03/08/2007 12:00AM

Razorback Breeders' Cup Handicap preview


Friday, March 9, 2007
Race 9 - Oaklawn
1 1/16 Miles
Razorback Breeders' Cup Handicap (Grade 3)
4-year-olds and upward
Purse $150,000.

STUDENT COUNCIL made a wide sweeping move to the front to win a 100K stakes race at Sam Houston last time out, and should get a favorable pace scenario in the Razorback. He paired up Beyer tops in his two starts this season, and it's quite possible that the 5-year-old is finally reaching peak maturity for Neil Howard. He may well be the "now" horse for this race, and should offer a hint of wagering value.
JONESBORO stole the Grade 3 Essex Handicap over this track and distance last time out while coasting on the lead, but the presence of MAGNA GRADUATE may force Jonesboro to go a bit faster in the early stages on Friday. He changed back to his wrong lead in the closing strides of the Essex, and may be susceptible to a regression off that career-best, triple-digit Beyer. STEPPENWOLFER is stuck way outside, but the late-runner may be able to drop in and save ground while at the back of the pack. He flopped at 4-5 odds in his 2007 debut, but he was probably not 100% cranked up for that effort, and should improve here with that conditioning experience under his belt. Last year's third-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby did good work at Oaklawn in 2006, and should be running hard late. MAGNA GRADUATE will likely be the betting choice for the Pletcher juggernaut, and he should appreciate the drop in class after chasing Invasor in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap. His 'A' race would probably be too much for these, but he removes the blinkers, and hasn't been the most consistent runner in the world since returning from Dubai. He may be a favorite worth trying to beat.

1. Student Council
2. Jonesboro
3. Steppenwolfer