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The Allen Jerkens

Allen Jerkens earned his nickname the “giant killer”. He took down the favorites that everyone thought were invincible. He understood that getting your horse to peak on the very day of the race meant that you had a shot at the win even if your horse was five lengths inferior. So, it is only fitting that the race at Gulstream Park named in his honor be a battle of wits and “hyper-peaking” between some of the best trainers our sport has.

Let’s face it, no North American horse wants to go 16 panels. So, the question becomes which horse has been conditioned over the last ninety days to tolerate it the best?

At first glance, Buck Benny looks like a tired horse who would be better off being used as a rabbit for Tattenham. Upon further inspection, Tattenham will probably be the one Motion uses to keep the field honest and Buck Benny will probably sit four or five off the lead. Though Buck Benny has run recently, I think that was really Graham Motion trying to get in a paid workout for Buck so that he can handle this race. Now, there is no need to be pedigree obsessed when we know for a fact that Buck doesn’t want any part of twelve furlongs, but he is bred on the same cross as Barbaro. Overall, I would say he has an excellent shot if he gets first run on the leader.

Class always seems to carry on turf. A horse can run fourth or fifth in grade three races constantly and somehow spank a horse who routinely wins allowance races. The reason for that is many and nuanced, but a large part of it probably has to do with the fact that turf races are very visually deceiving and final 3 furlong times are not posted in major racing publications. This is why Unitarian is even more impressive than he already looks. We know that Pletcher; who happens to be an incredibly underrated turf route trainer, will have him ready. When you add to this the immense gulf in class, it’s hard to make a case for any other horse other than Buck Benny to have a shot to beat him.

The Play: Why try to decide between these two when you can play an exacta box. I would also play a win bet on both of these horses to cover my bases. Anything can happen, but Buck Benny and Unitarian are the class of this race.

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