It was the weekend before the Breeders’ Cup, but we still had some performances that should be recognized. Check out our Three Stars of the Week after closing day features at Belmont Park, Santa Anita, and Keeneland.
1. Tom’s Ready
Just when you start to count out Tom’s Ready is usually when he jumps up and runs a big race. Once again, he proved that to be the case last Saturday when he won the Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap at Belmont Park by nearly a length. After settling into his normal position in the back of the pack, he then rushed up from dead last to third at the top of the lane, then had enough left in the tank to pull off the win. His final odds were 8-1 after a few failed attempts at shorter prices this year. With the right pace setup, he can be a player against almost any field.
2. Sharp Samurai
He has turned into a very nice horse. His win in the Grade 2 Twilight Derby gave him his fourth victory in a row, and this time, it was in stylish fashion by 2 3/4 lengths. His odds of 2-1 seemed like a gift, as the rapidly-developing 3-year-old sat a perfect stalking trip before blowing away the field down the stretch. The win gives him two straight Grade 2 triumphs, as he also won the Del Mar Derby in early September. This could really be a horse to watch in the older turf division out west next year.
3. The Player
During the middle part of the season last year, The Player was becoming a heavily-hyped 3-year-old, but injuries forced him to miss the rest of the year after a second-place finish in the Grade 3 Indiana Derby. After a year layoff, he came back this season and struggled in his first couple of starts, but lately, he’s put it together, winning two of his last three, inducing the Grade 2 Fayette at Keeneland last weekend. After stalking the pace early on, The Player rushed to the lead on the turn and dominated his rivals down the lane to win by a solid 3 lengths. He’s now a horse to watch and could be a contender for a race like the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs in late November.