Saturday, January 11, 2020 -- 2:10:00 PM EST | Race ID : 2353935
Wicker Sofa Stakes
Grade III / Group 3*CPU - Purse : $150,000
Restricted to 4 Year Olds and Older
6 Furlongs | ~1200 Meters | Three Quarters of a Mile Fast Dirt
In Japan this weekend we will see the running of the G3, Wicker Sofa Stakes. This race is open to all contenders that are 4 years old and older. There will be one mare gracing the field for this event as they sprint a distance of 6 furlongs across the dirt. There are no prior Graded level winners in this field of ten horses, so one of them will earn their first Graded badge if they can cross the wire first. The track is looking good and ready to go and will be listed as Fast Dirt at post time. The owners all feel this will be a closely contested race is the buzz around the barns as they give their jockeys last minute instructions. The morning line odds have been posted and post positions have been drawn. Let us now take a preview as to how this field stacks up for this race as they prepare to run here in Japan in the G3, Wicker Sofa Stakes at 2:10pm on Saturday.
Post Position: 1
Horse/Odds: Carnival Breeze 9/1
Sire: Redoute’s Choice
Jockey: Y Yang
This GP badge earning Bay Gelding found that ticket back on 09/14/2019 while traveling a distance of 6 furlongs in Victoria when he crossed the wire 3rd after getting caught late in the stretch coming for home. His last trip to the track was in Ireland on 12/07/2019 going 6 furlongs in a $43,800 NW4L Allowance of which he handily went gate to wire to pick up a win. This horse will get the services of Y Yank, who is a local jockey here in Japan. He will take to the irons for this race and try to keep this horse at or near the front when they break from a favorable post position draw. There is slight concern in that this horse has never traveled across a dirt surface in any prior races.
Post Position: 2
Horse/Odds: A Thing Of Beauty 17/1
Jockey: M Scott
This 4 year old Roan Colt is a prior SP badge earner which came to him back in February of last year in Indiana at a distance of 7 furlongs. This colts last trip to the track was in Kansas on 11/10/2019 when he went 6 furlongs in a Listed Stakes, the Project En La Deer. He maintained second in that race the majority of the race, but faded down the stretch to finish up 5th and was 2 lengths back at the wire. He will be making a long trip here to Japan and we will have to keep out an eye to see how he handles this. He tends to run at or near the front in his best outings and for this race the owner puts in a call to jockey, M Scott from out of Thailand to ride up top of his colt. They will be heading to their post to represent the DelPenn National residency.
Post Position: 3
Horse/Odds: Gutha Geranium 6/1
Jockey: T Brewer
This 5 year old Grey Mare will be the lone female gracing this field on Saturday. She was picked up in a claiming race back in July of last year and under new stable management went back to running at the Allowance level. Her last trip to the track came on 12/07/2019 when she ran 7 furlongs in Virginia in the Storm Harbor Dirt Mare Sprint. She showed up 3rd at the wire in this Listed Stakes to earn her SP badge that day. She too will be making a long trip to get to Japan for her first Graded level outing. Her owner has put in the call to jockey, T Brewer from Hong Kong to come in and take the ride with her as she heads to the post to face the boys and represent East-West Connection residency.
Post Position: 4
Horse/Odds: Baba Might Fly 4/1
Sire: Powerful Goer
Jockey: B Ball
Come post time this prior Stakes winner and Local Champion will make his way here coming in from California. This 6 year old Bay Gelding has exclusively run in Listed, Graded or Local Championship races all of the 2019 season. He had two prior G3 attempts during 2019, but both came up fruitless for this horse. He will seek to change that here in Japan and at the very least try to catch a spot on the boards. He last ran in California going 6 furlongs in the G3, The Uncle Vernon of which he was 4th in a hotly contested race and was only a half length back from the winner when he crossed the wire. Jockey, B Ball from China will get the call to ride this horse and will be seeking to get him into a nice position close to the rail for a big final stretch run. They will head to their gate on Saturday representing the Hoosier Racing residency.
Post Position: 5
Horse/Odds: Awake At Dawn 9/2
Sire: Dawn Approach
Jockey: K Ledwith
This 5 year old Light Grey Horse also put in a lot of mileage at the Listed Stakes and Local Championship levels during the 2019 season. His last trip to the track was in a Listed Stakes in Thailand going 5.5 furlongs in the Ink Jay Dirt Sprint. He was making his move but came up short when he placed 2nd and 1 length back when he hit the wire. The owner has contracted with jockey, K Ledwith who is a top rider and crowd pleasing jockey here in Japan. This alone should draw plenty of action on this horse at the betting window. But to his credit this horse raced eight times in 2019 and was only off the boards once. In those eight outings he collected four wins in 2019. This is not a horse to overlook at post time when they represent the Blazing Saddles residency.
