May 172018
 
The 20th Running of the MIDDLE JEWEL STAKES

The Second Leg of our SIM Triple Crown is set to be run at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland on Saturday, May 19, 2018 when a full field of 14 very talented 3 year olds will be loading into the starting gate at 3 pm EST to race over a Mile and 3/16 or 9.5 furlongs on the main dirt track for their share of the 3 Million dollars in prize money and the priceless glory of winning one of these events.

PREVIOUS RACE RESULTS:
Year Winning Horse Master Stable
1999 GATLING PROSPECTOR BILLG51
2000 DOWN THE JAZZ FLEURDELIS
2001 BUDA WITH THE SLEW THEOC
2002 UNBRIDLED FURY DIXIEDOTCO
2003 I SEEK U INDY
2004 TUFF ENUFF LADYSIERA
2005 FLY FOR BUDA TOPICOUNT
2006 NEW FOUND CYCLONE DINGO333
2007 AWESOME FORCE SLEDGE4
2008 FOLSOM BLUES LENNY271
2009 JEEPSTER SUPER1
2010 YOU SEE LA NEXTBONUS
2011 SEEK IRISH ROOTS LEGIONS
2012 FINAL EXIT DIXIEDOTCO
2013 KARUKAZA GIVEN
2014 INFANTRY BAGGIO
2015 SUICIDAL DREAM LENNY271
2016 WIN FOR LAUREN DANNO3
2017 OPTICATED LIAM

Next, we will try and analyze some of the historical data to see if it will help us determine who this year’s winner will be.

STABLES – 177 different Master Stables have saddled an entry for the Middle Jewel plus the 8 CPU entries in the first 3 races.  39 stables have had more than one horse run but only 2 have managed to Win the race twice (Dixiedotco and Lenny271).  Most entries all time; Lenny 271 (9), Super1 (8), Dixiedotco (6), Topicount, Bigrick, Baggio all with (5).  The CPU managed 2 seconds and 2 thirds from its 8 starters.  Lenny271 is the only master stable to finish ITM 3 times.

JOCKEYS – 113 different jockeys have climbed into the stirrups and busted out of the starting gate seeking their shot at fame.  Only 3 riders have managed to win the Middle Jewel twice in their careers.  F Gossett, N Lawton and A Rolling.  Gossett is the most experienced rider with 15 previous starts followed closely by D Givins (13), and N Lawton (12).  Lawton and Rolling both have 4 ITM results tied for the most.

SEX – While this category is extremely skewed towards the colts due to the high percentage of colts that have started the race, let’s not just discount the Fillies all together.  Colts have won 16 of the races, but that means the Fillies have won 3 times (not bad for only 10 starters), the last being in 2016 by Win For Lauren and Swapsco Kitty ran third.  Geldings are new to the game and only have 2 previous starts but finished 6th and 7th.

BLUEGRASS EFFECT – Only 3 horses, with the last being in 2003 I Seek U have won the Bluegrass Derby and then won the Middle Jewel Stakes.  Will the 15 year drought end this year?

STARTING GATE -  11 of the 14 post positions have produced a winner.  PP 1 (The Rail) has the most with 3 wins, while gates 3, 4, 6, 10, 11, & 12 all have each had 2.  The 3 post positions that have never won are #’s 8, 9 and 13.

ODDS – The Morning Line favorite has went to victory circle 7 times, the last being Suicidal Dream in 2015.  Only 3 horses have won at odds greater than 10-1, with the longest being at 12-1 in last year’s race by Opticated.

RIDING STYLE – There have been 3 gate to wire wins the last by Infantry in 2014. There have been 9 that have won while pressing the early leaders the last by Win For Laren in 2016.  There have been 5 winners that stalked the field from mid-pack the last being Jeepster in 2009.  There have been 5 winners that have closed from off the pace the last being Opticated last year.

MARGIN OF VICTORY – You would have to say it will be a close race as no Middle Jewel has ever been won by 4 lengths.  The largest margin was 3 ¾ lengths in 2004 by Tuff Enuff.  The closest race was by ¼ length in 2001 by Buda With The Slew.  4 times the winner has been decided by less than 1 length, with 5 others being less than 2 lengths.

