14 entrants will go 9.5 Furlongs on the fast California dirt all in search of their first graded stakes victory while leaving town with the necessary points required to enter the Bluegrass Derby. This race may not carry the prestige as the traditional Derby preps run this time of year, but this field offers up plenty of intrigue and whoever comes out on top of this tough field will no doubt deserve a spot in the run for the roses. Let us take a peek at the field.
1) INTO BEING BAD – simsters1 – 6/1
Entered the Grade 3 Scam on the 1st of February having finished in the money in his first seven career starts and looked to be hot on the derby trail and ready to take the next step. Unfortunately he was only able to earn a 5th place finish, beaten 3-1/2 lengths despite a good late surge at the leaders. The dream appeared to be over for this son of Into Mischief but he rebounded nicely winning by 3 lengths over listed company going 9.5 furlongs while posting a career best 101 speed figure. He will be running his 4th race in as many months this Sunday, but if he has enough in the tank look for him to make a winning bid in the Partnership.
2) PERSONABLE – ticketman0 – 8/1
This son of Mendelssohn is an allowance winning machine having won in his most recent 3 starts against restricted allowance company. He finished 7th in his first Grade 3 try back in November. He tried Grade 3 company again on March 1st in the Gary Asher Memorial stakes where he again faded to 7th before crossing the finish line. He has yet to post a triple digit speed figure and this will be the longest trip in his career. His connections will be hoping the added distance and his experience gained will be enough to push him over the top Sunday.
3) DOORS CLOSING – akaran2 – 9/1
This late-running son of Candy Ride enters this race after finishing a well beaten 4th in the Fountain of Ute in late February. He has not found the winner’s circle since earning his stakes winning badge against listed company in September as a two year old. He has shown improvement in just about every one of his 10 career starts and he posted a career best 101 in the Fountain of Ute. He will be given an extra furlong to catch them on Sunday. Another improved effort should put him near the front of this group nearing the finish line.
4) TO FILL THE RACE – given5 – 13/1
This scratch bred of Will Take Charge enters the Partnership having not won a race since July of last year as a 2 year old. He has posted three 2nd place finishes against listed stakes company since then, including his last effort in British Columbia back in mid-February. His career best speed of 95 is a bit short in comparison to his challengers, but seems like he’s due to have a break-out party after being competitive in just about every one of his career starts. Comes from the battle-tested Given stables at a nice price and should be one to take a look at.
5) SEPOY REBEL – desertdog2 – 21/1
This son of Sepoy entered the listed Emirates Air Stakes in Ireland back on March 1st in his first contest as a three year old. It was his first start at longer than 6 furlongs and his first start on the dirt since his first time start as a two year old. The stretch-out in distance, the rest, and the surface switch proved to be a winning formula as he went wire to wire going 9 furlongs over a soggy racetrack. He will be getting a faster course this Sunday as well as stiffer competition as he looks to claim the Grade 1 prize. Both a break-out and bounce candidate, we will learn a lot about SEPOY REBEL in this one.
6) FLAT FINDER – given14- 14/1
The third contestant from the given stables, this son of Flatter is looking take home his first stakes victory in Sunday’s Partnership. Just missed going this distance in Minnesota’s Franco Invasion Dirt Route while showing huge improvement in his first start as a 3 year old. He regressed a bit scaling back to 9 furlongs in his previous start while finishing 4th. He has every reason to rebound and get back to the form he showed in his first start of the year.
7) MENACE OF WAR – trooper – 5/1
The son of War Front enters this race morning line favorite having come off perhaps the most impressive start made by any other in this race. After finishing in the money 5 for 5 lifetime to start his career, MENACE OF WAR made the switch to dirt and went wire to wire while posting a blazing 107 speed over a fast Arkansas track. Will need to hold onto the lead for an extra furlong this time around which may prove tough as he is making his 4th start of the 2020 season. If he is able to repeat his last performance, he certainly looks like the one to beat.
