In a field of nine older horses for the $175,000 Eclipse Stakes (G2), Ronald Kirk, John Bates, and Michael Riordan's multiple graded stakes winner Are You Kidding Me stands out as the one to beat May 20 at Woodbine.
After winning the Autumn Stakes (G2) at the Canadian track for a second straight year Nov. 6, the son of Run Away and Hide shipped to Churchill Downs for the Nov. 25 Clark Handicap (G1), where he finished eighth.
Upon returning to Woodbine, where he has notched nine of his 10 wins for trainer Roger Attfield, Are You Kidding Me won an April 29 allowance at the Eclipse distance in his most recent start.
Are You Kidding Me posted a bullet 1:00 1/5 for five furlongs in his most recent work at Woodbine, where he topped 10 others at the distance May 16.
The majority of the field for the 1 1/16-mile Eclipse, run on the synthetic main track, are graded stakes placed. As the 8-5 morning-line favorite, the 7-year-old Are You Kidding Me—the 2015-16 Sovereign Award champion older horse—is by far the most accomplished.
Second choice in the morning-line at odds of 3-1 is Ontario-bred Unbridled Juan. The 5-year-old has scored in four allowance level or lower races, but has never finished off the board in his 16 starts.
Trained by Josie Carroll for Stronach Stables, Unbridled Juan stepped into stakes company at the end of 2016 to place second in the Dec. 17 Queens County Stakes at Aqueduct Race Track.
The 2015 Sovereign Award champion 2-year-old Riker is entered in Saturday's test coming off a win in an optional-claiming allowance race April 29 at Woodbine, where he wired the field in a 2 1/4 length win over fellow Eclipse entrant Oakton.
The graded stakes winning son of Include began his career with four consecutive wins, but finished off the board five additional times after a sixth-place run in the 2015 Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1).
Riker also recently posted a bullet work, besting 34 at five furlongs May 11 to also post a time of 1:00 1/5.
Centennial Farms' Oakton will likely go off as a long shot, but the Macho Uno gelding finished second to Are You Kidding Me in his lone graded stakes effort, the 2016 Autumn Stakes, also run at the Eclipse distance.
Woodbine, Saturday, May 20, 2017, Race 7
- 1 1/16m
- All Weather Track
- 4 yo's & up
- 4:24 PM (local)
|1||1Oakton (ON)||David Moran||116||Pat Parente||20/1|
|2||2Are You Kidding Me (KY)||Alan Garcia||122||Roger L. Attfield||8/5|
|3||3Royal Son (KY)||Patrick Husbands||116||Mark E. Casse||12/1|
|4||4Eirigh (ON)||Emma-Jayne Wilson||116||Todd A. Pletcher||5/1|
|5||5Unbridled Juan (ON)||Luis Contreras||116||Josie Carroll||3/1|
|6||6Go Around (FL)||Rafael Manuel Hernandez||116||William I. Mott||6/1|
|7||7Riker (KY)||Jesse M. Campbell||116||Nicholas Gonzalez||8/1|
|8||8Dragon Bay (KY)||Gary Boulanger||118||Stuart C. Simon||15/1|
|9||9Noble Thought (KY)||Eurico Rosa Da Silva||116||Malcolm Pierce||15/1|