05/03/2007 12:00AM

Alysheba Stakes preview


Friday, May 4, 2007
Churchill Downs - Race 4
1 1/16 Miles
Alysheba Stakes
3-year-olds and upward
Purse $100,000.

This is a tough race to handicap as both HALF OURS and WANDERIN BOY are cross-entered in the Churchill Downs Handicap on Saturday. JONESBORO ran into a tough customer in Lawyer Ron last time out in the Oaklawn Handicp, and that nine-furlong distance may have been a bit long for the son of multiple Grade 1 winner Mom's Command. He showed his customary early speed in that spot, but was a beaten horse by the quarter-pole. He was bothered a bit while racing on the rail at that point, and still gamely battled back to finish fourth. Jonesboro doesn't necessarily need the lead, but he is probably at his best when allowed to relax on the front, and will be hoping that both Half Ours and Wanderin Boy scratch. If both horses are declared, then Jonesboro may be able to shake loose on a slow pace. If only one scratches, then Jonesboro will likely stalk from close range. Either way, he's an interesting price play.
BROTHER BOBBY finished ahead of the top pick at Oaklawn, and he earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure that day. A lightly-raced gelding, he has lots of upside potential, and the recent bullet workouts allay fears of a "bounce." Brother Bobby has good tactical speed, and would benefit if the early pace is fast. Trainer Grant Forster is only 1 for his last 23 in graded stakes races (according to Formulator 4.1 stats), but Brother Bobby has cracked the exacta in 8 of 9 races, and deserves serious consideration in this spot. HALF OURS was scheduled to run in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct on April 7, but missed the race due to minor eye surgery. He was purchased for $6.1 million dollars at the Keeneland November breeding sale, a record for a horse in training, and the undefeated colt has brilliant early speed. He'll be on the lead if he starts here, but this would mark his first race around two turns, and he may be overbet. WANDERIN BOY is a perfect 2-2 at this distance, and he may be less-likely to scratch than HALF OURS. He kept top company in 2006, winning the Grade 2 Brooklyn, and finishing second to both Bernardini and Invasor in Grade 1 races. He's a classy performer, but hasn't raced since November, and is another that may be an underlay.
PERFECT DRIFT is a classy old warrior, but he hasn't won since July 30, 2005, and may be getting a bit long in the tooth. He'll hope for a contested pace up front, and should be running late.

1. Jonesboro
2. Brother Bobby
3. Half Ours