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Check out our predictions and odds for the 2020 Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct!
|HOLD THE SALSA
|R R Maragh
|J P Terranova II
$20 Exacta – Eagle Orb over Swill = $20
$10 Exacta Box – Eagle Orb and Capo Kane = $20
Eagle Orb (5/2)
The first 2021 prep for the Kentucky Derby comes on New Year’s Day as a field of five newly turned 3-year-olds look to get their sophomore season off to a winning start in Friday’s $150,000 Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct.
Expected to go off the favorite at post is Swill, who comes from the powerhouse barn of Brad Cox. A winner of 1-of-4 starts to date, the son of Munnings broke through with a strong maiden win in his third career start. Most recently, he ran a very respectable fourth in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs. The Jerome will represent a step down in class for Swill, who will be ridden for the first time by Kendrick Carmouche.
Chief among his rivals will be a pair of New York-bred stakes winners in Eagle Orb and Hold the Salsa. Eagle Orb has put things together nicely in his two most recent starts. Since adding blinkers, he was a good second behind the highly regarded Brooklyn Strong in the Sleepy Hollow, before winning the Notebook Stakes last out at Aqueduct. Hold the Salsa also exits stakes win, having scored by a neck at Aqueduct last time for his second stakes victory against statebreds.
Contested at a flat mile, the 150th edition of the Jerome will offer Kentucky Derby qualifying points on a scale of 10-4-2-1 to the top four finishers.
|Jerome Stakes Information
|Friday, January 1 — 3:50 PM Eastern Time
|How to Watch
|Fox Sports 1
He will be a deserving favorite on Friday, as he comes from one of the top barns in the nation and drops down in class after a decent effort against Grade 2 competition in Kentucky. One thing he doesn’t have is a race over the track, and Aqueduct’s racing surface can be a tricky one. Other than his maiden win, which he wired, he hasn’t finished his races particularly strong, which might be a bad sign racing on Aqueduct’s deep track for the first time. He is the class of the race and may be ultimately destined for bigger things, but as the favorite, I will try to beat him in this spot.
This New York-bred son of Orb got off to a decent start to his career, winning one of his first three starts. Since the addition of blinkers, though, he has taken things to a new level. His race in the Sleepy Hollow looked pretty good on paper but has since been flattered by Brooklyn Stong’s win in the Grade 2 Remsen. That good performance was validated when he came back to easily account for the Notebook Stakes in his last. With that winning experience at Aqueduct, he looks like the most logical horse to knock off the favorite on Friday. He also has the good tactical speed to stay close early, and last time he proved he can finish. The return to a mile should not be a problem. He is the top pick.
The other New York-bred stakes winner in the field has actually faced Eagle Orb three times already and finished ahead of him once. With less speed than his rival, and probably every horse in the field for that matter, he will look to kick it in the stretch. With three wins already, and two of them coming in stakes races, he is clearly a threat in here as he tries open company for the second time, but despite his winning ways, I don’t believe any of his performances are as good as Eagle Orb’s last two. In the battle of the New York-bred, I like the other one better.
The true wildcard of the field, this well-bred son of Quality Road ran poorly on the dirt in his career debut, before coming back to score a handy wire-to-wire win on the grass. He will both be stepping up in class on Friday, as well as returning to the main track. On the face of things, he looks better suited for the turf, but his pedigree does say dirt should not be a problem. Perhaps he was just not ready for his career debut, and his last is more the real Original. He’s a danger, but not one that I am ready to endorse.
The shipper from Parx has done little wrong in his first two career starts. A son of the 2007 Kentucky Derby champion Street Sense, he ran well against fast fractions in his debut, before breaking his maiden nicely last time when stretched out to 1 mile and 70 yards. The competition will certainly be tougher here, but 2020 has been a pretty good year for horses coming from Parx to contest stakes in New York, so it will be interesting to see where this one fits in a Jerome that certainly is lacking in star power. My guess is that he is largely ignored in the betting and that could turn out to be a mistake.
Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
Email: [email protected]
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