SPEED –  The Stakes record is 1:53.80 by Unbridled Fury in 2002.  For this segment let’s just consider SP #’s.  If you toss out the highest in 2002 of 119 and then toss out the lowest in 2006 of 102, you will find this interesting nugget.  The winning SP has been between 105 and 115 in all the other races.  Could be the short 2 week break after the Bluegrass is holding the SP numbers down.

OVERVIEW OF THIS YEAR’S FIELD

The field of 14 will contain 12 Colts, 1 Filly and 1 Gelding.  We have 12 KY breds, 1 OK bred and 1 entry from South Africa.  11 of these starters are Graded Stakes winners with 4 have G1 wins already on their resumes and the 3 non-winners have all finished ITM in a Graded Stakes.  We have 4 horses that have already eclipsed 1 Million in earnings.  Ghostzapper sired 2 of this year’s entrants, while we have 3 scratchbred starters.  Distorted Humor, Storm Cat, and Giant’s Causeway figure into 3 runners, while A.P. Indy and Tapit are in 2 pedigrees.  Four of the 20 Bluegrass Derby starters return here along 2 others from same weekend.

THE POST PARADE
1 BEEF AND BEER MTK76
6 – 1 Curlin x Unbridled’s Song x Seattle Slew            dam: Bosongaboutseattle
9 – 5 – 1 – 1 mtkholding1 Jockey: M. Kelly

1- G1 Bluegrass Oaks – Stalked early pace rallied for 2nd on sloppy track. (108)

2- G1 California Oaks – Stalked mid-pack never fired finished 8th. (99)

3- EQUINICS 2018 – Stalked mid-pack rallied to Win by 1 ¾ lengths. (103)

The only Filly in the field will get an extra day rest over the Derby runners.  This will be her first attempt running with the boys.  Has shown good form and speed as well as a nose for the win if she can handle the short rest could be a player since she drew the rail.

2 DEN NOT DON GRAYWOLF6
18 – 1 Dens’ Legacy x Saint Liam x Giant’s Causeway        dam: Saints In Heaven
13 – 5 – 1 – 0 graywolf47 Jockey: D. Givins

1- G1 Wooden Indian – Never ran off of a 2 week rest finished 13th. (85)

2- G3 Chicago Derby – Broke mid-pack and remained there finishing 7th. (98)

3- G2 Hustlin Hoosier – Made up 5 ½ lengths in last quarter to Win. (102)

The only Oklahoma bred is the most experienced horse in the field and has had a nice break of 6 weeks.  Looking to return to his early 2018 form when he won 2 straight.  Getting the longest odds from the handicapper, he would be a surprise winner here.

3 EL MAQUERIDO HAACK
14 – 1 Graydar x Distorted Humor x Storm Cat                   dam: Alondramania
7 – 4 – 3 – 0 navegantes Jockey: OA Haack

1- G1 Arkansas Juvenile – Ran with early pace, came home 2nd at 20-1. (105)

2- Take It Easy Dirt Route – Pressed early speed and finished 2nd. (99)

3- NW4x Allowance – Went gate to wire as the 3/5 favorite. (89)

The least experienced colt in the field has just the 1 Graded start but has been making giant gains in SP as he has moved up in class.  He has never finished below 2nd place in any of his 7 races.  Could be a longshot worthy of your attention.

4 THROUGH THE WOODS NASKIPPY
12 – 1 FORESTRY x AFLEET x ARCH
10 – 4 – 1 – 1 tarton12 Jockey: F. Leghorn

1- G1 Blugrass Derby – Closer never fired passed a couple late for 15th. (94)

2- G1 Florida Derby – Did not care for the off track passed a couple for 10th. (96)

3- G1 Vermont Is 4 Lovers – Nice closing effort in the 2nd half to Win. (106)

Closer coming in after a couple of tough outings.  Looking to return to early season form and speed.  The 2 week break may be to much for him to overcome.  I think that I will look elsewhere in this field.

5 GHOSTLY BIRD STOCKSWAMI
11 – 1 GHOSTZAPPER x GONE WEST x STORM BIRD
8 – 3 – 2 – 0 dkstables30 Jockey: T. Ace

1- G2 Heat Less Stakes – Posted a gate to wire Win by 2 lengths. (105)

2- KY local Allowance – Cruised to a 1 ½ length Win as the favorite. (101)

3- NW2L Allowance – Early lead for first ¾ beaten 2nd by co-favorite. (92)

Early speed front runner that has only 1 Graded start and that was a G2.  Has been making steady improvement in 3 year old campaign.  Not totally sure why but I have a gut feeling he could be involved late.

