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Check out our predictions and odds for the Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct!
CIRCLING THE DRAIN
ANDIAMO A FIRENZE
*Odds provided by author Brian Zipse.
$20 Exacta Box - Lugan Knight and Neural Network = $40
$10 Trifecta part wheel - Lugan Knight and Neural Network over Arctic Arrogance over Lugan Knight and Neural Network = $20
If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Lugan Knight (4/1).
A game second in the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes last month, Arctic Arrogance headlines a field of eight Kentucky Derby hopefuls entered in Saturday’s $150,000 Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct.
Trained by Linda Rice, who also has Valenzan Day in the race, this son of Frosted has not finished worse than second in four career starts. After breaking his maiden nicely at first asking at Saratoga, he finished second in the restricted Bertram F. Bongard.
The New York-bred then came back to romp home an easy winner of the one-mile Sleepy Hollow against fellow state-breds, before his narrow defeat going nine furlongs in the Remsen last out.
Chief among his competition in the one mile Jerome will be Neural Network and Lugan Knight, who will be both making their stakes debut on Saturday.
Neural Network, who is also a New York-bred, made his debut eight weeks ago for top trainer Chad Brown and won the state-bred maiden race going away by five lengths.
Lugan Knight, meanwhile, has run three solid races in Kentucky for trainer Michael McCarthy. Most recently he was a good third behind next-out stakes winner Victory Formation at Churchill Downs.
As a Kentucky Derby prep race, the Jerome will award qualifying points to the first five finishers on a 10-4-3-2-1 scale.
The class of the race, this son of Frosted will look to do one better than his fine runner-up performance in last month’s Grade 2 Remsen. That one came on a sloppy track, but he looks equally able on a fast track, as well.
Trained by Linda Rice, he has turned in nothing but good efforts, with the last three coming in stakes races. Proven against open company, the New York-bred stakes winner should also appreciate the cut back in distance from the 9-furlong Remsen.
The only thing I don’t like about him here is all the early speed in the race. As a horse who is always on the lead, I think the pace pressure here could be a problem. As the favorite, that’s enough to take a shot to beat him.
If this one was not trained by Chad Brown, I would probably fear him a little less, but coming from that barn, improvement should be expected.
He’s only run once and it came against state-bred maidens, but he was able to rally and win going away. With the pace set-up in here, the son of Cloud Computing should be able to sit a nice off-the-pace trip.
I am a little weary of the move up in class which he will be making up on Saturday, but still he looks like a colt who can compete with this bunch. An obvious danger, I consider him the biggest threat to my top pick, because of the early pace set up.
This Michael McCarthy-trained son of Goldencents will stretch out to a flat mile after three solid sprints to start his career. A good runner-up performance in his debut at Churchill Downs was followed up by a win at Keeneland, where he overcame traffic to get the job done.
Last out he was a rallying third in a contentious allowance race at Churchill Downs. The winner of that race has since easily won a stakes race at Oaklawn Park and is highly regarded.
I am not worried about the move to stakes company after the last one, but he will need to prove he can handle the switch to two turns. If he can relax early, I believe he has a big shot. He is the top pick.
The third of four New York-breds in the field, this speedy son of Speightstown has run five good races to begin his career. He also has good experience over a wet track, having twice won on off-tracks.
A stakes winner against state-breds on a muddy track at Saratoga, he faded late in both his tries against open stakes company, although was involved in the stretch.
Unfortunately, with all the early speed lined up for this one, it seems like a tough ask for him to carry his speed successfully here.
Add this one to the list of horses who should be contesting the early pace on Saturday. No horse in the field has more racing experience than this son of Khozan, who will be making his first start for the Linda Rice barn after being claimed out of an easy win last time.
He’s actually won three times, which is more than any other horse in the Jerome. He’s yet to break through, though, against good horses and is 0-for-3 in stakes races.
He should be considered off the sharp win over the track and the move to the new barn, but I think he is more likely to be fading in the stretch due to a fast pace on Saturday.
The other most experienced horse in the field, this son of Central Banker only has one victory in eight career starts. The good news is that it came in his most recent start and was in a stakes company.
I’m not sure what he beat in that restricted stakes race at Aqueduct, but he did look good doing it. In a race with plenty of speed, he is also one that can pass horses.
The two turns of the Jerome could be an issue, though, as he has looked best sprinting. I could see him getting up for a piece here, but I like too many others better.
Although his only win came in maiden claiming, I would not completely throw out this son of West Coast on Saturday. His debut performance, a second at Laurel, was pretty solid and then he came right back to roll against cheaper a few weeks later.
Granted, the step up in competition will be major, but he has won around two turns and his first two good races are good enough that he does have some potential for trainer Brittany Russel. I like each of the three favorites better, but he is a longshot to consider here.
This son of Tamarkuz dropped down to maiden claiming last time after five unsuccessful tries against maiden special weight company. He won easily at Aqueduct going a mile but now will move right up into stakes company.
Although the last one showed solid improvement, this will be a significant bump up in class. He will likely be in a little over his head on Saturday.
Jerome Stakes Race Information
What: Jerome Stakes
Time: Saturday, January 7 -- 3:16 pm Eastern time
How to Watch: Fox Sports
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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