Sham Stakes Race Preview: by Bobby Raposa

Sham Stakes Race Rundown

By: Bobby Raposa

Due to the New Year’s Day cancellation of Aqueduct’s Jerome Stakes, Santa Anita’s Grade 3, $100,000 Sham Stakes is now the first race of 2018 on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Trainer Bob Baffert, who has won this race twice in the past four years, has two entered in Saturday’s race, McKinzie and Mourinho.

McKinzie will look to add to the 10 points he has already earned for his win in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity, while Mourinho will try to steal the spotlight in the Baffert barn and put some points of his own up on the Derby standings.  

Along with the Baffert duo, will be a field of five other competitors in search of taking home the race’s $100,000 purse. They include My Boy Jack, Here Is Happy, All Out Blitz, Shivermetimbers and City Plan, three of which are coming off first-place finishes.

The Field:

Number Horse Jockey Trainer M/L Odds
1. My Boy Jack Kent Desormeaux Keith Desormeaux 12-1
2. Here Is Happy Josesph Talamo Craig Lewis 20-1
3. All Out Blitz Tyler Baze Simon Callaghan 10-1
4. Mourinho Drayden Van Dyke Bob Baffert 4-1
5. Shivermetimbers Flavien Prat Jerry Hollendorfer 7-2
6. McKinzie Mike Smith Bob Baffert 3-5
7. City Plan Tyler Conner Eoin Harty 20-1

(1) My Boy Jack: 12-1

Although this colt has the most experience of the bunch, this will be his first try on dirt since his first career start back in June, where he finished sixth in a five-furlong maiden special weight at Santa Anita. This will also be his first start since finishing seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. With that being said, albeit on turf, My Boy Jack does seem to like going a mile, as he is 5-1-3-0 lifetime at the distance. He will need to return to his best form and hope it translates to the new surface.  

(2) Here Is Happy: 20-1

Here Is Happy broke his maiden in his first career start, but has been winless since. He has finished behind Mourinho twice, including a sixth place, 19-length defeat to Greyvitos in the Grade 3 Bob Hope Stakes. His third-place finish in the Speakeasy Stakes back in October has been his best finish since moving up to stakes level competition.

(3) All Out Blitz: 10-1

All Out Blitz has progressed in each race of his career so far, improving from a fifth-place finish to a third-place finish to breaking his maiden last time out at Los Alamitos. The mile distance will be the longest he’s ever gone and the class will be the best that he has ever faced. Is he a win candidate? It doesn’t seem like it. However, he does fit the bill for an exotic wager play.

(4) Mourinho: 4-1

This three-year-old son of Super Saver broke his maiden first time out, besting Peace and Instilled Regard. Peace has since finished second to Shivermetimbers and broke his maiden in a 1 1/16m maiden special weight. Meanwhile, Instilled Regard has also broken his maiden in a 1 1/16m maiden special weight and finished a close second to McKinzie in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity.

(5) Shivermetimbers: 7-2

Two months after Mourinho broke his maiden against Peace, Shivermetimbers did the same his last time out in a one-mile maiden special weight. He squared off against McKinzie two starts back, where he finished third, beaten by 6 ¼ lengths. He benefits from having a win at the mile distance and the class of his opponents.


(6) McKinzie: 3-5

This 3-year-old son of Street Sense is undefeated in two career starts. However, last time out, his win came in controversial fashion in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity, as he finished second, but was awarded first due to the disqualification of his stablemate, Solomini. Back on December 27th, McKinzie worked well with a horse that many have strong beliefs is the next Kentucky Derby champion, Ax Man, who broke his maiden with a visually impressive run on January 1st, also Santa Anita.

(7) City Plan: 20-1

The one good thing to be said about this colt is, he did snag a stakes victory in the $75,000 Gold Rush at Golden Gate. However, that was over a synthetic surface.  He did break his maiden on dirt a few months back, but that was against weaker competition. His two races in which he faced the likes of Bolt d’Oro, Solomini and St. Patrick’s Day, City Plan has finished sixth and seventh.  

With McKinzie likely to be bet down even lower than his morning-line odds of 3-5 I’m going to try and beat him.

The superfecta is back on danonymousracing!

The Play: $1boxed superfecta  4, 6, 3, 5

As always, good luck!

(photo: DRF)

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