Fa­vorites ap­pear vul­ner­a­ble in Let It Ride Stakes

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - Front Page - By Brad Free

The fa­vorites have flaws Satur­day at Del Mar, and skep­ti­cal horse­play­ers might con­sider Afleet As­cent and Prince Earl both vul­ner­a­ble in the $75,000 Let It Ride Stakes.

Or maybe the im­per­fec­tions are triv­ial. Per­haps one mile is within reach for dis­tance-chal­lenged Afleet As­cent. Maybe a 2-for-2 cam­paign is ad­e­quate prepa­ra­tion for un­sea­soned Prince Earl in his stakes de­but.

Vul­ner­a­ble or oth­er­wise, Afleet As­cent and Prince Earl are key con­tenders in the Let It Ride, a re­stricted race for 3-year-olds at a mile on turf. Other en­trants in­clude stakes win­ner Choo Choo, po­ten­tial pace­set­ter Calex­man, im­prov­ing Fight On, Risky Propo­si­tion, and Ex­tror­di­nary Jerry.

Jerry Hol­len­dor­fer trains Afleet As­cent, the most ac­com­plished in the field with three wins from 11 starts in­clud­ing a sec­ond-level al­lowance sprint win last out against older. Afleet As­cent, run­ner-up in the Ocean­side Stakes dur­ing the sum­mer meet, also has proven form on the Del Mar turf.

“He ran great at Del Mar,” as­sis­tant Dan Ward said, adding one qual­i­fier. “A mile might be about his tops.”

It might be too far. Afleet As­cent is 0 for 6 at one mile or more and lost ground to the win­ner ev­ery time.

Hol­len­dor­fer also starts Choo Choo, who was turned out af­ter go­ing off form in spring. Choo Choo won a maiden turf race at Del Mar last fall, and the Cal­i­for­nia Derby on syn­thetic in Jan­uary. The Let It Ride is his first start since May.

Prince Earl is the most in­ter­est­ing en­trant, hav­ing won both starts in­clud­ing a highly rated turf mile last out. The 5-2 fa­vorite by track line­maker Russ Hu­dak, Prince Earl did not be­gin his ca­reer un­til May of his 3-year-old sea­son.

“He wasn’t a 2-year-old, he was a big old grass-look­ing horse that needed time to ma­ture and get to the races,” trainer Phil D’Amato said.

The wait was worth it. Prince Earl won his de­but in a turf sprint, fol­lowed by a sharp vic­tory in a first-level al­lowance turf route at Del Mar. He en­tered the Grade 2 Twi­light Derby last week­end at Santa Anita but scratched.

A good ef­fort Satur­day could put Prince Earl in the Grade 1 Hol­ly­wood Derby on Dec. 1, though the class hike is steep. Two of the four win­ners of the Let It Ride at Del Mar ran back in the Hol­ly­wood Derby, but nei­ther was a fac­tor. The 2016 Let It Ride win­ner, De­fi­antly, fin­ished last in the Derby at 57-1; the 2015 win­ner, Crit­ten­den, fin­ished 12th at 73-1.

KEY CON­TENDERS

Afleet As­cent, by North­ern Afleet Last 3 Beyers: 90-89-89

◗ His al­lowance sprint win last out was flat­tered when third-place Brando the bar­tender re­turned to win a stakes race for Cal­i­for­nia-breds.

Prince Earl, by Paddy O’Prado Beyers: 93-87

◗ His 1:34.33 vic­tory two months ago was the fastest “rails-at-12-feet” turf mile of the Del Mar sum­mer meet, and fifth-fastest over­all.

Calex­man, by Mid­ship­man Last 3 Beyers: 82-89-88

◗ The ex­pected pace­set­ter, he is un­cer­tain to carry his speed two turns.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.