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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing

HIGHEST HONORS SEEKING GRADUATION INTO GRADE 1 COMPANY BY MEET’S END

The first half of Travers Prep Weekend starts now, more accurately Friday’s Curlin Stakes for three-year-olds “that have not won a graded stakes over a mile in 2019.”

Indeed one of the runners, Cairo Cat, did win a graded stakes over a mile, but that was the G3 Iroquois at 1-1/16 miles–as a juvenile of 2018. But the Curlin is not an easy spot for season’s debut.

If any of these horses are to run back at a mile and a quarter a month from now, they will have to show they belong today. Intrepid Heart (7-2) is getting class relief, but needs to justify the hype and his connection’s expectations.

There are three others here with lofty expectations, two from leading trainer Chad Brown–undefeated Looking At Bikinis (5-2) and near undefeated Highest Honors (5-1)–and Kiaran McLauglin’s Endorsed (6-1).

Looking at the potential race shape, Intrepid Heart is eligible for a pocket trip. Having drawn the rail and with some tactical gas, Johnny probably will attempt to break sharply, establish position, then sit.

Not sure what Javier will do with Looking At Bikinis, a winner going wire to wire in slop sprinting 6-1/2 furlongs then came off the pace stretching out to a mile in his first start at 3 last month.

Same can be said for Endorsed, who appears to have the most natural brilliance but has off-the-pace style, so who knows? And Highest Honors, who appears capable of a mid-race move with Jose O that can blow this thing open.

If we’re going to guess, it can’t be with the early line favorite who likely will improve but also likely will be overbet. Intrepid Heart needs to show something today; we’re inclined to wait and see. Endorsed has shown a big kick sprinting but this is a different ballgame; brilliant or not.

We like the confident Ortiz showed in Highest Honors in his maiden win. Runnerup Meet Me in LA, who was 10 lengths in front of the show finisher, came back to break maiden next out.

Pedigree, turn of foot, class and connections, he looks like the package. He’s worked purposefully since the maiden win; six trials designed to bring out his best. Taking Highest Honors, win and place, 3-1 at minimum.

YESTERDAY: Rain, rain did not go away. Thinking the John A Morrissey likely will be rescheduled.

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5 Responses

  1. Opportunity for a handful of ‘potentially’ good horses to step forward in the Curlin.

    “Looking At Bikinis” seems fairly solid, and could play that first turn to work a great trip.

    Too tough for me to bet my money. If I had to pick for fun, I’d try to hit a super with 3Bikini 5Rowayton and try to get long-shot 4GrumpTot on the same tickets…

  2. Won’t argue with you Rock. You are correct, this is a tough one with so much potential, so much talent but with a lot of questions. I reached out for some potential value and love the confidence Ortiz showed while breaking colt’s maiden last out. Like all of them, they will have to move forward. Picking for fun is a sign you love the game; racing needs more like you!

  3. Nice call on today’s feature John, I almost swept the table on the exacta and tri as well with the second and third runners reversed. Nonetheless, all good with the 4-1 and cashing the win ticket as it is all about the fun of the game for me. The tote-board coaxed me into using Bikini over Endorsed, when I originally had it the opp way. Oh well. Highest Honor looks to have a bright future. His horizons appear golden. All good for the connections and I am saving my winnings, and parlaying onto the travers with a Catholic Boy/HH exacta.

    My wife and I were out to eat at Steve’s Piccolo Bussala in Westbury recently and met a friend of Bob Ribaudo’s who turned out to be one of the owners of Catholic Boy. Same connections previously owned War Pass by the way, and WP is pictured on the wall of the restaurant along with several Bob’s Ribaudo’s and Nick Zito’s charges. I won’t get into names, but the elderly gentleman and his wife held the position that many others including Jonathan Thomas see Lasix as beneficial to the horses due to their concern over ulcers and bleeding. Two days later, I met another owner upstate in the Saugerties area who voiced the opinion that young thoroughbreds are asked to simply do too much too soon. Made me think of Mack Miller and Charlie Wittingham. My take on all of this is it is best to run without the race day meds, and somehow back away from the more aggressive two year old abusive campaigns. Run them only if ready. All of them. Two, Three, Four, etc.

    Once again, nice call. We live to do it all again tomorrow. Riders Up!

  4. Hey, making mistakes is my bailiwick, McD.

    I wrote tomorrow in the YESTERDAY section below the Bowling Green, that I’m a sore winner.

    HH was 5-1 when he was loaded into the gate. Official: $10.40.

    When you think of it, these huge last-minute pool access by computer betting syndicates, is a form of price fixing in a free market.

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