2022 Seabiscuit Handicap Cheatsheet
By TwinSpires Editorial Team, Sponsored Content
By Vance Hanson (TwinSpires.com)
1. SANTIN (3-1) – Mastered Churchill Downs‘ new turf course better than most this year by scoring G1 wins in May and August, though hasn’t delivered at all at other times recently; showed little after a slow start at Keeneland last time, but returns to a course over which he was a strong second in the Hollywood Derby (G1) last fall; the primary concern is that, despite a couple overnight wins going a mile, he might find this trip a bit shorter than what he prefers these days.
2. MASTEROFFOXHOUNDS (12-1) – Got away with a soft, unpressured pace going 10 panels in the John Henry Turf Championship (G2) last time, but was well held against several of these rivals earlier this year on multiple occasions; more effective over longer distances than this, but the apparent class differential is the main knock against.
3. HONG KONG HARRY (7-2) – The leading candidate of the three D’Amatos enters fresh having last seen action in the Del Mar Mile (G2) Sept 3., in which he rallied from 13 lengths down to win going away by more than two lengths; won the American (G3) over the summer, too, and had a legit excuse when a rough-trip second in the Eddie Read (G2) in between; can get an honest pace if the two to his immediate right both go; plenty to offer.
4. SMOOTH LIKE STRAIT (4-1) – Although swallowed up late after setting a pressured pace in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), no doubting this one’s top-level credentials on this circuit; the obvious downside is that he’s seemingly forgot how to win over the past year and a half, settling for numerous minor awards in what has to be a frustrating development for connections; figures to be around or thereabouts at the finish, but expected short price would be tough to take after a long stretch of falling short.
5. BEYOND BRILLIANT (4-1) – Last year’s Hollywood Derby winner seemingly a need-the-lead type, and he didn’t get that advantage in the Breeders’ Cup Mile; situation might be different now that he’s on more familiar and preferred ground, but again might have to tussle with Smooth Like Strait for early supremacy; however, if he can avoid the pressure, he could turn this into a repeat of the Charles Whittingham (G2) or City of Hope Mile (G2).
6. LINCOLN HAWK (20-1) – While generally hard to dismiss a D’Amato trainee in a spot like this, especially after a solid prep race, this four-year-old has had limited experience facing this kind and prior form against graded foes doesn’t stand out; winless in four prior starts over this lawn, too; relatively fresh, but can’t endorse for more than a small slice.
7. IRIDEO (10-1) – Runner-up to Hong Kong Harry in the Del Mar Mile two back, but again didn’t quite settle as well he could have in the City of Hope Mile; much closer to the pace than he had been at Del Mar, his late kick was blunted and he failed to muster a rally; perhaps a better effort possible if he can deliver one big run late, but overall seems a cut below from a class perspective.
8. SET PIECE (5-1) – Not quite as consistent a contender this season as last, his only wins coming against softer at Pimlico; a good try last out in the Coolmore Turf Mile (G1) at Keeneland despite falling well behind, and the foes that beat him to the wire are all legitimate G1 types; the pace should be honest here, so it’s just a matter of whether he can get involved sooner and his late kick is good enough.
9. KENTUCKY GHOST (20-1) – Looks a cut or two below these from a class perspective; his only stakes win came in the Cliff Hanger, a Listed event, at Monmouth over the summer, and previous forays into graded company this season leave something to be desired; has also done some of his best work of late with Lasix, and goes without that here.