Equibase Analysis: Halladay Faces Tough Task In Ft. Lauderdale Stakes

The Grade 2, $200,000 Ft. Lauderdale Stakes this Saturday at Gulfstream Park drew 10 strong turf runners including Halladay, who won the Grade 1 Fourstardave Handicap this past summer at Saratoga. Bringing a perfect three-for-three record on the Gulfstream Park turf course into the race, Halladay earned his last four wins leading from start to finish, often running the field off their feet in the early stages then coasting along to the wire.

In the Ft. Lauderdale, Halladay draws the extreme outside post and should have a number of horses inside of him also vying for the lead such as Factor This (winner of the G2 Dinner Party Stakes in October) and Somelikeithotbrown (winner of the G2 Barnard Baruch Handicap in July). That makes for an interesting pace scenario which opens up the door for a number of other contenders.

Spooky Channel, who won the G3 William L. McKnight Stakes last January at Gulfstream Park, may appreciate the pace battle. So could Channel Cat, who won the G2 Bowling Green Stakes in the summer of 2019 and who returns from a nine-month rest. Breaking the Rules nearly won the G3 Canadian Turf Stakes over the course last March and may have a say. Largent won the Bert Allen Stakes when last seen in October and steps into graded stakes company for the first time, as do last out winners Doswell and Tide of the Sea. Last but certainly not least is Delaware, who won the G3 Shadwell Prix Daphnis in France last summer and who most recently was beaten a neck as part of a three-horse photo finish in the Artie Schiller Stakes.

Delaware may have turned a corner in his most recent race, his fourth since importing from Europe. After an eighth place finish at Belmont in June in a stakes race in his North American debut, Delaware finished second in a high level allowance race then shipped to Woodbine to run in the King Edward Stakes, where he was sent to post as the favorite but only managed to finish fifth. Given three months off, Delaware returned in the Artie Schiller Stakes in New York and proceeded to run his best race in the states to date, rallying late to miss winning by a neck and a head. The 107 Equibase Speed Figure is much higher than the 92 figure 2019 Ft. Lauderdale winner Instilled Regard earned and the effort is likely to be improved upon in the colt’s second start back after three months away from the races. North American leading jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. rides Delaware right back after his big effort last month. With a contested early pace battle forecast between Halladay, Factor This and Somelikeithotbrown, it is very possible Delaware will be up in time to win.

Spooky Channel will likely be much further back in the early stages than Delaware, but he has the kick to post the upset, just as he did last January when winning the William L. McKnight Handicap. That effort earned a career-best 117, which he duplicated in May winning in a stakes quality allowance race. Jockey Julien Leparoux was aboard for both wins and rides again in the Ft. Lauderdale which portends well for Spooky Channel potentially to post the upset with a last to first rally.

Doswell has never finished worse than second in six career turf races, at distances ranging from seven furlongs to a mile and one-quarter. When returning from an 11-month layoff in August and after changing trainers to Barclay Tagg, Doswell ran the best race of his career with a 97 figure. Nearly two months later in October, Doswell ran even better, improving to a 104 figure. Since shipping to Florida from New York, Doswell put in a sensational workout of five eighths of a mile on turf in 58.6 seconds which was the best of 17 on the day at the distance, suggesting even better may be forthcoming in the Ft. Lauderdale.

The rest of the field, with their best Equibase Speed Figures, is Breaking the Rules (110), Channel Cat (108), Factor This (118), Halladay (115), Largent (109), Somelikeithotbrown (117) and Tide of the Sea (102)

Win Contenders, in preference order:
Delaware
Spooky Channel
Doswell

Ft. Lauderdale Stakes – Grade 2
Race 10 at Gulfstream Park
Saturday, December 12 – Post Time 4:40 PM E.T.
One and One Eighth Miles on Turf
3-Year-Olds and Upward
Purse: $200,000

The post Equibase Analysis: Halladay Faces Tough Task In Ft. Lauderdale Stakes appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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