This Saturday at the G2 Jerome Stakes, Bob Baffert will be looking to add one more to the streak of top stakes performances by his three-year-olds this year. Baffert sends out Stirred Up (2/1) and Brigand (4/1) to the $200,000 one-mile stakes race at the Aqueduct race track.
Fresh off his one-two finish with Bodemeister and Secret Circle at the Arkansas Derby, no other trainer is hotter with the three-year-olds than Bob Baffert. His two entries in the Jerome here have a very good chance of giving Baffert another one-two finish in consecutive stakes races.
Stirred Up, a son of Lemon Drop Kid, finished third to Daddy Nose Best in the Sunland Derby his last time out. He paid the price of being too near a hot pace in that race and ended up the best of the tiring horses in third place, eight lengths behind the winner.
Expect jockey Martin Garcia to be more cautious with the pace in this race and let his horse run the way he does best, off the pace. He is working very hard for this race and is the horse to beat.
The other Baffert horse, Brigand, puts on the blinkers for the first time for this race. He won in his debut race by a nose and has finished second a couple of times since but has not shown much yet.
But he has been working lights recently, especially his last race on April 13, where he posted a bullet :47 1/5 for four furlongs—the best of 16 that day.
Have to look out for him. In this case, this horse is a pace-stalker which, with the blinkers on, might be more alert at the start and force the issue up front. Baffert has added help with jockey Corey Nakatani aboard, who is great with front-running horses.
The second choice in the morning line is The Lumber Jack (5/2). He went unbeaten into the Wood Memorial after two impressive starts won by a combined 13.5 lengths. He set the pace in the Wood but finished a tiring fifth, over six lengths behind the winner.
Not a bad thing when you consider he had never gone two turns and ran into a couple of horses named Gemologist and Alpha—pretty good horses those two.
The son of Grand Slam will cut back in distance here and goes back to one-turn racing. He doesn't seem to be a particularly flashy workout horse, and his most recent workout seems to be pure maintenance since he ran just two weeks ago.
He is the fastest horse and has the rail, which should benefit him. But there are a couple horses at the Wood Memorial that can press the pace, and he better be ready to fight if he wants to win.
Dan and Sheila is the horse Todd Pletcher trained for the Wood Memorial. He won his debut and had a good showing (fourth) one race alter in the Lecomte Stakes. Then he disappeared in the Gotham on his last race finishing 11th, beaten by 22 lengths to Hansen.
Rosie Napravnik gets the mount which makes this an intriguing horse to look at. To me, with just average workouts for this race, he needs to improve to win even in a lesser quality field.
Right to Vote is a winner in two of his four lifetime races. He is a fast horse that finished a tiring third (five lengths behind) to Union Rags in the Champagne last year at one mile. He then returned off his six-month layoff with a win at 6.5 furlongs but will have to prove that he can get the distance and be able to contest a swift pace here to win.
Adirondack King will be happy to see Secret Circle is not in this race. He finished third and seventh—although equally distanced—in both Secret Circle wins at the Southwest and Rebel Stakes.
Who will win the Jerome Stakes?
He had to run very wide on both races and finished running flattened on the Rebel Stakes—a race that was two turns at 8.5 furlongs. He seems better suited to the one-turn one-mile races which is what he will get here.
Expect jockey Ken Carmouche to run him off the pace and make one move to take advantage of the pace-setters. I expect a big move forward from this horse here; he is my pick to win this race.
Term Loan is another one of the front running horses here. He comes from running four straight miles on this track. He broke his maiden in his last race earning a 90 Beyer figure for it. That number is the best for the horses here along with The Lumber Guy's 90 in his debut.
This horse has been working out excellently since, which points to a move forward, but the contested pace could work against him. Jockey Alan Garcia might look to take advantage of his outside post, track the pace and move mid-race like he did three races ago.
If he does that, he has a great chance to change the outcome of the race and win.
The Jerome Stakes is not known for producing Kentucky Derby runners or winners, the exception to that is Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000. But it serves as one of the audition races for possible Preakness Stakes contenders.
So make sure you watch it, and you will have a heads up on who might be contending for the second jewel of the Triple Crown this year.
Predicted Finishing Order (Top Three)
Win - Adirondack King
Place - Stirred Up
Show - Dan and Sheila
Jerome Stakes | Grade II | Purse: $200,000 | Distance: 8 Furlongs | Post Time: 5:00 p.m. ET
|1||The Lumber Guy||Michael J. Luzzi||Michael E. Hushion||5/2
|2||Brigand||Corey S. Nakatani||Bob Baffert||4/1|
|3 ||Stirred Up||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||2/1|
|4 ||Dan and Sheila||Rosie Napravnik||Todd A. Pletcher||12/1|
|5 ||Right to Vote||Alex Solis||Eoin Harty||5/1|
|6 ||Adiondack King||Ken Carmouche||John C. Servis||12/1|
|7 ||Term Loan||Alan Garcia||Richard A. Violette Jr||8/1|