8) FREE BASE ROAD – given1 – 12/1
Given’s son of Quality Road and half brother to two stakes winners is coming off of an impressive 2nd place effort last time out against listed company. He changed up running style by coming from further back than he normally does and just missed the win by less than a length while posting a very competitive 105 speed rating. He will be given an extra 1/16 of a mile in this race to hit the wire first and very much appears to be on the up and up. His breeding and family performance alone make him appealing against this group.
9) WE SAY NOT TODAY – given6 – 12/1
Like his stable mate directly to his inside, royally bred WE SAY NOT TODAY (Madaglia D’Oro x Mr. Prospector x Unbridled) enters his second stakes try after coming up less than a length short of victory last time out. He also showed a heavy late kick while erasing a 10 length deficit only to miss the win by a few strides. He also will be getting an extra 1/2 furlong in this race and looks to have plenty of early speed in this race to chase down. Hard to look past these runners from the Given barn.
10) CAN DO SPIRIT – lasthope1 – 10/1
This horse was entered in a listed stakes in February after being bought at auction by the dixiedotco stables and the investment immediately paid off. The son of Honor Code went on to win an effortless 2-1/2 length victory in his first stakes try. Much like most of this group, CAN DO SPIRIT is making a big jump up to Grade 1 class but is one of the relative few that are entering this race with the confidence that comes with a win. Will need to improve on his career best 101 speed but stands eligible to do so in just his 7th career start. Has yet to finish worst than runner-up in his career and will be looking to continue that trend on Sunday.
11) RUMAANA – alibilane56 – 16/1
This son of Drosselmeyer has won 5 of 6 lifetime. However, four of his career starts have come in HOT races – all of which he won. His other two career starts have come against listed stakes company. His first try came as a 2 year old in the Kentucky Juvenile Stakes where he finished a well beaten 7th. After dispensing HOT company easily in early February, he tried his hand against stakes company once again last time out in the Pulpit Stakes at this distance. He won that race by 3 lengths in a hand ride. It’s fair to say that he has been asked to answer the call the least in this group and shouldn’t be carrying much, if any, fatigue into this race. This will be his stiffest challenge but he has proven he can handle this distance. A real contender at a nice price.
12) IMBIL COPPER – upgrade – 11/1
This son of Awesome Again out of a stakes winning Tapit mare is entering this contest 2 for 2 in 2020. He earned is stakes winning badge last time out against listed company in British Columbia’s Oblivious Halo Dirt Route going 9 furlongs. His mare did most of her damage in the sprint division so it remains to be seen if IMBIL COPPER is best fit to handle this distance. Will get a chance to prove his last victory was for real this Sunday. Will be one of the handful coming from many lengths back down the stretch in this one.
13) INTO ELATION – confessor – 21/1
The 6th and final entry from the Given stables in this field. Stop me if you heard this before. This son of Into Mischief is making his 2nd try against stakes company after losing by a head bob in his previous start on March 1st. He is getting an extra furlong to catch the front runners on Sunday. His top speed numbers don’t match up to many in this field, but seems to be improving on those numbers with each and every start. This one is worth betting if for no other reason than who the trainer is and he presents the highest possible return on investment at the betting windows.
14) GOOD OLD SNEAKERS – plano22 – 6/1
Finished 2nd in listed stakes races in his two 2020 starts. He posted speeds of 105 and 100 in those races respectively while going 8.5 furlongs on the fast dirt. His last effort appears to have been a bit of a bounce and will be looking to rebound here. He is a very real improvement candidate in this race despite never having won a stakes race. Has winning bloodlines (Union Rags x Mr. Prospector x Secretariat) and should be able to handle the stretch-out in distance. Hopefully the outside post in not a hindrance for this runner.
7) MENACE OF WAR – Morning line favorite for good reason. That last race was an impressive one.
5) SEPOY REBEL – Should improve on a faster track after the impressive switch from turf to dirt.
9) WE SAY NOT TODAY – Love the breeding, love the trajectory, love the odds. Also, a great Game of Thrones reference shouldn’t go ignored.
*Longshot pick* 13) INTO ELATION – Surprised to see both he and SEPOY rebel as co-longest shot on the board in this one. 21/1 is a nice price for this one.