Interesting Race of the Day: 9th at Ellis Park on Opening Day at the Pea Patch

Trainer William "Buff" Bradley
Gene McLean talks with Buff Bradley

While we may not be handicapping full race cards for a couple of weeks, we will pick out an “Interesting Race” from time to time to watch, and comment on. We may actually handicap it in a way to try to pick a winner or two.

Today’s choice is the 9th race at Ellis Park, on the Opening Day at the Pea Patch in Henderson, KY. It is a MSW event for 3-year-olds and up and will cover a mile over the grass course in the sun and heat that is West Kentucky this time of year.

What makes this race so interesting to me are five horses entered in the 12-horse field. Let’s take a closer look:

  1. Creative Capital: This is a 3YO son of Creative Cause, a stallion that stands over at Airdrie Stud in Midway for Gov. Brereton C. Jones and his personable son, Bret. This one has not run since last September at this very same locale. He ran well in the last two here, though, with a second to a nice horse by the name of Bantu, and a third when he had all kinds of trouble and went so wide that he nearly had to negotiate barge traffic. Since then, though, much has happened with and for this colt. He was moved from the barn of Ken McPeek over to Brad Cox — who is simply one of the hottest trainers in all of the Midwest/Southwest and the world right now. The guy is hitting with .29% winners this year, and won the Trainer’s Title at the Fair Grounds this Winter/Spring. Rallied hard to have a solid meet behind Steve Asmussen at Churchill Downs, too. This one has been training well for the return, and the conditioner hits with .29% of those making the debut for the new barn. Also, the new rider will be Florent Geroux. No matter what you hear and/or read about the Frenchman, the guy can ride, and since the over-blown drama of the Belmont Stakes, he has been on absolute fire. The horse to beat.
  2. Untraceable: This 4YO ridgling cost $360,000 in 2016 and was immediately placed in the hands of trainer Chad Brown when it came time to go to the racetrack by Woodford Racing. That is a racing syndication that is headed up mainly by Bill Farish, and some of the top minds over at Lane’s End Farm. But after a rather dismal start to his race career, where he would flash some speed and then spit the bit more often than not, this one has been moved from Brown and sent to trainer Steve Asmussen. And, this is not the first one to get this shift in direction and trainers. Asmussen is getting more and more for this fine group of equine investors, and why not? Asmussen took over the training of Switzerland, from the same former trainer, and immediately has paid serious dividends for the ownership group. The colt has not been beaten since, and not may rate as one of the best “rising” sprinters in the entire world. Just this meet, Asmussen won a couple of times with a nice grass horse for Team Woodford, as well, breaking the maiden and then running away to an easy victory in the first time against winners. This looks more like a trend than an experiment. And, this one could jump off the page the same way today. Like the work at Churchill Downs on June 26. Will be interesting to see if improvement is made, for sure.
  3. Silver Shield: This is yet another well-bred horse that is shifting from one barn to another for the first start for the new connections today. This son of Medaglia d’Oro will be making the barn debut for young Norm Casse, who takes over control from previous trainer Bill Mott. This one has not started since Feb. 12 — 2017. Over a year ago. Ran only once on the grass n three previous starts, but ran fourth to a nice SW in Big Bend in that lone grass experience. Works have been rather dull so far, but it will be interesting to see if the new connections can have better luck with this one, who is out of the Seeking the Gold mare Dream Supreme. Wow. What a breeding. But, before you go looking for a low-budget stallion prospect, please note that this one will also have another major alteration for the first time today. He will be a first time gelding.
  4. Money Trend: This one may be the most accomplished runner of the group, to date. Especially of late. This 3YO son of Distorted Humor — who cost only $4,000 at the 2017 OBS March Sale — is coming in off three straight seconds for trainer Mike Maker. All of them have been on the grass. And, this one does flash some early foot. He was the beaten favorite at Indy last time out, and this trainer is a good one.
  5. Jefazo: This one is so talented it makes you want to giggle. But, to date, he has not shown that in the afternoon, for various reasons. But today trainer Buff Bradley is trying several new options. One, it will be the first start over the grass, and this son of Street Boss should love the surface conversion. Second, Bradley will equip the gelding with blinkers for the first time. And, the trainer hits with .27% of those getting the shades for the first time. Third, this one cost $300,000 at the OBS April Sale a year ago, so you know that he has to look and act the part. And, fourth, this one worked a half mile at Churchill Downs on June 23 in :47.3. That was the third best time out of 88 to go the distance. That is smoking it in the a.m., and this one has shown that talent on a number of occasions before. I have touted this horse at least three times to date. And, he has only run three times. I am not getting off today. No matter what. And, he is 10-1 ML odds. Plus, I think Buff Bradley is one of the best pure horsemen I have ever met. Period.

So what to do? I’m betting Jefazo (6) to win/place/show and then boxing Jefazo with Untraceable (7) and Creative Capital (2). And, I am hoping for a bomb payoff. 

Good Luck & All the Best/Gene

I didn’t know it was that close. He (Miguel Mena) was getting into him pretty good and he drifted out. That cost us a little bit. He’s (Bravazo) a fighter. He’s tough. He’s got real good tactical speed. He’s a horse that carries his weight well and can withstand training up to the (Gr. I Kentucky) Derby.”

“We’ll get him (Bravazo) back here with me and if everything checks out and goes right then I’m going to lock up Miguel Mena,” Lukas said. “I’ll pack him and the horse in Styrofoam and keep them under lock and key until the next race.”

Lukas went on to explain how Mena got the mount, after his regular rider, Gary Stevens, took off:

“(Jockey) Gary (Stevens) had a commitment on a live horse (Streamline) in the Bayakoa so I made a phone call. I felt pretty good about getting the meet’s leading rider. Hell, he knows every grain of sand on the track.”

D. Wayne Lukas, Winning Trainer, Hall of Famer
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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