10/15/2013 12:28PM

Keeneland: Rahystrada tries to rebound in wide-open Sycamore

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Four-Footed Fotos
Rahystrada, a three-time winner of the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap, will have Leandro Goncalves aboard when breaking from post 6 in the three-turn Sycamore.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Pick any one of the nine, and nobody will laugh. The Sycamore Stakes is about as even as they come, with every starter having recently earned a Beyer Speed Figure right around 90 while consistently showing above-average form.

Rahystrada, with a bankroll approaching $1.4 million, is by far the biggest earner in the field for the Grade 3, $100,000 Sycamore at Keeneland, but the aberration of an 11th-place finish in his most recent race, the Aug. 17 Arlington Million, will lead to some skepticism among horseplayers.

There are, after all, plenty of other viable options in this 1 1/2-mile turf fixture, which anchors a Thursday program as the eighth of nine races. And Rahystrada, at age 9, has to be getting near the end of the line, doesn’t he?

“We’re just taking it one race at a time, as they say,” said Byron “Scooter” Hughes, who has trained Rahystrada for 34 of the gelding’s 45 career races for Robert Courtney Jr., a longtime friend and fellow Lexingtonian.

“We couldn’t find a thing wrong with him after the Million, so I still don’t know what the deal was. The only reason he didn’t run [in the Kentucky Turf Cup] at Kentucky Downs was because he was having some kind of allergy where he’d break out. But ever since we brought him back four or five days after the Million, he’s been training like a bear.”

Rahystrada, a three-time winner of the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap (2010, 2012, and 2013), will have Leandro Goncalves aboard when breaking from post 6 in the three-turn Sycamore.

The Sept. 14 Kentucky Turf Cup is one of the key races toward this 19th running of the Sycamore. It was won in a photo by Temeraine over Olympic Thunder, with Suntracer another length back in third. All three wheel back nearly five weeks later for this race.

Najjaar was scratched from the Kentucky Downs race as one of the program favorites after becoming slightly ill, but trainer Dan Peitz is satisfied with how the Shadwell Farm homebred has progressed in recent weeks at the Trackside training center in Louisville.

Two major East Coast stables have uncoupled entries in here: Shug McGaughey sends out Reflecting and Tricky Hat, while Graham Motion is represented by the duo of Eagle Poise and Nutello. Tricky Hat and Eagle Poise were separated by just a neck as the one-two finishers in the Laurel Turf Cup last month in Maryland.

Motion said Tuesday that because of possible rain in the forecast he is on the fence about running Nutello, but Eagle Poise is a definite. Eagle Poise has had two races since a 13-month layoff.

“Eagle Poise has done well in his two comeback races and had an unlucky trip last time from a tough [outside] post,” he said.

First post Thursday is 1:05 p.m. Eastern, with the Sycamore going at 4:49 p.m. A jockey autograph session to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund is scheduled before the races from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Tom Fritzsche More than 1 year ago
the pre race analysis from Illman and Beers is from last year. Wow!!
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
Was 4 of 5 on the pick 5 at KNL today. I should have used Bail out Bobby and keyed Clemente not 6 10 that leg. I had 4 and 9 last and would of been the only ticket alive to the 4 for a pot and three way split to 9. So close. I still had a monster day and monster last 2 weeks. All my studying is starting to pay off big time. Thanks to a lot of books that I have read by S. Davidowitz, B. free, Trip capping DVD D.Illman and many more! My best bet today was the 6 in the 6th race with F. Torres and also has the tri for buck.
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
BTW Eagle Poise should run a big one in this race and would box with Rahystrada who will most likely be the lone pacesetter with 4 inside. I wish they brought Patrick Husbands in to ride Eagle Poise although Rocco is fine, but Husbands always pressed with him not deep back one run. Be a good race.
John Zegras More than 1 year ago
No one in drf has come out against the new drf . All of you have balls the size of peas
M More than 1 year ago
well said. the new DRF really is a slap in the face to their loyal customers. couldnt agree with you more Johnny Z man
Amy Hurley More than 1 year ago
We may not like the changes, and the DRF writers may not agree with the changes, but come on, do you really expect anyone employed by DRF to publicly criticize their employer? Would you do so if you were unhappy with the direction your employer took? And if you really needed the paycheck? Most of would not.
DeadHeat46 More than 1 year ago
they need to find a way to pay for "experts" like Beyer and all the other egomaniacs with an opinion...I, for one, am NOT buying!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How about an open blog called "what you got", where you express your opinion and add insights to upcoming races. The plus articles are no big plus and aren't worth what you think they are worth. The bettors are aging and we need to help to each other and not to be outpriced and put to pasture. Shame on you for not supporting your loyal fans.