2022 Runhappy Stakes Cheatsheet
By TwinSpires Editorial Team, Sponsored Content

By Vance Hanson (TwinSpires.com)

1. CHATEAU (5-2) – Veteran basically knows only one way to win – gun from the gate and hope the rest don’t catch up; as can be seen, that hasn’t resulted in many wins over the past year, with several of those losses at short prices; ran a fine race in this last year to miss only to the classier Firenze Fire, but he’s seven now and perhaps not quite the horse he was; he’s also shown a preference for hanging his best numbers up at Aqueduct; logical contender, but can he last?

2. DRAFTED (3-1) – Although lacking sufficient class to make a dent in a race like the Carter H. (G1), his win in the Toboggan (G3) two back nonetheless appears an outlier on the form he’s displayed the last few seasons; the gray peaked back in 2018-19 when based in Dubai, but has rarely made an impact since his return to the states; also ineffective in three prior runs over this surface.

3. REPO ROCKS (3-1) – Awkward starts over the winter at Aqueduct left him walking away with only minor awards in the Toboggan and Tom Fool (G3), but reaffirmed his general fondness for the Belmont strip with an impressive N2X allowance win here on April 28, earning a 105 Brisnet speed rating; still struggled with a bad start, though, and simply can’t afford to repeat that mistake against a stronger field and going a furlong shorter; however, if he can avoid bouncing off that career peak, he figures to be right there to challenge when and if Chateau starts to come back.

4. ANSWER IN (6-1) – Didn’t fire at all in that starter stakes at Aqueduct last time, a disappointment given his strong debut off the claim two back against N3X foes; although you could draw a line through that, note prior connections never saw graded stakes potential in him and willingly let him go for $40K; tough call.

5. OFFICIATING (4-1) – The record since December looks inconsistent and mixed at first glance, but the only real disappointment was the last run at Tampa, which can me a tricky surface for the uninitiated; the two G3 scores obviously were solid, and there’s no disgrace at being 10 lengths inferior to Speaker’s Corner, arguably the top miler in the country at the moment; reunites with Franco, who was aboard for the easy win over Chateau two back, and looms a big threat here.

6. MR PHIL (6-1) – Enters in peak form following two quick back-to-back wins off the claim; tough spot in which to make his stakes debut, though, especially as he’s relied on early speed to prevail in those recent victories; he’ll have company in the name of Chateau if he goes early, and not sure he can match him or last under that kind of pressure; unless track heavily tilted against the closing set, others preferred.