Ezmosh Stands Out in Arlington Classic
It’s not a Triple Crown race, and it’s not even being held on dirt, but Saturday’s $100,000 Arlington Classic (gr. III) at Arlington Park has nevertheless attracted a couple of horses that were briefly on the Triple Crown trail.The most prominent is the 9-5 morning line favorite #4 Ezmosh, who looks tough to beat in this 8.5-furlong turf event. Trained by Brad Cox, the son of Tizway has kept good company throughout his career and even competed in the Breeders’ Futurity (gr. I) at Keeneland last fall, finishing sixth behind the likes of Free Drop Billy, Bravazo, and Lone Sailor, all of them starters in the 2018 Kentucky Derby.
But Ezmosh really caught my eye in January when he finished second in a one-mile allowance at Oaklawn Park, missing by just a neck after a prolonged stretch battle with Bravazo. Ezmosh left the remainder of the field nine lengths behind in an effort that yielded a 95 BRIS speed figure, the highest number earned by any horse in the Arlington Classic field.
Ezmosh subsequently finished last in the Southwest Stakes (gr. III) at Oaklawn, but he received a tough trip tracking a fast pace while racing wide on a day when the rail was the best part of the track. Not surprisingly, he rebounded nicely when trying turf in an 8.5-furlong allowance race on March 25th at Fair Grounds, rallying from a couple lengths off the pace to win by a length. It was an excellent turf debut, particularly when you consider that the third-place finisher, Caymans Cobra, came right back to win an allowance race at Keeneland.
Ezmosh hasn’t run since then, but has turned in a steady serious of half-mile workouts at Churchill Downs that should have him ready to roll on Saturday. I envision Ezmosh working out a perfect trip tracking a modest early pace before taking command and picking up the first graded stakes win of his career.
#3 Alternative Route, winner of the Rushaway Stakes on Polytrack, and #1 The Money Dance, an allowance winner on dirt at Belmont Park, are among the other contenders that figure to draw support. However, both are unproven on turf and aren’t particularly bred for the surface, so it’s not inconceivable that we could see one or both finish off the board at relatively short prices. As a result, it could pay to consider a longshot such as #2 Kitten a Gettin, who has earned BRIS Late Pace ratings of 95 and 93 while finishing fourth and second in allowance races on turf at Tampa Bay Downs. As a son of English Channel out of a Kitten’s Joy mare, Kitten a Getting is bred to relish turf and improve with maturity; if a quick pace unfolds in the Arlington Classic, I think he could be among the beneficiaries.
Here’s how I would play the race:
$5 exacta: 4 with 2,3 ($10) $2 trifecta: 4 with 2,3 with 1,2,3 ($8) $1 trifecta: 4 with 2,3 with 1,2,3,5,6,7,8 ($12)