Friday, June 29, 2018

Handicapper's Corner: United Nation Stakes (G1)

Silver on the Green 

By: Nick Costa, Trackside with Trackman


Our ThoroFan blog visit take us to beautiful Monmouth Park on the Jersey Shore for the United Nation Stakes on Saturday. 

The Grade 1 contest offers a purse of $300,000 and features a field of nine older horses traveling 11-furlongs over the turf course.

A quartet of horses from the notable Chad Brown barn and two from trainer Mike Maker compose two-thirds of the field. One of the horses that Maker sends out, Bigger Picture, won this event last year by a head after rallying from next to last place. The seven-year old with 31 lifetime starts, the most in the field, was coming off a 10-week layoff. He will try to attempt a repeat following another layoff this season, albeit a shorter rest of 7-weeks.

Maker’s other horse is Oscar Nominated, who has been installed as the 4-1 second choice on morning line choice. The 5-year old by Kitten’s Joy has six wins from 26 outings but has not started since April 21st and he has never won above the Grade 3 level.

Three of the four runners from the Brown stable, Money Multiplier, Kurilov and Silverwave, have plenty of top level experience. Both Kurilov and Silverwave have won Group 1 races in their home countries of Chile and France, respectively. 

Money Multiplier is a six-year old that has raced three times over the Monmouth grass that has garnered him two wins and a second. Most recently, he returned from a three-month layoff to win the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes for the second year in a row. He also was runner-up in this contest in 2016.

The lone runner from the two-time Eclipse award winning trainer Brown that has not competed in graded stakes competition is, Funtastic. The 4-year old colt is lightly raced with just eight starts and enters this difficult spot off a wire-to-wire score in an Allowance-Optional Claimer at Belmont.

Veteran turf runner, One Go All Go, is well traveled throughout his career. The six-year old horse Virginia-bred is a multiple Group 2 winner that has made a few forays into Grade 1 status with mixed results. He makes his first appearance at Monmouth and will be saddled by Charles Dickey.

The Brazilian-bred Vettori Kin, going out for trainer Ken McPeek, won a Group 1 race in his native country in 2016 before shipping stateside. He made only one start in 2017. This season the five-year old got in the win column in his fourth and most recent start when he won the 12-furlong Grade 3 Louisville Handicap. 

Rounding out the field is, Profiteer. The 4-year old colt from the Shug McGaughey stable has made all his 13 starts on the grass across seven different turf courses from east coast to west coast. He has not been out-of-the-money in four starts this year but now faces his toughest assignment to date.

The weather forecast calls for sunny skies and warm temperatures. The United Nation Stakes goes as race 11 with post time slated for 6:01 E.S.T. Do not miss this one, folks.

Analysis: Late speed and class dominate on the turf. Find the fastest closer against the most advanced competition. That lands me on Silverwave. The French-bred runner is a two-time Group 2 winner and won a Group 1 event in France. He defeated eventual 2017 Breeders’ Cup Turf champ, Talismanic, at Chantilly and wasn’t far behind that same foe when finishing fifth at Saint Cloud. Some of the names of the opponents this horse has faced would be odds on choice here. 

Since coming to the States, Silverwave has been off-the-board in his only two starts, but both races were clearly preps for this spot. In his opener, the Grade 3 Fort Marcy, he was in behind Spring Quality who went on to win the Grade 1 Manhattan Stakes on the Belmont undercard.

Silverwave has been training well and could be primed for a peak effort in his third start of the year, one of many categories trainer Brown excels in.
Money Multiplier has shown an affinity for the Monmouth turf course and that stat must be taken seriously. He is a solid Grade 2 horse with an overall turf record of being first or second 10 times. Last year, he stepped into Grade 1 company off his comeback effort in this race and was narrowly defeated at Saratoga. 

One Go All Go is a very consistent race horse at the G1/G2 level. He’s hit the board in both his attempts at this marathon distance. He appears to be the pacesetter and his early speed is his biggest asset. He’ll be tough on the lead and could steal it if not given too much pressure.

Vettori Kin steps up off a big win at Churchill Downs. His late run in the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap earned him a strong Bris late pace figure that must be respected.

Play: Win $100 ThoroFan dollars, I’ll wager $50 to win on Silverwave. I’ll play two $10 exacta boxes:  Silverwave with Money Multiplier and One Go All Go ($40 total). The remaining play will be a straight $10 exacta of Silverwave over Vettori Kin.

Good luck and as always, enjoy the race!

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