Stakes action returns Thursday to Kentucky Downs in Franklin, Ky., with two $500,000 races.
We will focus on the Grade 3 Franklin-Simpson Stakes (6 ½ furlongs) on the turf for 3-year-olds. The 12-horse Franklin-Simpson is carded as race 9 of 10 with a scheduled post time of 5:25 p.m. ET.
#1, Archidust, Javier Castellano, 2-1
Morning-line favorite Archidust looks too tough in this spot for Castellano and trainer Jorge Navarro. He is 3-1-0 in six starts this year, has won three straight races and has finished in the top three in his last four starts. In his last start, he was asked and answered at the 3/16 mark and came home with a 3-length victory in the $100,000 Mahony Stakes at Saratoga on August 7. Prior to that, he kicked clear by 2 ¾ lengths to take the $78,000 My Frenchmen Stakes at Monmouth Park on July 14. Oh yeah and he is 2-for-2 in turf starts in his career, all happening this year. The pick.
#4, The Last Zip, Adam Beschizza, 8-1
In seven starts this year for trainer Michael Stidham this year, The Last Zip is 1-4-1 and has finished in the top 3 in his last six starts. In his last start, he chased eventual winner Valid Point down the stretch and was caught strides from the wire by Van Beethoven to finish third in the $500,000 Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park on August 10. Prior to that, he lost by a neck to Faraway Kitten in the $150,000 G3 American Derby, also at Arlington on July 13. Adam Beschizza, who rode Faraway Kitten to the win, gets his second straight start aboard The Last Zip. The sleeper.
#11, Nitrous, Jose L. Ortiz, 6-1
In 11 career starts, Nitrous is 3-3-1, including a 2-2-0 mark in six starts this year. His last three races have been the Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens Stakes at Saratoga (8/24, 5th), the G2 Amsterdam at Saratoga (7/28, 2nd) and the G1 Woody Stephens Stakes at Belmont (6/8, 2nd) - so he has raced against top-notch company since June. Ortiz and trainer Steve Asmussed not a bad combination either. Will make some noise.
#10, Stubbins, Joel Rosario, 10-1
In six starts this year, Stubbins has posted a 3-0-1 record for trainer Doug O’Neill. He has not won since his third straight win to start the year in the $100,000 Pasadena Stakes at Santa Anita back on March 2. In his last start, he finished sixth in the G3 La Jolla Handicap at Del Mar on August 4. Rosario/O’Neill connection always a threat, but hasn’t won in six months. That I do not like. Possibly, but leaning towards others.
By Lou Monaco