2022 Tropical Turf Stakes Cheatsheet
By TwinSpires Editorial Team, Sponsored Content

By Vance Hanson (TwinSpires.com)

1. LARGENT (9-5) – Has spent the better part of the last year on the sidelines following a neck loss to stablemate Colonel Liam in the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1), but that effort, and a prior win in the 2020 Fort Lauderdale (G2), stamps him as the undisputed class of the field. The layoff is the obvious knock, but this comeback spot hasn’t come up overly difficult as far as competition. Pletcher barn has been on absolute fire this meet, winning with 15 of its first 35 starters. Strictly the one to beat at odds significantly lower than the 9-5 ML.

2. CLEAR VISION (6-1) – Enters in really good form with a pair of blowout wins against lesser, followed most recently by a second in the Claiming Crown Emerald. The latter is a starter allowance, though, and significant improvement will be needed to make a dent here despite the lack of depth beyond the top two favorites. Largely ineffective in prior stakes attempts, but could snare a minor share against these.

3. PHAT MAN (5-1) – Last ran on the grass in the fall of 2017, with his most accomplished finish in five tries on the surface being a second in that year’s Super Derby at Louisiana Downs. Although hard to like much from that perspective, the weather forecast on Saturday potentially threatens to wash this race onto the main track. In that event, his chances would improve considerably. Won or placed in the Fred W. Hooper (G3) and Gulfstream Park Mile (G2) two years ago, though he was far less effective in those same races in 2021. Advanced age and modest tries in last two at short odds give some cause for pause if this is moved to the main track.

4. VALUE PROPOSITION (8-5) – Didn’t fire his best shot in the six-furlong Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship, a race that was probably too short. The field was a good one, too. Arrest Me Red is arguably behind only Golden Pal in the Ward turf sprinter pecking order, and third-place Chewing Gum came back to win the Joe Hernandez (G2) at Santa Anita. This one’s been far more consistent over a mile, his only dull run occurring in the 2020 Woodbine Mile (G1). Although he’s yet to break through at the graded level, he obviously fits against these.

5. FLYING SCOTSMAN (12-1) – Certainly in need of his latest run in an off-the-turf allowance held on the Tapeta. He hadn’t raced since May when a better-than-expected sixth in the Dinner Party (G2) on Preakness Day. Although impressive winning over this course and distance here last February, he’s tended to struggle when stepping up to stakes company. Feast-or-famine type tough to endorse for the win.

6. CALL CURT (20-1) – The field closes out with a couple horses stepping up significantly in class. This gelding has dropped three straight facing N1X allowance foes, not exactly a recipe for success in a tough G3 event. Experience and consistency over this course is his main asset, his one poor run having occurred on the main track. Otherwise, there’s little here that entices on the win end.

7. BELGRANO (15-1) – Eight-year-old veteran looks up against it from a class perspective. Although he won a 5 1/2-furlong stakes at Monmouth last summer, he’s essentially a starter allowance type who’s struggled to win at that level during the last two Gulfstream championship meets. Would be a surprise to see him in the winner’s circle.