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Mike previews the 2022 H. Allen Jerkens Stakes from Gulfstream Park, then gives his top picks & long shots. Mike explains why the weight handicaps play a major part in why he’s going bombs away with the winner! Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
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A son of graded-stakes winner and exceptional broodmare Ioya Two, Team Block’s Another Mystery hardly surprised breeder/owner/trainer Chris Block with his highly successful career.
Another Mystery is the last of Ioya Two’s 10 foals to race. Of her nine winners, seven have earned at least $100,000 with Another Mystery, a 6-year-old son of Temple City, being one of two $500,000-plus earners.
“We’ve had the family for generations. He’s one of the last ones remaining. We’re very proud for our family to carry on generation after generation. We’re very proud to have Another Mystery,” Block said.
Another Mystery is scheduled to run in Saturday’s $100,000 H. Allen Jerkens, a two-mile stakes for 3-year-olds and up on turf that will co-headline an 11-race program with the $100,000 Via Borghese, a 1 3/8-mile stakes for fillies and mares on turf.
Ioya Two, a homebred daughter of Lord At War, won 11 of 33 starts, including a triumph in the 2001 Modesty (G3) at 1 3/16-miles on turf at Arlington Park. As successful has she was on the racetrack, the Illinois-bred mare was even more successful in producing top-quality offspring.
“All of them are a little bit different the way their characteristics are. With Another Mystery we see a lot of Temple City in him. That Dynaformer nick has worked with Ioya Two’s family,” Block said. “Each of them has been kind of a different horse to train. When we get to know their likes and dislikes, we adapt to them. With Another Mystery, there isn’t much he doesn’t like.”
Another Mystery really, really likes to run long.
“He’s the kind of horse that matured in the middle part of his racing career as a horse who prefers three turns. He’s pretty consistent. He shows up virtually every time. He is versatile,” Block said. “You can cut him back in distance but usually his best distance is from a mile and three-eighths to, hopefully, two miles. We’ll see on Saturday if he’s capable of handling that.”
Another Mystery, a multiple-stakes winner of eight of 31 starts, captured the John Connelly (G3) at 1 ½ miles on turf at Sam Houston in January. The Illinois-bred veteran finished third, beaten by a quickly diminishing neck, in the Kentucky Downs Turf Cup (G2) Sept. 10 prior to a late-running third in the Oct. 15 Pizza Man at 1 1/16-miles over yielding turf course at Hawthorne last time out.
“He’s a no-nonsense horse. Nothing bothers him. He goes out and gives us 110 percent every time he runs. He’s a pretty straightforward horse to train. He’s a pretty straightforward horse to run,” Block said. “It appears the farther he goes distance-wise, the stronger he gets. We’re hoping that translates to the two miles.”
Block sent Another Mystery to Gulfstream trainer James Gulick, who will saddle the late-running turf star for the Jerkens. Irad Ortiz Jr. has the call.
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Trainer Keri Brion will be represented by two horses in the 12-horse field – Molly Willis, Paul Willis and CFC Stables’ Agitare and Upland Flats Racing’s Pleasecallmeback.
Agitare, a 5-year-old gelded son of Teofilo, is an Irish import who recently made a victorious U.S. debut at Far Hills in the John Forbes Memorial at two miles on a yielding turf. Pleasecallmeback has run over hurdles in his last seven starts after capturing a 1 ¾-mile optional claiming allowance at Woodbine for Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield last year.
Julien Leparoux is named on Agitare, while Angel Suarez has the mount on Pleasecallmeback.
Attfield is scheduled to send out Charles Fipke’s Ready for the Lady, a 3-year-old son of More Than Ready, for the Jerkens. Ready for the Lady captured the Singspiel (G3) over 1 3/8 miles on turf at Woodbine three starts back.
Paco Lopez is scheduled to ride Ready for the Lady for the first time.
Trainer Jeff Hiles and Thorndale Stables LLC’s Time for Trouble, who captured the 1 1/16-mile Claiming Crown Iron Horse over a sloppy main track at Churchill Downs last time out, has demonstrated a fondness for turf routes at Churchill Downs and Belterra this year.
Edwin Gonzalez has the call on the gelded son of English Channel.
Trainer Michael Maker is scheduled to be represented in the Jerkens by Michel Hui’s Value Engineering and Jordan Wycoff’s Wicked Fast.
Ocean’s Map, Sole Volante, Reigning Spirit, Kinenos and Barberini round out the main body of the field. Basso and Six Minus are also-eligibles.
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