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Iroquois Stakes Preview: Dennis’ Moment Ready for Next Step

Iroquois Stakes Preview: Dennis’ Moment Ready for Next Step

Churchill Downs’ short fall meeting returns this weekend when it plays host to a pair of Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” events. The biggest race at any track on Saturday could turn out to be the Iroquois Stakes (G3), which features several juveniles looking to make a name for themselves on the big stage.

Even though the race has drawn an attractive field, one horse stands out above them all: Dennis’ Moment. He is coming off of one of the most impressive maiden special weight victories in recent memory. After losing the rider in his debut effort at Churchill Downs (where he still crossed the line first), he came back to demolish his foes in a 19 1/4-length triumph at Ellis Park. That race had the racing world buzzing about the talents of this Dale Romans-trained son of Tiznow who is owned by Albaugh Family Stables LLC. These same connections won the 2016 Iroquois with Not This Time, who also was coming off of a maiden special weight victory at Ellis Park and eventually ran a narrow second in that year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Irad Ortiz, Jr., picks up the mount.

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The winner of the Iroquois Stakes will receive an automatic position in the $2 million TVG Juvenile (G1) this fall at Santa Anita Park. Pre-entry and entry fees will be paid and a nominator award of $10,000 will be given to the nominating person. Also, all Breeders’ Cup starters based outside of the state of California will receive a travel allowance of $10,000 if based in North America and $40,000 if based Internationally.

The Iroquois Stakes serves as one of three Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” events this Saturday. Churchill Downs will also host the Pocahontas Stakes (G2) for the Juvenile Fillies, while Woodbine will host the Woodbine Mile (G1) for the TVG Mile. On Sunday, the action resumes Woodbine with the running of the Natalma Stakes (G1) for the Juvenile Fillies Turf and the Summer Stakes (G1) for the Juvenile Turf. The American-based Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” events continue on September 21 at Parx with the running of the Cotillion Stakes (G1). That race will be a “Win and You’re In” event for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

In addition to the Breeders’ Cup, the Iroquois Stakes kicks off the first scoring race on the 2019-20 “Road to the Kentucky Derby” – the series of 35 races that will ultimately determine the field for the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) on Saturday, May 2, 2020. 

The full field from the rail out includes: Zyramid, Letmeno, Scabbard, Rowdy Yates, Automate, Flute Maker, Juggernaut, Dennis’ Moment, Lebda, and January Won.

Top Choice

#8 Dennis’ Moment – Here is the horse who has had horse racing buzzing for over a month. His debut was a total disaster, but his Ellis Park win was the most impressive 2-year-old race this season. After that effort, the racing world has anxiously waited to see him run again. He brings a ton of excitement to this race.

Horses to Use in Mutli Race Wagers 

#2 Letmeno – This colt by Twirling Candy burst onto the scene with an impressive debut at Ellis Park, closing from last to win by a length. That earned him a shot in the Ellis Park Juvenile Stakes, where he once again proved effective, making a solid run to finish second, 2 1/4 lengths behind Rowdy Yates. The stretch out in distance should help him; his pedigree should suit going two turns.

#4 Rowdy Yates – Steve Asmussen has had several impressive juveniles so far this season and Rowdy Yates belongs in the discussion. After breaking his maiden at Churchill Downs at first asking, he then finished second in the Bashford Manor Stakes (G3). In his next start, he was able to pick up his first stakes victory in the Ellis Park Juvenile Stakes. The waters get a little deeper for him here, though, as he stretches out to two turns for the first time.


Exotic Plays

#3 Scabbard – After breaking his maiden on debut at Churchill Downs, Scabbard shipped up to Saratoga for his next start, where he was a solid second in the Saratoga Special Stakes (G2). While he was not competitive with the winner, Green Light Go, he did defeat everyone else, and many of his foes were highly regarded coming into the race. This colt seems to be trending in the right direction heading into this spot.

#9 Lebda – After two wins on the Mid-Atlantic circuit, this colt will ship to Churchill Downs to run against stakes company for the first time. Two races back, he broke his maiden at Laurel Park before shipping to Delaware Park for his next start, which came against allowance/optional claiming horses. He romped there by 11 lengths, which is why he’s being sent him to Kentucky for this event.

Party Crashers 

#7 Juggernaut – So far, so good for this son of Goldencents who broke his maiden at first asking at Ellis Park. He was on top right out of the gate and never looked back, dominating his rivals by 6 1/4 lengths in wire-to-wire fashion. That type of runaway victory proves that he’s ready to tackle tougher company, which is why his connections have sent him straight to this race.

#1 Zyramid – The Zayat Stables-owned colt will look to bounce back after finishing fifth last time out in the Saratoga Special Stakes (G2). He earned his way into that race after breaking his maiden in impressive fashion two starts back at Saratoga. At the time, that was the most impressive maiden special weight win of the meet, so his poor Saratoga Special effort was fairly surprising. There is no doubt that he has talent, so he could bounce back in this spot.

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Throw Outs 

#10 January Won – Anytime a 2-year-old wins on debut at Saratoga, it becomes a big deal. That is exactly what January Won did last time out, beating a field of six by a length in a 5 1/2-furlong dash. Even though the field and distance were shorter than what he’ll face here, he still finished in a decent time and showed a nice turn of foot down the lane.

#5 Automate – This colt debuted on the turf and finished sixth in a maiden special weight. After that race, he moved him to the dirt and improved greatly, picking up a maiden special weight win at Ellis Park. However, he went back to the turf last time out for the Gainesway Farm Juvenile Stakes at Kentucky Downs, where he was seventh. The move back to the dirt makes him dangerous.

 #6 Flute Maker – His debut race at Ellis Park was a bit disappointing, but he made up for it in his second start. That came at Saratoga, where he simply destroyed his competition in a maiden special weight by 11 1/2 lengths in a sloppy off-turf event. A victory like that definitely catches the eye, and trainer Kenny McPeek loves to targets big race at Churchill Downs. There is no doubt that this horse is developing strongly.

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