Keying the Favorites in the Mighty Beau Stakes
While handicapping Saturday’s $75,000 Mighty Beau Stakes at Churchill Downs, it’s not hard to come to the conclusion that the race is essentially a showdown between three horses.Held over five furlongs on the turf course, the Mighty Beau drew a field of ten, but #1 Morticia, #3 Long On Value, and #10 Hogy do appear to stand out at first glance, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them sweep the trifecta.
Long On Value is the fastest horse in the race from a Beyer speed figure perspective, having fire off triple-digit numbers in his last three U.S. starts, and while he has the stamina to be competitive going a mile he’s also been successful as a sprinter, finishing second by just a nose in the 2017 Al Quoz Sprint (UAE-I) in Dubai. But here’s the catch—Long On Value hasn’t run since finishing third in the Woodbine Mile (gr. I) last September, and he’s also switched barns since then, having been transferred from trainer Bill Mott to Brad Cox. Long On Value is also seven years old now, and there’s no guarantee that he’ll be sharp enough to win a five-furlong sprint in his first start off a layoff.
In that regard, the accomplished four-year-old filly Morticia might be more appealing. Trained by Rusty Arnold, the daughter of Twirling Candy hasn’t finished out of the trifecta since her debut and has already won five stakes races, including the 5 ½-furlong Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland last fall. She’s got plenty of early speed and signaled her readiness for the Mighty Beau by finishing second in the Unbridled Sidney Stakes over this course and distance on May 12th, beaten just a head by the talented Triple Chelsea. Expect Morticia to vie for the lead from her rail draw.
As for Hogy, he might be nine years old, but he’s still a force to reckon with in turf sprints and won going five furlongs in the Frontier Utilities Turf Sprint Stakes at Sam Houston three starts back. Trained by Mike Maker, Hogy can still unleash a powerful late run on his best day and should be one of the main threats from off the pace, though breaking from post ten could potentially set him up for a wide trip.
In the event that one or more of the favorites should falter, the most logical candidates to take advantage include #6 The Critical Way, a recent allowance winner at Keeneland, and #9 Kid Perfect, runner-up in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint Stakes (gr. III) over this course and distance last time out.
Since it’s difficult to split the main contenders in this race, let’s spread a bit in the trifecta while relying on at least two of the favorites to hit the board:
$1 trifecta: 1,3,10 with 1,3,10 with 1,3,6,9,10 ($18) $1 trifecta: 1,3,10 with 1,3,6,9,10 with 1,3,10 ($18)