Applebee Closer Look: 11.26.22 Fall H’wt and Red Smith
Happy Fall Highweight Day!
The Highweight dates to 1914 when the filly Comely won the inaugural running as a two year old competing against older colts. Recent editions have seen hard-knocking fan favorites Stallwalkin’ Dude, Life in Shambles, Salutos Amigos, and Caixa Electronica take the top prize.
The Red Smith is the feature race today, and it marks the end of graded stakes turf racing in New York for 2022. We won’t see another graded stakes turf race in New York for five months.
Race 8 – The Fall Highweight Handicap – Grade III
Six Furlongs on the Dirt for Three Year Olds and Upward
This is a competitive field with four horses coming out of the Bold Ruler including the winner Runninsonofagun.
- Greeley and Ben: Won a starter allowance at 1/9 two weeks ago over this course by pressing the pace and getting clear in the last sixteenth (95 Beyer). Had a similar trip two back in the Bold Ruler (95 Beyer) but was out finished by both Runninsonofagun and Factor It In. Has won six times this year including overnight stakes at Sam Houston and Delta Downs. Transfers from Jeff Englehart to Faith Wilson’s barn for this race. Underneath player.
- Jaxon Traveler: Failed to fire in the Bold Ruler where he tracked the pace setter although he had a good inside trip (74 Beyer). Has he gone a bit off the boil this Fall, or was that last one just a throw out? Irad chooses to ride Factor It In. Passing.
- Happy Farm: Won this race in 2019 and this eight year old keeps on firing with two seconds this Fall for Mike Miceli. Enters here off a bit of a freshening. Should be up on the pace – but can he finish off a group like this? Last out (96 Beyer) he lost by a head to Synthesis who he faces again today. Had to swing five wide and that may have been the difference. Should find a good stalking position. Hits the board.
- Bezos: Seemingly got a new lease on life when he was claimed by his current connections. He has won both races since that claim and the Beyer figs jumped from the mid-60s to 80s. Those two efforts employed the use of bug riders with a significant weight break. Looks to makes it three in a row while trying graded stakes company for the first time. Is the low weight at 123 pounds. Overmatched.
- Synthesis: Ran a career best Beyer (96) last out against N2X company in his first race on this surface where he pressed the pace to win a head bob against Happy Farm. Where did that come from? Maybe David Jacobson figured found something – or was it a one off. Has hit he board in six of seven starts this year. Irad takes off and his brother replaces him in the irons here. Possible bottom side of exotics.
- Factor It In: Co-highweight at 132 pounds ran well in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler (96 Beyer) and had the lead mid-stretch but was out finished by two outside horses in the last couple of jumps. Two back he won the restricted Challedon Stakes at Laurel (94 Beyer) on sloppy track. Stalker is in good form while showing steady improvement in speed figs. Irad takes the mount over other options. Would be the first graded stakes win for mid-Atlantic based Carlos Mancilla. The Pick.
- Runninsonofagun: Co-highweight at 132 pounds, last out he was much best in the Bold Ruler (97 Beyer) where he was five wide and had to fight off Eastern Bay late. That was his first race after taking on some pretty tough customers in the Dwyer, Amsterdam, and Jerkens this summer. Only three year old in the race. Should be sitting in the second flight behind the early speed. Bullet work on 11/19. Win candidate.
Race 9 – The Red Smith – Grade II
One Mile and Three Furlongs on the Inner Turf for Three Year Olds and Upward
- Highest Honors: Chad Brown trained six year old colt has been competitive against his level with two thirds in graded stakes this year. Last out in the Sycamore Stakes he worked out a nice inside trip and finished well to get third (97 Beyer). Hasn’t won since his first turf start last winter at Gulfstream in optional claiming company. Steadily improving figs, Irad in the irons. Dangerous.
- Daunt: Won against N1X company last out (88 Beyer) over this surface and distance. Steps up to take on older stakes horses and is the only three year old in the field. Castellano goes to Temple. Passing.
3: Balthus: Steadily developing Chad Brown runner ran through his conditions in three consecutive races. Last out he ran a career best 97 Beyer that day at Keeneland in the Sycamore while finding traffic almost the whole length of the stretch before getting a seam and finishing in a six way photo alongside Temple and Highest Honors behind Highland Chief. With a better trip he would have been right there. Win candidate.
- Astronaut: Ran a very good third in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic last out behind War Like Goddess (100 Beyer) at 68-1. Pressed the pace that day but came short in the last furlong while staying on reasonably well. No shame in that performance. Will need a repeat of that career best performance to contend. Lean against.
- Shawdyshawdyshawdy: He ran through his allowance conditions in his last two starts with Jose Ortiz in the irons who takes off today for Soldier Rising. Last out he won an off the turf race with a nice stalking inside trip. Two back he kept on coming to get the win by a neck (88 Beyer). Passing.
- Mooney Love: Mott trained colt won his first start on this side of the pond with a 91 Beyer. He ground down the leader in the last furlong of that twelve furlong allowance race. Has won going shorter and over soft ground. Has been freshened since that win in July at the Spa. Potential for a piece.
- Reigning Spirit: Enters here off a win at Keeneland in a N2X race where he was at the back of the pack and rolled eight wide to get the win (91 Beyer). In his only other graded stakes attempt he just missed at the wire in the Louisville Stakes at Churchill. He can stick closer to the front or lay off the pace and has a good late kick. Water is too deep.
- Temple: Mike Maker trained gelding has been running against quality stakes company all year. Hasn’t won since the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida in March (100 Beyer) but ran well in the United Nations, and the Sycamore. Only poor showing of the year was at Kentucky Downs, which can be forgiven. Gets a piece.
- Soldier Rising: Ran into traffic trouble in the stretch last out in the Joe Hirsch (100 Beyer) and could have been second with a better trip. Two back he was a strong third behind Gufo last out in the Sword Dancer (103 Beyer). Consistent runner has hit the board in five of six starts and has run behind Gufo, War Like Goddess, and Channel Maker – finds a softer spot today. The Pick.
- Beacon Hill: Primarily has run against overnight stakes company and is zero for six on the year. Now he steps up to graded stakes company. Demand a price.
- Dynadrive: Tom Morley trained runner comes in here off a ninth in the Knickerbocker Stakes last month (90 Beyer) when asked in the stretch he didn’t gain. Will need pace up front to give him the right set up like he got three back in the restricted Lure Stakes at the Spa in order to contend and there appears to be no pace here. Looking elsewhere.
- 12. Cold Hard Cash: Has been in good form for Linda Rice and has hit the board in his last three races against Speed figs aren’t far off and is the likely leader against a group with very little early pace. Can he take them all the way? Doesn’t seem likely. Passing.
- Kinetic Sky: MTO entrant. Will be the favorite if this comes off the turf with two wins in his last three dirt races with a career best 98 Beyer last out. Dirt pick.
- I Am the Law: MTO entrant. He began his career on the turf and then broke his maiden in an off the turf race. Connections have now run him in off the turf events in four of his last five starts and he has two wins and two seconds to show. Potential if this gets washed off.
Picks 9-3-8-1 Dirt 13-1-14