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FrontRunner Stakes

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 9/25/2015 12:07:02 AM

With a number of important races to decide from this weekend, let’s take a look at the 8 and a half-furlong $300,000 FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita because it is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series and the winner will also receive 10 points qualifying for next year’s Kentucky Derby.


Formerly named the Norfolk Stakes, stars like Flying Paster, Snow Chief, Best Pal, Brother Derek and Lookin at Lucky have won this event over the decades. Last year the living legend American Pharoah won this fixture.


A Longshot With Some Value: Hollywood Don

If this runner can translate his turf form to dirt, he’ll be a handful. He has shown tactical speed and that will give him first turn on the deep closers.

The Pick: Ben’s Cat Nyquist (Win)

From the rail out, Go Long steadied in the debut, this ridgling proved he could take the heat of a speed duel to graduate and then was left with too much work to do in his stakes debut. His sire was a Grade 2 winner routing, his Grade 3 winning dam won stakes routing and earned nearly $550,000. A pair of siblings attempted to route but there were out of the money 4 times combined in those routes.

Handled by the Desormeaux trainee Swipe in the debut, On Fire’s sire was a Grade 2 winner routing. His grass only dam won twice at this distance and this is her first to race.

Blamitonthelaw was impressive in the debut, this colt pushed the issue briefly in the Del Mar Futurity before reality set in and he was 8 back at the finish. He has a right to run all day as his sire took the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Both of dam’s wins were sprints but sibling Bourbon Sense won at a mile and an 8th in a $100,000 stakes.

Nyquist , a son of Uncle Mo, who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile himself, did something in the debut that doesn’t happen everyday and that’s come back on and win after losing the lead. He drew off nicely in his next start and then was coming away late when making it 3 for 3 in the DMR Futurity. His dam’s lone win was a sprint and this is her first to race.

Hollywood Don had a valid excuse when off slowly in the debut. No mistakes since that troubled debut and he has a right to have a nice career as kin West Ocean won a turf stakes at this very distance on way to over $350,000 career and half brother Unbridled Ocean banked over $330,000. Both of those runners were turf only.

Rare Candy nearly out ran his 21-1 odds in fine debut and then he took the turf in his grass debut. He caught career splits last time and just could not keep up. He seems to have taken to this surface with the 2 best of the morning drills, the last a :46 and change work last Wednesday. His trainer knows what to do with a good horse as he trained Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold.

It’s never simple to break the maiden in a stakes but that is on Swipe’s resume and he proved he has talent by chasing Nyquist home in his last 2 efforts. Bred to run all day on top as his sire won the Belmont Stakes, his dam’s lone win was a sprint and the 2 siblings that won were sprint only.

Mt Veeder , an unbeaten son of Ghostzapper, who could run all day long and proved it taking the BC Classic, is out of a dam that won 2 sprints and is kin to Grade 2 route winner and millionaire Two Item Limit. All 5 siblings won including a double route winner who succeeded at this distance.

Nyquist has the look of something special and he could put himself in the favorite’s role for the BC Juvenile with a win today.

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