6 SMOOTH STRIDE REDHILL
12 – 1 Tiznow x Smart Strike x A.P. Indy                         dam: Velvety Smooth
9 – 3 – 1 – 1 abe Jockey: K. Ledwith

1- G1 Florida Derby – Staker that moved up to 3rd over the off track. (105)

2- G1 Vermont Is 4 Lovers – Closing hard from off the pace to get 4th. (102)

3- Kilerzandglitterz Dirt Challenge – Closing effort not enough ran 5th. (89)

He will be well rested 7 weeks since Florida Derby.  2 of his 3 wins have come on off tracks yet could not produce at Florida.  There are just a few too many questions looming around this one for my liking.

7 TAP TAP TAPPING TYEDYE
8 – 1 Tapit x Street Cry x Storm Cat                                           dam: Holy Bulb
11 – 3 – 2 – 2 ramo Jockey: A. Rolling

1- G1 Sand Castle Derby – Ran out front with early pace held on for 3rd. (101)

2- G2 Fountain Of Ute – Broke 4th and finished 4th as the favorite. (99)

3- G3 It’s a Lot Like Christmas – Stalked first half then surged to the Win. (102)

Colt that likes to sit just off the pace and then spring forward.  Made 6 graded starts as a juvenile with 1 victory appears poised for a big run here coming off the 7 week layoff hoping to avoid the jet lag of returning from UAE.  I like his chance to be involved during the stretch run.

8 ION MY WAY LIGHTNG99
10 – 1 Var x Midnight Lute x Indian Charlie                           dam: Dark Greeley
10 – 4 – 2 – 0 drsafbreds Jockey: SS Ledwith

1- G1 Bluegrass Derby – Stayed off the pace but could only get up to 8th. (100)

2- G1 California Derby – Stalked the lead got to 2nd before fading to 5th. (102)

3- G1 EQUINICS 2018 – Stalked advanced to 3rd before drifting back to 7th. (97)

The SAF bred 2017 2 yo Dirt EOY has found the going a little tougher as a 3 yo after finishing ITM in 6 out of 7 as a juvenile.  Has made 8 straight Graded starts with the last 6 all being G1’s.  Has the talent to contend here but I am not getting a warm feeling especially on the short break.

9 UNSUBTLE NEPENTHE
9 – 1 Medaglio D’Oro x Giant’s Causeway x Forty Niner   dam: Edge Of The Dark
9 – 3 – 2 – 0 nepenthe30 Jockey: R. Radzinski

1- G1 California Derby – Finished with a big closing effort to get 4th. (102)

2- G2 Sleepy Fan Stakes – Charged from off the pace to Win by a head. (102)

3- NW2L Allowance – Bested a field of 7 from mid-pack as the favorite. (103)

A closing colt that has shown steady improvement so far this year and has shown a good finishing kick while moving up in class.  Given the right ride he stands a good chance to be involved here.

10 INDEPENDENT UNION SNOWCHIEF
7 – 1 UNION RAGS x A.P. INDY x WAR FRONT
10 – 5 – 3 – 0 dawgpound Jockey: F. Oxon

1- G1 Bluegrass Derby – Closed extremely well in last quarter to run 5th. (102)

2- G1 All Saints Derby – Closed well over 2nd half ended in 2nd place by a neck. (106)

3- G3 Risen Star Stakes – Got home 2nd closing from way off the pace. (99)

This closer has a world of talent and would probably be one of my top choices if not for the short 2 week break.  Had 3 Graded wins in 5 starts as a juvenile.  They will still have to account for where he is at the top of the stretch run.

11 SPECTRAL SPOOK PADREBRI
12 – 1 Ghostzapper x Distorted Humor x Giant’s Causeway    d: FreeBowlOfSoup
9 – 4 – 0 – 2 algernop Jockey: B. Peeples

1- G1 Florida Derby – Had the early lead on the off track, ended up in 12th. (92)

2- G2 Fountain Of Ute – Ran 2nd most of the way surged to the Win by a head. (102)

3- G3 The Legoland – Ran out front with early pace before dropping to 5th. (98)

An early speed front runner looking to sweep in and claim a big win from under the favorite’s noses.  Had 7 weeks since Florida, with that price and his pedigree I think he may just be worth a look as a longshot special.

