HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, June 13 — Short fields are a recurring theme in the stakes ranks, especially races when a “superior horse” is expected to show up. But a handful of horses still can produce value relative to winnability.
As coach Parcells famously said, “you are what your record says you are,” and clearly the Kentucky Derby runnerup is the most accomplished member of today’s group at Monmouth Park.
After adding blinkers, Mandaloun won the G2 Risen Star, was a mysterious no- show in the Louisiana Derby, rebounded quite nicely in Kentucky and even looked the part of a winner but was one-paced at the end as Medina Spirit kept finding.
Following a two-week hiatus after the Derby, Mandaloun (3-5) shows four good works for his return, all spaced nicely on a weekly schedule.
Whatever level of fitness he may have as a consequence, an 80 to 90 percent Mandaloun should be enough to handle the Gotham and Remsen winners.
But as we saw yesterday with another Cox trainee at Churchill Downs, when Juliet Foxtrot finished second to the peaking Mnted, sometimes class is not enough.
In that context, it might be useful to remember that Weyburn’s Gotham Stakes was one of the fastest Kentucky Derby this year and he is a right to develop further, of course.
Trainer Jimmy Jerkens has chosen an interesting spot to return. Originally considered a possible Belmont Stakes prospect, those plans were scuttled, including the Peter Pan prep.
All else being equal, we know where Mandaloun will show up next, and today’s race is a bridge to the Haskell. But what of Weyburn (7-2)? What to do with him?
And the surmise is that’s what Jerkens is here to find out. Where does his three-year-old belong now? What’s next for him, the ultimate 2021 goal?
Given his record, a worthy 23% win rate and positive ROI with shippers, when added to a fast, purposefully spaced workouts, Jerkens appears to have his charge ready for best.
At 3-1 or more, we’re willing to pay to find out with a straight bet on Weyburn, and an exacta box with the favorite.
Favorite bettors had anxious moment as odds-on Mandaloun broke in a tangle and was last of five going into the first turn, forcing him to come from farther back than usual. But Mandaloun asserted his class at to get the money and his needed prep for the G1 Haskell.
Extremely game Weyburn was second by a head, coming again late after dropping back to third for several strides between horses in midstretch.
Resurgent, it appeared for a moment as if it would be Gotham redux for Weyburn when he literally snatched victory from defeat’s jaws in the final jump. He almost did so again but had too much to do to reclaim the lead from the favorite who had forward momentum down the lane.
It is apparent that the manner of victory would seem to assure a good-sized field for next month’s centerpiece on the Jersey Shore.