2021 Eddie Read Stakes Cheatsheet
By TwinSpires Editorial Team, Sponsored Content

By Vance Hanson (TwinSpires.com)

1. VINTAGE PRINT – Wasn’t beaten by much in his only prior stakes try last summer, albeit against a softer group than this. Missed a lot of time afterward and eventually switched barns, so might not have come out of that race quite right. However, two get-fit runs at Churchill for Lobo produced progressive results, and connections seemingly feel he’s still with potential and can show it while adding blinkers here. Still, the weakest candidate here based on speed figure production, and the horse that beat him last time failed to factor in two subsequent outings, including an Ellis Park allowance.

2. UNITED – Although better known for his prowess in longer events, can’t overlook the fact he’s 2-for-2 at this distance and has never been worse than second in four tries over this course. That includes a half-length win in this event last summer. Trailed a field of four in the Charles Whittingham (G2) as an odds-on choice last out despite there being a fairly sensible pace set-up. It was by far the worst effort on his recent past performances, and thus potentially forgivable, but wouldn’t want to take another very short price in the event it was perhaps the beginning of a more negative form trend.

3. SAY THE WORD – From a versatility standpoint, this 12-furlong specialist showed some when proving second best in the Shoemaker Mile (G1) last time, though judging from the odds, bettors found it well within the realm of possibility. The additional furlong here can’t hurt, and he gets a two-pound break from Smooth Like Strait in this rematch. Class and speed seem no issue, though D’Amato barn surprisingly off to a cold start this meet with a 0-for-11 stretch out of the gate.

4. COUNT AGAIN – Turned in a lifetime best here last fall when rallying from 12th to capture the Seabiscuit H. (G2) over 1 1/16 miles. Others like this course, too, but any special fondness he may possess makes him an intriguing longer-priced candidate for the vertical exotics. Enthusiasm is tempered somewhat by relative inconsistency since the Seabiscuit, though run at Churchill last time was no embarrassment considering who he was running against.

5. AWARD WINNER – All things fell into place for him to spring the minor upset in the Whittingham as he stalked Acclimate and produced a sufficient late kick to edge that eventual San Juan Capistrano (G3) hero at the wire. Four-horse races often turn into tactical affairs, which that one seemed to as neither Red King nor United fired that day. Could easily be the target this time and that hasn’t always produced the best results for him during his career, even at distances shorter than this.

6. SMOOTH LIKE STRAIT – A true gem of consistency the past couple of seasons for McCarthy, and love for this course evident by the fact that he ran Domestic Spending, arguably the best turf horse in the country, to a head in the Hollywood Derby (G1) last fall. The margin wasn’t much greater at Churchill two back, and he rebounded nicely in the Shoemaker Mile while beating a couple of these. Should be well-positioned to take first run at Award Winner, but also versatile enough to take the initiative should Rispoli so choose. Either way, he again looks like the one they all have to beat.

7. RESTRAINEDVENGENCE – Only third best at a long price in the Shoemaker Mile, though last-out win in the American (G3) was solid enough against a rival, Neptune’s Storm, with serious back class and who came back to win a restricted stakes here last weekend. Only 1-for-6 over this turf course, though, and early-season losses in races like the San Francisco Mile (G3) and Santana Mile are ample evidence that he seems to lack the relative class to be anything more than a minor award candidate in this spot. 2021-Eddie-Read-Stakes-Cheatsheet.docx