Man o’ War Stakes – Race 10 at Belmont Park – Post Time 5:44 PM Eastern
Gufo returns to racing following five months off but that is of no concern when coming back in a marathon on turf like the Man o’ War Stakes. Gufo won the second through fifth starts of his career starting in December, 2019, through July of last year when taking the Kent Stakes then just missed by a head in the $500,000 Saratoga Derby Invitational in August. Next, in his first and only start on the Belmont turf, Gufo won the Belmont Derby in October with a 104 Equibase Figure which was very strong for a three year old. In his final race of the year, Gufo was exceptionally game when rallying from last of 11 to be in a three horse photo on the wire, losing by a head and a neck with a 107 figure. The horses which beat him that day, Domestic Spending and Smooth Like Strait, are near the top of the turf division in North America having just finished first (in a dead heat) and third last weekend in the Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic Stakes. Now a more physically mature four year old, Gufo should run even better than he did last year and that makes him the one to beat in this year’s Man o’ War Stakes.
Field Pass is also a four year old and has a similar pattern to Gufo which suggests he could run a big race in this situation. Last summer, Field Pass proved his stakes quality when winning the Audubon Stakes and Transylvania Stakes in succession. In October, Field Pass earned a career-best figures of 109 when third in the Twilight Derby, won by Smooth Like Strait (who finished third in the Turf Classic last weekend). After winning the Ontario Derby on all-weather in November with a new career-best 110 figure, Field Pass finished fourth in the Mathis Brothers Mile Stakes (won by Smooth like Strait) before resting to begin his 2021 campaign. In his comeback race last month, Field Pass was not disgraced when finishing fourth of nine in the Maker’s Mark Mile and appears very well spotted to improve considerably in his second start of the year to be a factor in this race. Although he’s never run this far, as a son of Lemon Drop Kid he should have no problem successfully running the distance because a STATS Race Lens query reveals the sire has produced four top graded stakes winners at similar distances.
Sovereign (IRE) has been working steadily in Florida and New York for his U. S. debut. He is now in the barn of top trainer Chad Brown, who has a very strong knack with having his horses coming back from layoffs and making their U.S. debuts in top shape. A STATS Race Lens query reveals over the last five years, Brown has won with six of 22 (27%) similar starters in graded stakes. Sovereign (IRE) earned the biggest win of his career when winning the Irish Derby in 2019 easily by six lengths. Since then, Sovereign (IRE) has finished second or third in five races. One of those was when second to the incomparable mare Enable in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes last summer at Ascot, an effort which earned a 117 figure good enough to win the Man o’ War if repeated.
Honorable mention has to go to Ziyad (GB), who earned a 111 figure last October in his U.S. debut when third and beaten just two lengths in the Sycamore Stakes. Similarly, Channel Cat earned a 115 figure last month when second in the mile and one-half Elkhorn Stakes. As such I wouldn’t argue with anyone who considered them contenders to win this race. Also, Moon over Miami earned a decent 109 figure when second in the Pan American Stakes at a mile and one-half at the end of March and may fit as a contender as well. I don’t feel the same way about Shamrocket, who although earning a 109 figure at the end of March did so at a mile and one-eighth and in a non-graded stakes so appears a bit overmatched. So High (GB) is definitely overmatched in this field as his best effort earned an 89 figure and he is still eligible for the first allowance condition as well as was running in a claiming level race as recently as December.
Win: Gufo and/or Field Pass to win at odds of 9 to 5 or more.
This is another race where a DUTCHING tool does us a lot of good and helps us to make a profit. A Dutching tool, like the one which is free to use at Amwager.com, saves us doing the math to determine the right wagering amounts.
Box Gufo, Field Pass and Sovereign
Optionally an additional exacta after the one above is:
Gufo and Field Pass over Gufo, Field Pass, Sovereign, Moon of Miami, Channel Cat, Ziyad and Shamrocket.
(Note: We’re leaving Sovereign out because we want to only use one of the two favorites in the win slot).