Post Position: 6
Horse/Odds: Summer Minning 13/1
Sire: Scratch Bred: (HENNY HUGHES x MINING x SUMMER SQUALL)
Jockey: H Harzheim
This 4 year old Chestnut Colt ran a fairly heavy schedule in the 2019 season, but comes into this race well rested and ready. He had one prior G3 start in 2019 of which was met with difficulty when he ran in the G3, Llama Enforcer Stakes in China back in March of last year. His last trip to the track was in Sweden going a distance of 6.5 furlongs in a Listed Stakes, the Band Camp Dirt Memorial where he made a closing attempt and showed up in 3rd at the wire and was 1 ½ lengths back with a 107 speed rating, which was his best for the 2019 season. His owner will be having jockey, H Harzheim coming in from Dubai to take to the irons up top of his colt for this trip here in Japan. He will try to capitalize on this colts last trip to the track and step him back up in Class for the G3 outing. They will head together to the post representing the Elite Racing Club residency.
Post Position: 7
Horse/Odds: Tamarock 6/1
Jockey: V Hartsfield
You could have claimed this 6 year old Bay Horse when he last ran here in Japan on 10/30/2019 in a $100,000 Claiming race. That was two wins in a row at the Claiming Level. He went gate to wire in that last outing winning handily against that field of horses traveling 5.5 furlongs. Back in July of 2019 he did place 3rd in a Local Championship Stakes in Ireland at a distance of 8 furlongs. He will be making his first career start at the Graded level and he has gotten a little attention in the morning line from the odds makers. He will have jockey, V Hartsfield coming in from India to take the ride with this horse as they head out to represent the Universal Racing Club residency at post time.
Post Position: 8
Horse/Odds: Mogard Lacton 102/1
Jockey: S Kagawa
This extremely heavily raced 4 year old Bay Colt gets no love from the odds makers in their morning line. He raced a total of fourteen time during the 2019 season which consisted of races both on the turf and on the dirt. Back in January of 2019 in New Zealand he did earn his GP badge running on the turf in the G3, Adam George Cup of which he missed the wire by a head to place 2nd in that race. Since that race this horse has struggled and has only found the boards one time again and that was back in October of 2019 in an Allowance race in Belgium. He is taking a step back up in Class and his jockey, S Kagawa who is a local jockey here in Japan will need to find some extra fire and a rejuvenated heart when they head to the gates representing the Bro Park residency.
Post Position: 9
Horse/Odds: Knife Block 7/2
Sire: Street Boss
Jockey: J Whaley
This 6 year old Brown Horse was lightly raced in the 2019 season and he caught the eye of the odds makers as they place him as their favorite in the morning line. He is a prior Listed Stakes winner and has shown up to hit the boards at this level multiple times in his career. His last outing came on 11/22/2019 in New York when he traveled 6 furlongs in a $75,000 Allowance race. He closed nicely to make it to the wire 1st for a 1 ½ length win. He will be making a long travel from New York for this race which we will have to see how he handles. Jockey, J Whaley will be flying in from China for the mount up top of this favorite in the morning line. They will head to the post parade together representing the Empire State Racing residency.
Post Position: 10
Horse/Odds: Varvar Black Sheep 5/1
Jockey: H Artack
This 5 year old Brown Horse is coming off two straight Local Championship Stakes wins in South Africa. His last outing was on 12/02/2019 when he went 6 furlong and came fast in the rearview mirror of the front runners. He closed nicely in that race to make it to the wire first by 1 ¼ lengths. He will get the services of jockey, H Artack who will be flying in from Turkey to take to the mount up top. He will have a lot of horse to work with in this race and I do not foresee this outside post position being a major issue. They will head out to their gate come race time representing the Midas residency.
Good luck to all owners and horses!
Skippy's Watch List
Varvar Black Sheep: Coming off two Local Championships Stakes wins has to be looked at in this race.
AWAKE AT DAWN: Has been looking for a win and he has the top local jockey in the saddle.
BABA MIGHT FLY: Just missed the boards in his last G3 trip. He looks hungry.
SUMMER MINING: Has been improving and at 13/1 in the morning line he is worth the price to put on some of your exotic tickets at the betting window.