Saturday Play of the Day

Gulfstream Park Race 7- The Kitten’s Joy

Saturday’s Kitten’s Joy Stakes at Gulfstream Park features a field of nine (including one MTO entrant) newly-turned 3yos going 7 1/2 furlongs on the grass, with the Graham Motion-trained Irish Mias the likely favorite coming off a solid 2nd in the Pulpit Stakes on November 30th. But it’s Phoenix Thoroughbred’s Mystic Lancelot that has my eye, even if we don’t get the 8-1 ML price.

It’s not often I’ll endorse a wager on a horse where we are essentially required to draw a line through two of the four prior carer starts. But that’s what’s needed here if you are to get excited about this son of Into Mischief. The career debut and the October 6th effort at Keeneland are the highlights in this one’s running lines. And a review of both replays will surely leave you with the impression that he has some ability. If you forgive the Woodbine flop on the basis that Mystic Lancelot perhaps didn’t like the yielding turf in the big jump from the maiden win to Grade 1 company, and then note that the dud at Aqueduct came while being very wide throughout and (as far as I could see) never changing leads in the stretch, what you have here is a $450,000 auction purchase making his first start around two turns for top connections at a juicy ML price.

I want to go back to the two decent efforts for a moment. In the debut, it’s important to note that both the 2nd and 3rd-place horses came back to win their next starts. Buy Land and See is now a stakes winner to boot. Additionally, while Mystic Lancelot was up close to a fast pace early, the aforementioned two behind him were at the back of the field and closed furiously late to earn their board finishes. So to my eye, Mystic Lancelot’s effort in that win was all the more impressive. As for the Keeneland stakes effort, running a good 4th behind Kimari and Chimney Rock is no disgrace. And the way Mystic Lancelot ran his race gives the impression that he perhaps will appreciate the move to two turns.

The selective drawing of lines through the past performances of young, learning horses can make you look very silly or very smart. I’m taking a gamble that it’s OK to do so with Mystic Lancelot in the Kitten’s Joy.

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