12 MADE A FUNNY GOWANS
14 – 1 Street Sense x Tapit x Gulch                                    dam: Laughing Tapit
9 – 3 – 2 – 1 vinery Jockey: G. Owans

1- G1 Corkscrew Stakes – Closed from off the pace in last quarter to get 2nd. (105)

2- G2 The Land’s End – Closing run cam up just a little short for 5th. (99)

3- Tout Ou Rein Challenge – Surged from off the pace in a field of 4 to Win. (91)

Did not break his maiden until first race as 3 yo and ended juvenile season running last 3 trips over the turf.  Looking to expand on the big jump forward he made at the Corkscrew.  Has the closing speed to do something special here might want to give him a second look before passing.

13 GODBLESS THIS MESS PUNTER34
5 – 1 Distorted Humor x Storm Cat x Danzig                       dam: Magpies Cat
11 – 6 – 3 – 0 plugger03 Jockey: F. Gossett

1- G1 Bluegrass Derby – Won closing from off the pace by 2 ¼ lengths. (107)

2- G1 Florida Derby – Stalking run from mid-pack finished 2nd on off track. (106)

3- Wallys Count Dirt Mile – Closed hard in final ¼ to Win by 1 ¾ lengths. (100)

Everything is trending positive for the winningest horse in the field that just gave his connections back to back Bluegrass Derby wins.  But no one has been able to win after only the 2 week break since 2003 to win the first 2 legs.  This Colt has as good or better chance as any to do it and is the handicapper’s favorite.

14 DYNAMITE MOON OLDMOONFARMS
13 – 1 Constitution x Super Saver x French Deputy         dam: Madame Dynamite
10 – 4 – 3 – 1 oldmoonfarmseli Jockey: K. Bowen

1- G2 Captain Hook Stakes – Closed from off the pace to Win by ¼ length. (106)

2- G3 Chicago Derby – Closed from off the pace to Win a ¼ length. (104)

3- NW2L Allowance – Closed from off the pace to Win by 2 lengths. (94)

The only Gelding has won his last 3 races at increasing levels and with increasing SP’s.  Did not run in the Bluegrass but did run on Derby Day so faces same tough 2 week break.  Has not been lower than 2nd since breaking maiden in August.  Draws the outside post which should be no problem for a closer.

WRAPPING IT ALL UP
 

Well, after careful consideration of all the historical data and how it may affect the outcome of the race and after reviewing each of the horses pedigrees and their past performances, I have come to the clear understanding that none of it matters when the starting gates burst open.  It will all come down to these 14 horses and their jockeys to determine the outcome in this 2nd leg of the SIM Triple Crown.

MY SELECTIONS
 

7- TAP TAP TAPPING – Just a gut feeling here he is ready to be a star.

12- MADE A FUNNY – Like his closing speed to make a big stretch run.

5- GHOSTLY BIRD – Front runner that I think could hang on till the end.

14- DYNAMITE MOON – Hard to pick against a horse on a winning streak.

 

Congratulations to all the entries for having earned their way to participating in this year’s running of the Middle Jewel Stakes.  Good Luck to each of you today.

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  11 Responses to “The 20th Running of the MIDDLE JEWEL STAKES (G1)”

  1. Very nice read!!! I have 2 in the race representing URC. Punter’s GODBLESS THIS MESS and Nepenthe’s UNSUBTLE. Good luck guys!!! Go get ‘em!!! URC Exacta!!!!

  2. Great article! Great top selection! 8-)

  3. Excellent Coverage

    I don’t have a runner, but I thoroughly enjoyed the read

  4. Nice article and history. I do not think my horse is quite ready for this race after such a short layoff. But I wish him and all horses and owners good luck in the race.

  5. Great article. Good luck to all the participants!

  6. Great effort jb3 !

  7. Excellent work. Clearly worthy of The Middle Jewel.

  8. Nice write up!

  9. Very Cool write up JB,

  10. very nicely done

  11. This is really nice work JB. Way to go!

    Love the analysis of the historical data. I really liked finding out what trainers have had the most runners in the Middle Jewel.