By Mike Paradise
Hawthorne’s Night of Champions is a long way off, four months to be exact, however the method to land into the profitable ICF championships begin this weekend.
First up is Friday’s first leg of the Robert F. Carey Jr. Memorial stake series for state bred sophomore pacing colts and geldings, tonight’s fifth race.
The 10 leading point earners after four legs of the Carey stake series earn a starting berth in the September 25th championship. A series leg victory is worth 50 points. Then it is 25 for a second finish, 12 for a third, 8 for a fourth and 5 for a fifth. A single point goes to a horse that starts in a series round.
While its often said it is’nt how a horse starts this series but rather how he finishes it when big prize is on the line, this is the time to gain some valuable series points, and rake-in some respectable purse money with two of the division’s big guns are silently on the sidelines,
The 2020 leading money-earning, state-bred juvenile pacers, ICF Two-Year-Old Colt Pacer of the Year Frontier Charley and Night of Champions winner Well Basically, evidently are not ready for their second debuts and were not entered for the first leg of the Carey.
That leaves the door wide open for one of tonight’s 10 starters to haul in the winner’s share of a $12,500 purse while zipping to the top of the Carey point standings.
Ideal Big Guy (pp 8, Casey Leonard) and Partyatmosaplace (pp 5, Todd Warren, a pair of Terry Leonard trained three-year-old’s, figure to get good play.
Ideal Big Guy, a $19,000 yearling purchase, does boast a win as a freshman over Frontier Charley. It came in a leg of last year’s Incredible Finale series when the banked over $20,000 in his initial campaign for the Leonard stable.
Partyatmosasplace, a Watson Stable homebred, had a pair of seconds and thirds in in his eight juvenile starts, usually against the top horses in his division. The gelding won over $21,000 in 2020. Todd Warren will handle Partyatmosaplace for the first time in tonight’s Carey leg.
Despite landing the outside 10-slot, The Dossie Minor trained Bombay Bobby, also could be a major threat. The Major Bombay gelding prepped well for this race with a second-place finish last week’s and is another $20,000-plus earner as a freshman.
My price shot (20-1 in the morning line) for the gimmicks is BC’s Tufftiger (pp 4). His trainer Roshun Trigg is turning over the lines to fellow Mississippian Jamaal Denson, a 24-year-old “P” driver.
BC’s Tuffinger didn’t race particular well earlier this month prepping for this start, but he showed promise last year competing mostly at Springfield where the horse posted 7 wins and three seconds in an even dozen starts, often trading victories with Bombay Bobby.
Looking for their maiden victory in tonight’s Carey are Prince Of Style (pp 1, Cliff Bell), Sagebrush Skip (pp 2, Terry Skinner) and Ashlee’s Fine Guy (pp 2, Kyle Husted), a $38,000 buy as a yearling, along with Sportsmadness (pp 6, Jordon Patton) and Diamond Diesel (pp 7, Juan Franco). Ryans Loan Shark (pp 9, Travis Seekman), victorious three times as a two-year-old, completes the ICF field.