February 6, 2023

In this biweekly collection, racing analyst J. Keeler Johnson shares promising horses from his handicapping enjoy listing, examining runners who have lately caught his eye and previewing horses scheduled to run back in the around long term.

New to the Enjoy Listing

Gun Pilot

You know Saturday’s fourth race at Oaklawn, an $80,000 allowance optional claimer (submit time 2:57 p.m. EST) has appear up deep when a horse as promising as Gun Pilot is listed at 15-1 on the morning line.

Gun Pilot debuted with a strong general performance in a seven-furlong maiden special body weight on Nov. 26 at Churchill Downs. The nicely-bred son of Gun Runner pressed the early tempo, took command following 50 percent a mile, and drew off down the homestretch to earn by 3 lengths with an encouraging 88 Brisnet Speed score.

Conditioned by Hall of Fame coach Steve Asmussen, Gun Pilot is including Lasix for his second start out. Stretching out above a person mile must assistance his possibilities, and the existence of sizzling jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. adds to the attraction. Gun Pilot seems poised to outrun his odds even whilst squaring off versus the stakes-put Two Eagles River and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile alumnus Verifying (see below).

Place Confirmed

The stoutly bred sophomore Issue Proven has improved steadily though stretching out in length for large-proportion trainer Todd Pletcher. His initially commence all around two turns was particularly robust, producing an extraordinary 5-duration rating in a 1 1/8-mile maiden specific weight at Churchill Downs in November.

Stage Established will seek out to hold his momentum going in Friday’s sixth race at Tampa Bay Downs, a $75,000 allowance optional claimer (article time 3:03 p.m.). The one particular-mile and 40-yard distance ought to be acceptable for Place Tested, and coach Todd Pletcher has gone 20-for-57 (35 per cent) saddling 3-12 months-olds about the Tampa Bay Downs filth because 2018. Hence, the stage is set for Place Established to create another successful operate. As a son of Horse of the Year Gun Runner out of a mare by Preakness winner Bernardini, Position Tested is bred for accomplishment in the classics and could possibly be a Highway to the Kentucky Derby sort.

Verifying

Verifying showed a lot of assure as a juvenile. The half-sibling to champion Midnight Bisou wired his debut sprinting at Saratoga, then stretched out more than one mile to complete a sport second in the Champagne (G1) on the Highway to the Kentucky Derby.

Verifying hasn’t begun due to the fact finishing sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, but he’s going through less difficult competition in Saturday’s fourth race at Oaklawn and might enhance while including Lasix for red-very hot trainer Brad Cox. In accordance to Brisnet figures, Cox wins at a 38 per cent charge with horses racing on Lasix for the initially time. A victory on Saturday will cement Verifying as an enjoyable identify to abide by on the Derby trail.

Off the View Listing

Incredibly hot Rod Charlie

Right after 3 productive years on the observe, Warm Rod Charlie has retired from racing to stand at stud at Shadai Stallion Station in Japan.

In addition to his signature achievements in the 2021 Pennsylvania Derby (G1), Very hot Rod Charlie recorded best-a few finishes in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), 2021 Kentucky Derby (G1), 2021 Belmont (G1), 2022 Dubai World Cup (G1), and 2022 Whitney (G1), repeatedly proving his well worth in opposition to top rated-course levels of competition. Here’s hoping Incredibly hot Rod Charlie passes on his talent and durability at stud.

Which horses do you have your eyes on?