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Remsen Stakes Preview: Juveniles Take First Steps Towards Kentucky

Takaful - Photo credit - Robert Mauhar/NYRA
Takaful (Robert Mauhar/NYRA)

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin looks to capture his second consecutive Grade 2 Remsen trophy when he sends out the talented Takaful to tangle with nine other promising juvenile colts in the 102nd edition of the storied race at Aqueduct Racetrack on Saturday.

The $300,000 Remsen is an official 2017 Kentucky Derby prep race, where 10 points are awarded to the winner, four given to a runner-up, two to the third-place finisher and one point given to fourth place.

The Remsen, which is stacked with champions and Kentucky Derby winners on the roll call of past winners, will be run at 1 1/8 miles as the eighth of 10 races on the card, which is highlighted by the 28th running of the Grade 1 Cigar Mile and includes the Grade 2 Demoiselle for juvenile fillies and the Grade 3 Comely Stakes for sophomore fillies.

Top Choice

#4 Takaful – Last week it was Mastery who was all the rage…this week its definitely Takaful.  When you debut like Takaful did people are going to start talking about big things.  As far as speed figures go this race shouldn’t be close as Takaful is a standout in the biggest way.  His eight length maiden romp came back super fast, but the big question mark is going to be how he will fair stretching out to a mile and one eighth off just one race at six and a half furlongs.  It’s not going to be easy, but he’s bred to go long and his trainer is as sharp as anyone in the game.  This could be the next big horse to come out of New York, and he’ll take the first step towards proving that the hype is real on Saturday.

Horses to Use in Multi Race Wagers

#9 No Dozing – The big key with No Dozing, and every other runner out of the Breeders’ Futurity from Keeneland, is the fact that its looking like a key race.  Of course Classic Empire came out of that race to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and Lookin At Lee finished fourth in the Juvenile.  Gunnevera, the fifth place finisher in the Breeders’ Futurity, won the Delta Downs Jackpot last week.  The third place finisher in the race was Wild Shot who is also running Saturday at Churchill Downs in the Kentucky Club Jockey Club.  The fourth place finisher…No Dozing!  We’ll see if that key race holds up this weekend.  Until proven otherwise these horses are must plays.

#8 Mo Town – This was a tough one as part of me is screaming “overhyped” while the other part of me thinks he could very well be the real deal.  Last time out he dominated Everybodyluvsrudy in a maiden special weight at Belmont Park by seven lengths, which is the same horse that Hookup only beat by four lengths.  In that maiden race Mo Town also had a very wide trip, but was still able to dominate the field going a mile.  I don’t love him at this distance today, but there is just too much potential with him to not play him in multi race wagers.  Excited to see how he handles everything on Saturday.

Exotic Plays

#7 You’re to Blame – I’m skeptical as to how high the ceiling is for this horse, but I do have confidence in Chad Brown getting the most out of him.  He’ll need to do some improving to win, but if he can come with a similar run as last time I think he can round out the tri or superfecta.  It’s odd handicapping a stakes in New York and not having Chad Brown or Todd Pletcher in the top 3, but I think both have better horses than what they’ve entered in this spot.  I’ll let this group they have entered beat me for the top spot.

Party Crashers

#3 Hookup – He really could be any kind of horse as we’ve only seen him once, and it was a dominating four length victory in a maiden special weight at Aqueduct.  The second place finisher of that race isn’t a world beater, but he isn’t awful either so I do think there is a little bit of validity in Hookup’s big win.  That race was ran at a mile so that makes the outlook even better for today’s race at a mile and one eighth.  Logical longshot, and really an interesting horse to monitor in this race.

#10 Lead Astray – This is horse that is a bit of mystery.  His first race was miserable as he finished seventh, but next time out he picked it up quite a bit and beat a maiden special weight field at Belmont by a length and a half.  His early speed projects him to be on or very near the lead, and the outside post will pretty much give the jockey an option to do either or as he can see how the race is unfolding inside of him.  Much like Hookup I’m intrigued with Leady Astray, however I’m not sure what we’ll end up seeing out of either one of them.

Throw Outs

#1 Tellmeafookystory – Has ran a couple of really solid races since moving to the Todd Pletcher barn, but still has some proving to do for me at this level.  There is no doubt he does have a little bit of talent though so even though he is a throw out for me I wouldn’t be totally shocked if he made some noise.

#2 Newman – Still a maiden, but was at least competitive last time out with You’re to Blame who isn’t a bad horse.  Still not thinking he leaves this race a winner today though.

#5 Tale of Silence – Beat Win With Pride two races back, but was fifth in an allowance at Keeneland that was not all that strong.  Will have to take a big step up today.

#6 Win With Pride – Always dangerous to throw out Todd Pletcher, but I’m not liking either one of Win With Pride’s races.  Last time out he did win, but it was at Parx and the time did not come back all that strong.

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