESR Victory Speech Stakes”

  1. I dedicate this victory to Pete. I would never have even claimed the horse if I hadn’t been looking for something to run in that starter series last year. Thanks Pete!


  3. Little does itch know that pete is the pick of death

      • This is a loaded field, particularly with eight 4yos with the inherent right to improve. Only Donny could name a horse Passive Aggression and then race it like his name is Balata. I fear that one and Frank’s Malibu horse in particular.

        The more I look at the race the less I like Mole’s chances. One the one hand we say Spring Woftam is not up to the task, and on the other we see he finished so close to our horse. Mole already has run his best races and there are several in here who could well run their best races this afternoon.

        • Father Time is undefeated, and Mole’s clock is ticking… so that is your real nemesis, in my opinion.

          PASSIVE AGGRESSION (Micromanage – Giant Expectations) was bred in 2016 and named in honor of LeBron James. Any parallels with Balata are purely coincidental !

  4. Trotter, I am very honored by your pick and kind words. Thank you.

    Cool Keith Casino liked Morocco Mole before I did. I linked him in chat not long after the claim, and Keith was fired up, saying I got a good one. He was right.

    I tried to set him up for a big race here. This is his third race back. Thing is, I don’t know if he’s still capable of firing the kind of shot it is going to take to win here.

    Good luck to my ESR brothers and sisters.

  5. Tough field to handicap but as usual Pete has done an outstanding job sorting it out. Thanks Pete!

  6. What a stellar field…could be looking at another blanket finish. Best wishes to everyone. Beware the Mole.

    Fantastic write-up Pete.