2022 Ben Ali Stakes Cheatsheet
By TwinSpires Editorial Team, Sponsored Content

By Vance Hanson (TwinSpires.com)

1. COWBOY DIPLOMACY (20-1) – Although a distant second to the emergent Olympiad in a Gulfstream allowance two back, his other efforts since joining the Walsh barn leave much to be desired; this is obviously a tough spot in which to make his stakes debut; others preferred.

2. MIGHTY HEART (9-2) – Former Queen’s Plate winner looks the primary speed in the field and will attempt to take these as far as he can; not sure he can get away with too slow a pace, though, and note he proved short in his comeback here last year against a softer field; likeable horse with an apt moniker, but see this more as a prep for easier pickings at Woodbine.

3. PROXY (7-2) – Godolphin homebred didn’t pan out as a classic prospect last season, but appears to have improved significantly based on his first two starts this term; after a comeback allowance win, he proved second best to a loose-on-the-lead Olympiad, who set a track record winning the New Orleans Classic (G2); battle-tested against some of the best of his generation, he looks a logical threat with a continuation of what he’s shown recently.

4. DYNAMIC ONE (4-1) – A bit short in the Challenger (G3) at Tampa following an absence dating back to late August, and figures much sharper with that under his belt and going longer here; inconsistency is the main drawback; a reprise of his effort in the Curlin S. (over the capable Miles D) would certainly put him in the picture, but he’s also known to throw in an unexpected clunker at times.

5. WARRANT (2-1) – Brad Cox had better three-year-olds in his barn last season, but this colt was no slouch in making his presence felt in second-tier division races; although no threat to stablemate Mandaloun and the late Midnight Bourbon in his season debut, he stepped up in a big way to just miss in the 10-furlong Santa Anita H. (G1); the one to beat here with a repeat of that performance, though the possibility of a bounce off that career-best effort is a concern.

6. TARTUFO (20-1) – Outran expectations in the Kentucky Cup Classic on Tapeta, so this lightly-raced five-year-old has options moving forward; however, tough to endorse having only passed the N1X level narrowly two back, a race that didn’t come back all that fast; likely chasing minor slice.

7. SCALDING (5-1) – An astute placement by McGaughey netted this in-form colt Grade 3 laurels at Tampa last time, as he caught a couple more favored rivals returning from longer layoffs; the performance itself wasn’t all that fast, though, and the waters here are significantly deeper; in a race without a whole lot of other speed, he figures to be prominently placed; whether he can fend off classier rivals is the question he’ll have to answer.

8. TITLE READY (8-1) – Although he’s run rather well here in the past, recent form suggests this veteran seven-year-old peaked before his stab at the 2021 Dubai World Cup (G1); recent allowance loss might have simply served as a tune-up for this longer affair, but he’ll need a number of younger rivals to have off-days in order to surprise.