11/12/2015 12:11PM

Jerardi: Former claimer Trouble Kid is a horse on the rise

Barbara Weidl/Equi-Photo
Trouble Kid will start on Saturday in the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel Park.

The players are almost certainly going to focus on Palace (two Grade 1 stakes wins last year) and Stallwalkin’ Dude in the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash on Saturday at Laurel Park. Certainly, the historical Beyer Speed Figures are there for the two New York horses, with a combined nine triple-digit Beyers when looking at their last 10 races each. I can’t argue with the logic, but I don’t know if the form and similar off-the-pace styles will travel. If they do, it is as easy as it looks. If they do not, anything is possible.

Trouble Kid might be the claim of the year. Taken by top Parx trainer Ramon Preciado for $15,000 on July 5 for owner Barbara Hopkins, Trouble Kid went from a 59 Beyer in that race to a 90 Beyer in 20 days, a nice 31-point increase.

The numbers and the form have held. In fact, the Beyers continue to rise even as the competition gets tougher. The 3-year-old, running now against a very accomplished field of older horses, has gone from a 90 to a 93, 94, and 95 with two stakes wins. The $15,000 investment has been worth nearly $300,000. This is certainly the toughest test, but Trouble Kid has been winning with his early speed, and this De Francis Dash is not loaded with early heat.

Gentlemen’s Bet is interesting because he has three 107 Beyers in his past performances. His spring form was way off his best, but this is his second race after a long layoff, and those Beyers make the horse worth a look.

The Mrs. Revere Stakes at Churchill Downs is an intriguing Beyer puzzle. Onus, with a 93 and 94 in her last two, both wins at Laurel, including a blowout in the Commonwealth Oaks, is the most logical winner. The filly got much better after hitting grass and really should sit a nice trip behind what looks like a solid pace.

Robillard put up a terrific 91 Beyer in her last. I expect that number to drop, possibly substantially. She caught a field with no speed at Keeneland and dominated. Her other recent races without the lead were nowhere close to that level. Goldy Espony, who won last Saturday’s Long Island Handicap, is a classic example of how Beyers can have dramatic swings: a killer with the lead through moderate fractions but a no-hoper without the lead or in a race with fractions that are too hot.

Robillard is not getting an easy lead, or probably any lead, with Isabella Sings in this heat. Todd Pletcher is not employing Paco Lopez to take Isabella Sings off the pace, so this pace is going to be hot. Check out the fractions that Isabella Sings has gotten in her recent starts. That she was most effective at Monmouth Park and Gulfstream Park is no shock. Speed carries on those courses, less so over this course.

If it’s not Onus, there are several fillies who are live. Partisan Politics and Devine Aida, one-two in the Pebbles Stakes with Beyers of 93 and 90, each got a career-best number that day. They were running behind a very quick pace set by Isabella Sings and get the same scenario in this race.

Return to Grace was about 1 1/2 lengths behind third-place Sentiero Italia in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland. Sentiero Italia was a solid fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, where she got a 96 Beyer, so the QE II form is promising.

Tammy the Torpedo was really good in her first race in nearly a year. She was good enough to be in the vicinity of Lady Eli last year as a 2-year-old. The 88 Beyer in the comeback was solid, but she will need to go faster here.

Celestine is yet another filly with speed. She is also hot, with four straight wins, but the numbers (76, 83, 86, and 85) are not there.

Kaigun has a decent Beyer edge in the Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct, with a pair of 101s in Grade 1 stakes at Woodbine. Still, the horse has not won in nearly a year, a cause for concern, especially if he goes favored.

Mr Speaker is the consistent horse, with Beyers of 96, 94, 97, 93, 97, and 98 this year. His third in the Knickerbocker, a paceless race, was every bit as good as it looked. There is a bit more pace in here, which should help his late run.