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NEW ORLEANS, LA – Last year’s gate-to-wire victor Bobby’s Wicked One is ready to attempt a title defense in Thursday’s $125,000 Thanksgiving Classic, the first stakes of the 2020-21 Fair Grounds meet.
The Thanksgiving Classic is a 6-furlong dirt sprint open to all horses ages 3 and up. This year’s edition is the eighth event on a 10-race card and has a local post time of 3:35 PM.
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Here’s a look at the full field for the Thanksgiving Classic:
1. Tringale 12/1 – A runner-up in last year’s running, he makes his first start since finishing a well-beaten ninth in a 6-furlong optional claiming sprint at Oaklawn Park on April 25. He reunites with Mitchell Murrill, who’s ridden him to a 6-1-2-0 record including in the 2019 Thanksgiving Classic. Murrill and trainer Chris Davis have a 16% win rate since the start of last year.
2. Nitrous 7/2 – He appears here hoping to continue his streak of improving with each start since the summer, which might be enough to put him into the winner’s circle for the first time since January 2019. He missed by a head as part of a three-horse photo at the wire in the De Francis Dash (G3) last time out and will likely save early ground from this inside post.
3. Chublicious 20/1 – He won 6 stakes earlier in his career, but he missed 21 months after finishing fifth in the 2018 edition of this race. His best effort in 3 starts since returning was a second-place effort in the New Jersey Breeders’ Handicap against his fellow Garden State-breds, but he hasn’t looked nearly as sharp as he did prior to the large break.
4. Bobby’s Wicked One 4/1 – He earned back-to-back triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures for winning this and the Duncan Kenner Stakes in his next start, but he lost by a combined 67 3/4 lengths in his 2 subsequent tries. Off since June, he takes a major class drop after losing to Volatile (the top-rated sprinter at the time) and Whitmore (the Breeders’ Cup Sprint [G1] champ).
“He just hasn’t been a summer horse, so it’s normal for us to give him some off time,” said trainer Al Stall Jr. “He ran those 2 bad races, but physically, there was nothing wrong. He usually wilts a bit in the heat and has proven to be a winter horse, so we’re looking forward to leading him over for another go Thursday.”
5. Manny Wah 3/1 – He exits a fifth-place effort in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, his second start off a 4-month break that ended when he missed by a nose against optional claimers. He finished second by 1 length over this course and distance in the 2018 Sugar Bowl Stakes and has a strong class edge over several of his common rivals.
6. Landeskog 4/1 – After finishing second in both of his 6-furlong stakes attempts last year, he switched to the Brad Cox barn and wired optional claimers at Ellis Park in August. He gave way as the 4/5 favorite in the De Francis and finished last of six, but Cox shows faith that he’ll turn things around by not dropping him down in class for his third start from the barn.
7. He’s Smokin Now 20/1 – He takes his fourth shot at the stakes level after running well in his prior attempts, including winning the restricted MTA Stallion Auction at Canterbury Park against his fellow 3-year-olds. However, he was a well-beaten fourth in the Jersey Shore Stakes last time out and the waters only get deeper here.
8. Mr Money Bags 9/2 – He won 6 stakes earlier in his career, last finding success in January’s Stonerside Sprint before taking a 7-month break. He’s crossed second or third in 3 subsequent starts, including a turf sprint against optional claimers in his first try for new trainer Danny Pish, so that start and returning to dirt might bring him renewed success.
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