Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

Posts Tagged ‘Justin Phillip’

“Smile! It’s the Independence Day Sprint”

Posted by Brian Appleton on July 4, 2013

Tinniberg The $350,000 Smile Sprint, Handicap (Gr.2) at Calder Race Course on July 6th is set to take off with a large field of 15 sprinters. The Smile Sprint marks the return of Champion Sprinter Trinniberg to the races after a disappointing 7th place finish in the Churchill Downs Stakes (Gr.2) on May 4th. He ended 2012 with a riveting victory in the Xpressbet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (Gr.1) in early November at Santa Anita and then began 2013 with a dull 11th place run in the Dubai Golden Shaheen (Gr.1). Trinniberg has posted three straight bullet works at Calder in preparation for the Smile Stakes so it’s clear that he is in excellent form heading into this race. I’m hoping he can turn his game around and run back to the excellent performance he turned in last fall at Santa Anita.

Jackson Bend is a personal favorite of mine. Ever since I made my first trip to the Kentucky Derby in 2010 and snapped a photograph of him being led to post, completely obscured by his lead pony due to his small stature, I have enjoyed watching him strut his stuff on the track. He doesn’t always win, but he usually runs well. Lately however he’s had a bad run of races, extending back to his 5th place finish in the Metropolitan Handicap (Gr.1) late last May. It would be fantastic to see him finish in the money this time and kick off a much better 2013 campaign. He enters off an excellent :47.80 half mile breeze, but in his return to the races on June 8th in the Ponche Handicap he entered off two great workouts and finished a dull 5th. Still, I’m hoping for the best, I’ll chalk the last one up to his needing a race off the long layoff and expect much more this time.

Fort Loudon captured the Gulfstream Park Sprint in his 2013 debut before finishing 3rd in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (Gr.2) and 4th in the Grade 1 Cater Handicap. He last finished 6th in the Metropolitan Handicap (Gr.1). This Nick Zito trained runner seems to finish in the money a lot, but I’m not confident in his ability to win this one.

Justin Phillip always commands my respect. He’s fast, proven in sprints against the best and is piloted by John Velasquez. He most recently finished second to Fast Bullet in the True North Handicap (Gr. 2) on June 8th after winning two straight races, including the Grade 3 Count Fleet Stakes on April 13th. His works don’t always looks spectacular, but I think he does his real running on the track in the race. He’ll be a big threat here and is one of the top choices in my opinion.

Trickmeister is another who I always pay attention to in races, but this time I’m not so sure about his ability. He enters off a 5-race losing streak and most recently finished a length behind Jackson Bend in 6th in the Ponche Handicap. His last two works were very strong so he could be sitting on a much better performance than his last run. He’s a tossup for me, I’ll have to see him on track to make a final decision about his chances.

Swagger Jack has a really good 2013 record thus far, having won the Grade 1 Cater Handicap and an Allowance race as well as two second place runs in the Gulfstream Park Handicap and Sprint. His :48.40 on Tuesday was good and should have him ready to roll with a good strong run.

This looks like a pretty strong field to me. I think on his best day Trinniberg is better than all of the others except perhaps a 100% Jackson Bend. Those two will be the ones I’ll be watching most closely along with Swagger Jack and Justin Phillip. Happy Independence Day/4th of July to all, I hope the weekend’s racing schedule is a fun-filled and profitable time for all.


Posted in Fort Loudon, Jackson Bend, Justin Philip, Smile Sprint Handicap, Swagger Jack, Trickmeister, Trinniberg | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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