When Tapeta Track opened, Gulfstream management indicated it would not schedule stakes on the AW surface during the Championship meet. Well, it’s Breeders’ Cup weekend and the champions are a continent away. So, let’s take a look at who showed up in the Showing Up Stakes, Saturday’s 10th race feature for 3YOs going 1 mile, 70 yards..
Obviously, Fighting Force (4-1) will be a tough out, based on two Tapeta performances, one impressive win and a good placing vs. older horses. The move into this restricted stakes coming from a high-priced optional allowances might actually provide class relief. The negative is that he loses Miguel Vasquez who was aboard for both recent outings. He the likely ante post favorite.
And that’s what makes Hercules (15-1) so interesting here. The Brethren gelding was only two lengths behind Fighting Force when last they met, which was his first start since May and first time out since the trainer switch to Kent Sweeney. Talented Samy Camacho, a talented turf rider, takes the return call on a horse who breezed a bullet five-eighths for this at his PMM base.
Fighting Force was sharp beating him last out with a 5-wide turn move that carried him to victory. But while the winner was moving, Hercules was dropping back at the turn, was ridden hard into the lane where he surged to narrow the gap late once switched outside, arguably going better than the winner.
Check out the Going Gulfstream Video on the HRI homepage and you be the judge: Gulfstream Park, OCT 2, Race 6. And did we mention that the race marked his synthetic surface debut. So whether it was the trainer or jockey change, or the surface, it matters not as you get all of it at what figures to be a favorable risk-reward scenario.
We’re taking Hercules to win at 12-1 or greater and keying him in quinellas with Fighting Force and King of Dreams (7-2) who won his Tapeta debut in similar stakes company here on OCT 9. Exotics players should feel free to add Moonlite Strike (8-1) to that mix. The white hot Joseph-Zayas team runner was beaten 8-1/4 running off in his G3 synth debut at Turfway in March.