2022 Charles Whittingham Stakes Cheatsheet
By TwinSpires Editorial Team, Sponsored Content

By Vance Hanson (TwinSpires.com)

1. GREGDAR (15-1) – Although he has no experience competing in an actual stakes, note his one and only try over 1 1/4 miles was a good effort; in an N2X allowance 13 months ago, he finished second behind Award Winner, who went on to win the 2021 edition of this race in his next start; hasn’t proven to be more than allowance class sprinting, but his route form to date has been promising and he’s relatively less exposed in that department; perhaps a sneaky price for the vertical exotics.

2. DEAN MARTINI (15-1) – Midwest transplant endured a troubled trip in his return here, but not sure he would have necessarily been a win factor against rivals with stronger turf credentials; his three prior placings on the surface all occurred during his maiden days as a two-year-old on this circuit, and he hit his peak when taking the 2020 Ohio Derby (G3) on dirt; others more appealing.

3. MAJESTIC EAGLE (6-1) – Rarely does he lose by a significant margin against this kind on this circuit, but there was certainly good reason for him to be shipped twice to Phoenix over the winter in search of easier pickings; successful the first time, he met with a little trouble second last out and fell a bit short; the waters obviously deeper again here, and tendency to settle for minor awards speaks for itself.

4. DICEY MO CHARA (4-1) – Second stakes attempt in the San Luis Rey (G3) last month was a notable improvement over his no-show in the Hollywood Derby (G1), and impressive given his sprint-heavy pedigree; cut back of a quarter-mile can only help, and likely to sit right behind the speed and hope to wear that rival down in the final stages; logical threat off recent form.

5. GOLD PHOENIX (6-1) – Stakes newcomer hasn’t run a bad one yet, though he takes a significant class hike after narrowly winning an N1X over a mile; closing style suggests he might get 10f, though pedigree is very mile-oriented; sire won the Lockinge (G1) over that distance while dam is a full sister to a Group 1-winning miler in Hong Kong and to a Buena Vista (G2) winner; plenty of upside here.

6. MASTEROFFOXHOUNDS (2-1) – Good showing in a one-mile allowance prep in his return from a seven-month layoff, in which he set an honest pace and just failed to hold in the final furlong; won the 2021 San Marcos (G2) in his only prior run over this course and trip, and can probably excuse the subsequent out-of-town losses as well as those over longer distances; very capable.

7. BEYOND BRILLIANT (9-5) – Hollywood Derby upsetter is all speed and looms the one to catch; benefited from setting a relaxed pace in that Del Mar Grade 1 in November, but fractions in the Mathis Mile (G2) and Kilroe Mile (G1) proved a bit too hot to sustain; potentially trip-dependent, he’s never been this far and thus might prove vulnerable at a short price.