A field of eleven newly turned three year olds visit Indiana for the Grade Three Special Bid Stakes. The race will be run at six furlongs over a fast dirt surface. The purse is $150,000. The field is an eclectic one lead by grade three winner Trippi Ape and listed stakes winners Stacked Actors and Struck By A Vixen. There’s a lot of speed in this field so expect a hot pace. Let’s take a look at the runners.
#1 Working BP 8/1
Working BP was available for a $100,000 claiming tag when he made his debut but after winning that race he has not been for sale. He followed that race up with a win in a five furlong allowance back in August. His two subsequent starts came in graded stakes going and both were routes. He floundered, finishing seventh in both but he did run an 87 speed in on going eight and one half furlongs. Working BP is a son of Outwork out of a Storm Cat x Great Prospector mare.
#2 Cigar JR 14/1
This colt is brazenly named as expectations that he live up to the “incomparable, invincible unbeatable Cigar” seem nearly impossible. So far the scratchbred son of Majestic Warrior x Carson City x El Gran Senor has only won one of his six starts. That came in his second race, a maiden special weight going six and one half furlongs back in April. The colt got a break – and a gelding – in August and returned in November to try his first route race. He did run his first eighty plus speed in that race but only finished sixth. This colt might be a sneaky good play going second start off a layoff and gelding plus returning to sprints where he seems more comfortable.
#3 Stacked Actors 5/1
Stacked Actors is one of the stakes winners in the field. He is one of two horses in the field with eight starts already in his career but he’s won three times and was second twice. He just got his stakes win in November, his most recent start where he ran a 91 speed going five furlongs. He closed from midpack that day and won by a quarter of a length. Previously he had won a six furlong allowance with an 86 speed in July. He’s a son of Haynesfield out of a More Than Ready x Storm Bird mare. He is her third foal, and second stakes horse.
#4 Trippi Ape 9/2
The race favorite is the only graded stakes winner in the field. He won three of his first four starts topped off by the Grade Three Manor of Bashford in July with an 85 speed. He added another listed stakes win in October where he ran a strong 96 speed while going six and one half furlongs. He’s got speed but doesn’t necessarily need to be on the lead to do his best. His most recent race was his only route try and it resulted in a poor effort, so a switch back to sprints seems like a good idea. Trippi Ape is a son of Trippi out of the stakes winning Tribal Rule x Capote mare To Be Free. She has two foals, the four year old is stakes placed.
#5 Wood Base 19/1
Wood Base has a pedigree that suggests he should love long distances on turf. He’s a son of Wootton Bassett out of an Octagonal x Known Face mare. Yet his success has come in dirt springs. He has two wins from four starts in dirt sprints, a maiden special weight and a first level allowance. Neither race came with a particularly fast speed but his last win was in August. Since then he ran poorly in a dirt route followed by two off the board finishes in turf sprints. There’s so many unknowns about this colt that he may surprise but he would need to really improve his speeds to be competitive.
#6 Packitaway 9/1
Packitaway has been a slightly unlucky horse. He was second in his debut in May and his connections felt so confident in his abilities that they jumped right into a listed stakes race. The maiden finished well beaten and perhaps lost a bit of confidence by being placed against winners. His next two starts came in maidens at seven furlongs and one mile and both resulted in third place fininshes although the mile race saw him run an 88 speed and only get beaten by one length. Dropped back to seven and one half furlongs he easily broke his maiden with an 86 speed. His most recent start came in November when he was eighth in a listed route. This will be the shortest race he has run in some time.
#7 Malibu’s Quest 10/1
Malibu’s Quest is a scratchbred son of Malibu Moon x Wild Again x Roberto. One might think he would excel in dirt routes but in five starts so far he has never run further than seven furlongs. His last two starts have been his best and both came at five and one half furlongs. In the first he broke his maiden by sitting just off the pace before surging to the lead to win by a length. The next race was a first level allowance where he followed the same tactics to win by another length with an 84 speed.
#8 Happy Affair 5/1
Happy Affair is a son of Runhappy out of the graded placed / stakes winning Fantastic Light x Storm Bird mare Sun’s Affair. Sun’s Affair did her best running just over a mile on the dirt and Happy Affair would be her first stakes winner if he wins this spot. Happy Affair has won or placed in six of seven starts with his only off the board finish coming in his most recent race going a mile. Prior to that he won a maiden and worked his way through allowance conditions before trying a seven furlong stakes race back in October. This colt loves to be on the lead and he just got a bit tired towards the end, losing the race by only a length while running an 88 speed. He improved his speed in the route race to an 89 and he could conceivably improve here.
#9 Highway Ghost 9/1
Highway Ghost is a very classy colt. He’s won four of six starts with one third place finish. He is a California bred son of Shaman Ghost out of the graded placed / stakes winning Unbridled’s Song x Seattle Slew mare Rollwiththepunhes. She has already produced a grade two winner and two listed stakes winners. All of Highway Ghost’s races have come against state-bred competition but he’s really been putting a hurting on them out in California. He’s won his last three starts all of which came at six furlongs. He ran a big 88 speed in his most recent start back in November when he lead wire to wire to win by a length and one half. Indeed in all three wins he’s had the lead early on, but he may be challenged for it in this spot.
#10 Struck By A Vixen 6/1
Struck By A Vixen has four wins from seven starts including two other on the board finishes. He’s never tried a route, he seems to like sprinting and he does it well. He is the last stakes winner in our field. He earned that title back in November when he ran an 87 speed going six furlongs. That capped off a four race win streak for the colt. He’s run twice since, both in listeds. He finished second by a half length going five and one half furlongs in October and then ran into a sloppy track that he didn’t seem to care for in November where he finished third. He ran 87 and 88 speeds in those two starts respectively. Struck By A Vixen is a South African bred by A.P. Arrow out of a Medaglia D’oro x Broad Brush mare. He is her first stakes winner from four foals.
#11 Teal Rocker 10/1
Teal Rocker is a son of Rock of Gibraltar out of a Teofilo x Storm Cat mare whose name I love – Spin N ‘Round. Sadly she was not a great racer but perhaps in Teal Rocker she has found a good foal. He has eight starts and one win with three second place finishes. His win came at a route but all three seconds came in sprints. Interestingly this will be his first race on the dirt. His top speed is an 84 he earned last out in a turf route. He’s a wild card here, if he takes to the dirt he could improve dramatically.
Good luck to all!