Nitrous, Strike Silver Try Turf in Indian Summer Stakes
Courtesy of Aaron Halterman of the Racing Dudes
A field of 14 juveniles will contest the first-ever running of the $200,000 Indian Summer Stakes at Keeneland Race Course. The race serves as a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” event for the newly-formed Juvenile Turf Sprint Stakes on November 2 at Churchill Downs. The field is evenly-matched, with two horses trying turf for the first time serving as co-headliners. Those horses are Nitrous and Strike Silver, who faced each other on debut at Churchill Downs. They both have run well since that race, with this turf start being an experiment that could lead to them running at the Breeders’ Cup.
The winner of the Indian Summer Stakes will receive an automatic position in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint this fall at Churchill Downs. Pre-entry and entry fees will be paid and a nominator award of $10,000 will be given to the person who nominated the foal or racehorse. Also, all Breeders’ Cup starters based outside of the state of Kentucky will receive a travel allowance of $10,000 if based in North America and $40,000 if based internationally.
Let’s take a look at the full field:
#1 Chelsea Cloisters – This filly is already very well-traveled. After breaking her maiden at Keeneland on debut, trainer Wesley Ward shipped her to Ascot, where she was a disappointing 11th in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes. After that race, she shipped to France, where she was a much-improved second in a Group 3 event. Recently, she finished second in the $100,000 Bolton Landing Stakes at Saratoga after setting a very hot pace. This will be her second start against the boys.
#2 Strike Silver – This may be the race’s most talented horse. After defeating Nitrous by a neck on debut at Churchill Downs, Strike Silver shipped to Saratoga for the Grade 3 Sanford Stakes and narrowly missed by a neck. He has not raced since that effort, and this will be his first turf start. Those are two big hurdles that he must clear.
#3 Blame the Frog – She wins the Cool Name Award – this Blame filly out of the mare One Fast Frog obviously has creative owners. She has been solid on the track, with most of her running coming on the dirt, but she did try the turf for the first time last out in the $500,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint, where she finished fourth. This will be her second race against the boys.
#4 Nitrous – There is plenty of hype around this horse. Two races back, he dominated a maiden special weight field at Saratoga, which is always a sure way to get people excited. He then ran third in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes while only being defeated by 3 lengths. His resume is solid, but he is running on turf for the first time here. His early speed gives him a solid shot at converting over to the surface smoothly.
#5 Reward the Miracle – After running well in the state of Ohio, Reward the Miracle ships to Keeneland for her first try against stakes company. Last time out, he debuted on turf for the first time, winning by a length in a 5-furlong allowance race at Belterra Park. That effort gave his connections enough confidence to try this difficult spot.
#6 Abaco Dream – Trainer Wesley Ward had a nice summer at Monmouth Park with this horse. She was a well-beaten second in her first start, but she came back to dominate foes in an off-turf maiden special weight going 5 furlongs. This move back to the turf seems to make sense, but it will be her first race against the boys.
#7 The Sicarii – This horse enters off of a win last time out at Saratoga. That is never a bad thing, even if it was a maiden claiming event. Saratoga plays host to some of the toughest 2-year-old races in the country each year. Now, the son of Violence is trying the grass for the first time while also moving way up in class.
#8 Credit Swap – This is the logical next step after he won his debut race in runaway fashion. That maiden special weight at Monmouth Park was over 5 1/2 furlongs on turf and he drew off to win by 6 1/4 lengths. A win like that usually propels a 2-year-old into a try against stakes company, which is exactly what has happened in this case.
#9 Hide the Demon – This colt takes a shot on turf after spending his summer running on the synthetic surface at Arlington Park. He was a solid maiden special weight winner on debut before running fourth last time out in the Arlington Washington Futurity. He showed solid speed right out of the gate in both of those starts, and synthetic form often translates very well to turf.
#10 Next Dance – Another filly that will be trying the boys, she is also running on turf for the first time. Last time out, she was fourth in the Arlington Washington Lassie Futurity after breaking poorly and never making up much ground. She needs to get out of the gate a bit faster here, like she did when breaking her maiden on debut at Belterra Park.
#11 Mister Banjoman – This gelding ships in from Canterbury Park after winning two of three there over the summer. He is making his turf debut in this spot and has a pedigree that could be suitable for the lawn. In his last race, he set a very fast pace and held on to win by a hard-fought nose.
#12 All About It – His lone start was a maiden special weight at Saratoga. He finished second to Fog of War, who came back to win the Grade 1 Summer Stakes at Woodbine. Even though he lost in his only start and is still a maiden, it is clear that he has a good deal of talent. He should improve off of that race, which makes him very tough from this outside post.
#13 Jo Jo Air – If she draws into the race, then she will be trying to win her first career race after losing on debut. In that race, she contested the pace in a maiden special weight at Saratoga before fading to fourth. She has put in solid workouts since that, which could lead to her showing some improvement in this spot.
#14 Bizzee Channel – This son of English Channel has a great turf pedigree. The fact that he is still a maiden is concerning, though he has faced tough company in his two lifetime starts. Last time out, he shipped to Kentucky Downs and finished third after setting a fast pace and getting beat to the wire by a length. He shortens up in distance for this race, which will be to his advantage.
The $200,000 Indian Summer Stakes shares the card with two other Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In Races” at Keeneland this Sunday, a day when Belmont Park plays host to three additional “Win and You’re In” challenge races. The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” races will come to close on Wednesday, October 10 at Keeneland Race Course with the running of the Grade 2 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes. That race will serve as a “Win and You’re In” for the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
For more coverage of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, head over to racingdudes.com
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