Soaring Empire, owned by University of Louisville Basketball Coach Rick Pitino and Ol Memorial Stable, is a 2-year-old colt that has been on my watch list for some time. Sunday he will make his stakes debut in the $100,000 Iroquois Stakes (G3) in the opening day of the fall meet at Churchill Downs.
In just his second start, with 15-1 morning line odds, I have no idea how well Soaring Empire will perform in the Iroquois. But if his maiden debut at Monmouth Park on September 26 is an indication, Pitino and his partners may have a contender for the 2010 Triple Crown Trail.
Soaring Empire came from way off the pace, angled out four-wide midway on the turn, and rallied to win going away by 3 ¼ -lengths with a final time of 1:04.80 in the 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race at Monmouth Park.
I really like the pedigree of Soaring Empire, but you never know how well juveniles will do until they’ve raced a few times. Sometimes they live up to their breeding and sometimes they don’t. I’ve had my share of horses that I liked and for some reason they did not live up to their breeding.
It definitely is a step up in class for Soaring Empire who will face the likes of Hopeful Stakes (G1) winner Dublin. However, I like Soaring Empire for my longshot pick. He has the breeding to win the Iroquois but only time will tell if Soaring Empire will develop into a nice racehorse.
I also like Dublin who is the 4-1 morning line favorite in the field of 11 horses. But, with his low odds and my small bankroll, I will only use him with Soaring Empire in the exotics.
Although he’s never ran in a route race, Uh Oh Bango (5-1) looks like he could be tough in this spot. He comes into this race with a 10 ½ -length romp in the 6-furlong Prairie Meadows Freshman Stakes, September 18 at Prairie Meadows. Uh Oh Bango’s final time of 1:09.26 earned him a 102 Brisnet Speed Figure for that performance which is the highest speed figure of all the horses entered in today’s race. If he can carry that speed to a route he could be in the mix.
Another horse I like is the Todd Pletcher-trained Three Day Rush (8-1) who comes into this race with a win in the Monmouth Park-NATC Furturity.
Three Day Rush
Uh Oh Bango