Whirlaway Stakes Advance 2010 Kentucky Derby Prep Races
Speedy Eightfiveinafifty faces only four in 2010 Whirlaway Stakes at Aqueduct
by Kenneth Strong of Predictem.com
It appears that the $100,000 Whirlaway Stakes at Aqueduct has dodged a predicted snow storm but only five rivals will contest the 31st running of the early Kentucky Derby prep on February 6 over Aqueducts inner dirt track. The clear-cut favorite is Eightyfiveinafifty and deservedly so.
The Forest Camp colt will be stretching out to a mile and a sixteenth after an impressive 17 -length score in a six-furlong Maiden Special Weight race on January 10 at Aqueduct. That race resulted in a 105 Beyer Speed Figure, the best in the field by 18 points. If they try to run with Eightfiveinafifty early, theyll pay the price late, but if they dont go after him he could widen on the field as he did in his maiden score.
Trained by Gary Contessa, New Yorks leading trainer for the last four years, Eightyfiveinafifty will definitely be facing better horses on the class raise, but he did come back to work a sizzling three-eighths in 34.20 breezing on February 3, which says the race goes through him under jockey Jorge Chavez. Eightyfiveinafiftys pedigree suggests he can get the distance, being by a son of Deputy Minister out of a mare by Unbridleds Song, but if youre looking for a reason to bet against him, consider that Contessas win percentage in stakes is only six percent from 53 starts.
The early scratch of logical contender Turf Melody means Eightyfiveinafifty will face only four rivals including Remsen Stakes runner-up Peppi Knows, recent Philadelphia Park allowance winner Afleet Again, game Gulfstream Park allowance sprint winner Three Day Rush and the developing Papas Cat.
Three Day Rush has only been further than six furlongs once in six starts, finishing a non-threatening fifth in the Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs last fall. He does have speed however, and he can also be game when called upon. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Three Day Rush showed good heart winning a six furlong allowance sprint at Gulfstream Park on January 9 and now makes his second start off the layoff. He has the pedigree to stretch out and if he goes with Eightfiveinafifty early he could give that one fits, at least for seven furlongs.
Peppi Knows is the proven class and stamina of the race, having finished second in the 1 1/8-mile Remsen last fall at Aqueduct, but he hasnt run since that November 28 race and might need a start. Afleet Again wasnt beating this kind in his mile and 70-yard allowance win in the slop at Philadelphia Park on January 17, but he is proven at the distance and he has the right running style if a duel develops. Papas Nice Cat could be the play if he continues to develop forwardly for trainer Chris Englehart. The son of One Nice Cat stretched out off a Maiden Special Weight win at six furlongs to finish second going a mile and 70 yards on December 31 in an allowance race behind Stormys Majesty at Aqueduct and he should be ready to take make the move forward despite moving out of restricted company.
If youre a speed bettor you have to play Eightfiveinafifty - if you can stomach what should be a brutally low price. If youre a class bettor the play is Florida Juvenile winner and Remsen Stakes runner-up Peppi Knows, who comes into the Whirlaway with a good work pattern for trainer Timothy Kreiser, who has a 17 percent win rate from six starts off the layoff and a 19 percent strike rate overall.
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