Noble Bird Ready to Fly in 2016 Fayette Stakes
By: John Caro, S. FL ThoroFan Member
Hagyard Fayette Stakes – Grade II - $200K – 1 & 1/8 Miles (3+)
Looks like it will be a great day for racing with bright skies and a fast dry track. No three year olds are entered for what is expected to be a runaway race by Noble Bird, provided he’s in the mood. It may require a good look at him on screen or live to sum up what he’s going to do today. I think the true par for this race is 98. Those that can consistently play in that area and are improving in form are key players today.
#2 - Noble Bird (6/5) – Hard ridden in his last out at Churchill in the Lukas Classic for a wire to wire finish after a lay off as he did the last time he took a break. He has all the pace and speed to win in today’s contest. His regular rider is aboard and knows this horse well with two wins and three incredibly poor efforts. His trainer has stated that he is a tough to ride and moody. He also said he’s at the top of his game. Looking though the running lines tells me he can be stellar and have exceptional speed or flop and mosey home if he has a bad start or the pace gets harsh in front of him. The other caution I see is when he’s taken a lay off he comes back strong and his second after lay off was a flop. He’s had two good works since his last out and probably holds his form. The expected favorite with no win bet value.
#1 – Hawaakom (8/1) – Second to Noble Bird at the Lukas Classic and he finished strong with a close from far back. After some traffic trouble during the first furlough and being behind Noble Bird by 12 lengths it was a nice effort down on the rail and well timed to close to within one and a half at 12 to 1. I don’t believe he’ll have traffic jamming from the rail post and may have a better trip. His lines show his ability to close from the back or mid pack with excellent speed. The drawback is the last out was a huge effort. In a smaller field he may threaten with his 8 ITM finishes in the last ten outings. I like him third.
#3 Kasaqui (6/1) – Interesting thing about this guy is the decision to move to dirt after a great career on the grass. There is no question that the distance is suitable for him and one might think that the move to dirt is unwise but, I don’t think so because Alysheba could show up and wouldn’t that be fun. Interesting side note: Robby Alvarado rode Kasaqui’s sire, Lasting Approval to many victories. He came back after a break and shot a 97 Bris speed in a good effort. The win and place at Arlington are encouraging as well. He could be a value play because the crowd doesn’t see him coming. We can hope his odds move up like several races he’s had between 12 and 15 to 1 and play him as a single place bet. Could be dangerous.
#4 Mr. Z (10/1) – This is an ambitious position for this guy to be in. He hasn’t been ITM in the last five starts and was on a break since November until his last in the Ack Ack with terrible results. Yes, we’d all like to see him improve and return to form but, I just don’t see it happening. No play here for me. There is one thing he may do in this race. His early speed/pace may affect the outcome for Noble Bird. He may challenge Bird through a half at a hot pace and that will bring others into the mix. I hope.
#5 Chocopologie (30/1) – This guy gives me chills. Here we have a four year old who’s been hiding out in the South with a ten race career and has never been out of the money. In his only graded stakes he lost by 2.25 to Mobile Bay who he came back to beat decisively in the recent Governor’s Cup. He may look out classed here but his running style may stay on pace and close from the ¾ pole and cause damage to other’s chances. I believe I will play this guy in combination with others in an exacta with a win and place bet to boot. Have to believe he will be in the money.
#6 Prayer for Relief (6/1) – He is the oldest horse in the race and did not fare well in his trip overseas. He has had four good works after a six month rest but, I don’t think he will be able to keep pace with the field. Corey will do his best as always and Mr. Romans is a sly fellow at Keeneland but, I can’t recommend this animal. Not on my ticket.
#7 Iron Fist (5/1) – Asmussen brings his charge to this field from a second place finish by half a length in the Ack Ack against Tom’s Ready. This will be Iron Fist’s third off a layoff and he’s had nice works since his last race and I would expect his form is intact. Santana gets the call and he can be tactical. The drawback for me is his record going longer than a mile. He just seems to be a mile specialist and today might be longer than he wants. I’d use him in third or fourth in exotics.
#8 Divining Rod (5/1) – Another who is third of a layoff and his last visit to Keeneland I remember well as I made a nice wager on him then in the Lexington. His performance in the Preakness was good as well considering the company. He’s taken almost a year off to come back in two back to back wins at PARX and the speed ratings match up pretty well given today’s competition. He also has the running style for the race set up that may develop with a strong leader and those that can carefully track the path in a short field. He may be the best of the rest.
If you believe that Noble Bird is fit in his mind and will behave, then by all means bet him with vigor in an exacta with your picks. I like to see consistent speeds and efforts that point me to my picks when betting. The three I see as the most consistent and their form is coming forward are the #5, #8 and the #3. My idea of a good bet is below.
$5 win and place on #5 Chocopologie (30/1) $10 – if his odds go down to about 25 play $7-8
$15 win on #8 Divining Rod (5/1) $15
$15 win on #3 Kasaqui (6/1) $15
$3 Exacta Box - 3,5,7 / 3,5,7 $18
If you think Noble Bird’s mood is right!!!
$20 Exacta 2 with 3,5,7 $60
You could play a large place bet on your best choice of the above three under Noble Bird and be happy as well. Let you wallet decide.