A Field of Eleven Older horses will load the Big Apple starting gate in the $100,000 ESR Eleven Stakes. The race will be run at Nine Furlongs over the Turf Course.
BAY OF DRAGONS – the 4 Year Old Bay Colt by Giant’s Causeway makes his fourth straight stakes appearance and ninth consecutive start at 9-furlongs on the turf; the winner of the Director Turf Route in November gets a welcomed class relief in the ESR listed stakes after keeping graded company in his last three starts; the cadet trained KY-bred has grabbed the lead in 11 of his 14 career starts and could hold that lead to the wire with the drop in level…one to catch
GOLD BY DAY – the multiple stakes winning 5 Year Old Bay Horse by Giant’s Causeway enters the field off a convincing victory in the Ardal Turf Route LTO posting a 117-speed figure stopping the clock at a personal best time of 1:46 70 for 9-furlongs on the Turf; the kingab trained KY-bred is making his 13th straight stakes appearance and should be well positioned to notch another victory for the residencies leading trainer…in top form
DAN THE GRASS MAN – the casino trained 4 Year Old Bay Colt by Invincible Spirit earned his only stakes victory in the 8.5-furlong ESR Prom Equivalency as a 3yo over the NY grass course; the speedy IRE-bred is winless in three attempts at nine panels but does own a second place finish in the 9-furlong G2 Hall Of Fame Stakes, a race where he pressured the leader at every call only to get caught in the final strides; the winner of more than $300k lifetime has struggled in his last two but has been off since July and runs well off a layoff…chance if ready
UNSEEN POTENTIAL – seeking his first stakes victory, the pointblank trained 4 Year Old Bay Colt by Malibu Moon enters the field off his first stakes appearance, the 8.5-furlong Luchadores Del Gato Stakes; the KY-bred should benefit from that outing where he found himself a little further back than he is accustomed to and had to settle for a 5th place finish with a late rally; recent 9-furlong starts have found the 4yo much closer to the pace, a tactic that will suit him better in his second stakes appearance…eligible to improve
SOVRANO – the 4 Year Old Bay Colt by New Approach is a veteran to ESR races with a win, his lone stakes victory, in the ESR Bozeman Reaction followed by a 4th and 3rd place finish in the ESR Flea and the Acrobat Stakes and ESR Gate Stakes respectively; the deep closing ENG-bred has done his best racing between the 9.5 and 12-furlong distances, going 0-3 at nine panels in his career; the frankster trainee does his best running late and should benefit the most from a fast pace…stretch threat
FREEDOM TOUR – the pride and joy of the itch racing stables, the 5 Year Old Bay Horse by Giant’s Causeway is a multiple Graded stakes winner on the Dirt and hopes to parlay a second place finish in a 9-furlong Restricted Allowance race over the grass course into his first Turf Stakes victory; the winner of the G1 GoodyGood Stakes may have lost a step over the last six months, but still remains competitive against top level horses; the KY-bred millionaire looks to revive his career with the switch to the Turf, a surface he exceeded on as a 2yo…always dangerous
NOW OR NEVER CADET – the second half of the cadet entry, the stakes winning 6 Year Old Light Grey Horse by Tiznow, makes his first stakes appearance since October, eight starts later; the KY-bred has struggled in recent outings at the restricted allowance level but did show signs of improvement in his last start when he rallied from far back to finish 3rd in an 8.5-furlong Allowance in New York; the deep closer would need the pace to collapse in order to grab a piece of the purse, and appears to be the weaker half of the cadet entry…must show more
TRINNI – when you talk about Residency horses that don’t back down from a fight this ace trained 5 Year Old Brown Horse by Trinniberg has to mentioned at the top of the list; the NY-bred is making his seventh ESR appearance where he has recorded two victories and more than $130k in earnings in those starts; although the one time claimer has done his best racing on the Dirt, it would be foolhardy to say his chances are diminished over the grass course considering his lone Turf appearance was a victory going 9-furlongs…must consider
TO HELICON N BACK – the spinround trained 4 Year Old Bay Gelding by Muhaarar has been a different horse since being gelded back in August of last year reeling off eight victories since that time while finishing off the board only twice in those 14 starts; although most on the success of this ENG-bred has come sprinting at the claiming and starter level, dismissing a horse with this kind of form is never an easy task; there are obstacles to consider before heading to the betting windows, but this gelding knows how to find his way to the winners circle…might surprise
BARRICK GOLD – the stakes winning 5 Year Old Brown Mare by Australia will have her work cut out for her here on Saturday taking on the boys for the first time in her cateer in her return from a two-month layoff; the trotter1 trained IRE-bred has recorded seven victories on Turf and Dirt at today’s distance, but the question is whether she is in the declining side of a prominent career…your call
STREET DANZING – making his 33rd career start, the irisharse trained 6 Year Old Bay Horse by Street Cry certainly gives the appearance of a horse in the declining years of his racing career; after an almost three-month layoff in April, the KY-bred looked uninterested in his next two starts losing by a combined 20 lengths before being farmed for another two-months, returning to compete at a distance and surface he hasn’t raced at in two years; connections are hoping a return to the Turf will be a much needed wake-up call for the veteran; there is no doubt that if we were talking about this productive performer in his heyday this would be a whole different narrative, but until we can figure out how to cheat time we have to accept the inevitable…breeding shed
Handicapping the Field
You know that a Residency is deep in talent when two graded and eight stakes winners entered this exact same race on April 21 and only one horse from that race returns to face seven different graded and stakes winners.
All indications suggest a hotly contested pace between BAY OF DRAGONS, DAN THE GRASS MAN, and TRINNI right from of the gate. BAY OF DRAGONS insists on the lead as evidenced in his past performances, and given his drop in class, should be able to put away DAN THE GRASS MAN and TRINNI at the halfway point, but will require a little something in reserve to withstand the stretch challenge of GOLD BY DAY and FREEDOM TOUR, both of whom should be well within striking distance as the front end starts to soften.
Both SOVRANO and NOW OR NEVER CADET benefit the most from a torrid early pace but may need the field to come back to them a bit as they call on their late closing kick.
UNSEEN POTENTIAL and BARRICK GOLD both have the ability to stay close to the leaders but would have to preform batter than they have at this level in recent starts.
TO HELICON N BACK does his best running in sprints, but if he decides to go for the lead early could be detrimental to the pace setters benefitting the closers.
STREET DANZING displayed early foot in his last start, a tactic that only further taxes the early leaders.
GOLD BY DAY – sits the perfect trip, should be the first one out and get up in time
BAY OF DRAGONS – will not give up the lead so easily this time around
DAN THE GRASS MAN – runs well fresh for a hot barn and can upset if ready