The Grade II Golden Rod Stakes has attracted a quality field ahead of Saturday’s feature race at Churchill Downs.
It could mature into a match race between Famed and Sandstone, who are the standouts in the stakes field.
Famed, a half-sister to Essential Quality, is the hype runner, but horse racing betting markets have Sandstone being the testing material.
Follow the Hype Runner
Being a half-sister to champion age-group runner Essential Quality comes with a great deal of pressure.
The 2-year-old daughter of Uncle Mo finished second on debut at Churchill Downs before scoring an impressive maiden win at Keeneland last month.
Michael Banahan, director of farm operations at Godolphin, was happy with how she exited maiden grades.
“She broke her maiden very nicely and was always very well thought of,” Banahan told BloodHorse.
“Brad Cox always thought she was one of the nicer 2-year-olds he’s had for us.”
It can be tough for the sportsbook to frame markets for juvenile racing, but Famed looks to have a bright future. We expect her to be right in the thick of the betting and be tough to beat in the Golden Rod Stakes.
Sandstone Romps Home
Talk about a way to make an impression. Sandstone didn’t give her opposition a chance in the Rags to Riches Stakes, which could be an aptly named race.
The humble daughter of Street Sense handled the field of four by 10¾ lengths, and although helped by the size of the field, she looks like a classy type in the making.
Trainer Ken McPeek admitted his stable doesn’t always have a great summer, but it starts clicking come autumn. His $165,000 purchase could be his next stable star and the Golden Rod is there for the taking.
“Sometimes we don’t always have the most stellar summers but come around in the fall,” said McPeek. “This is a big filly and really impressive. She’s big but she has a lot of speed. She’s fast and very well built. That was a really nice effort.”
Betting online markets will have Sandstone on the heels of Famed, if not favorite based on that performance. She is bred to enjoy a few runs under her belt, so bettors should expect her to strengthen up and improve this season.
Stablemate Hal’s Dream could also figure in the placings. She looked good scoring on debut at Keeneland and any positive betting moves would be a good sign.
She ran a second slower on debut than Sandstone did when winning last start, but given the size of the field, we’re not surprised.
Big Field for Jockey Club Stakes
A field of 14 lines up the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs, including Howling Time and Tiz the Bomb.
Howling Time won on debut at Churchill Downs before winning the Street Sense Stakes over a longer distance. The $200,000 purchase could have a big future and he has been best-backed to win the feature.
His closest rival is Tiz the Bomb, who is another quality runner from the McPeek stable. He owns three wins from five starts and McPeek is keen to give him one more run on the dirt.
“Tiz the Bomb has done everything right from the beginning,” McPeek said. “I just want to get one more run into him on the dirt, especially at Churchill, before the end of the season. He’s done well coming out of California and seems to be an easy horse to handle, and certainly a good spot for him.”
It’s a wide-open betting affair for the Jockey Club Stakes. Four runners are quoted at single-figure odds, including Classic Causeway and White Abarrio, who could push the favorites close.
The 2-year-old runners will need to cope with a big weight, which could make for exciting racing. There will be numerous fillies out of this field to watch when they mature, so it’s a must-see.