09/06/2006 11:00PM

Turfway Park Fall Championship preview


Turfway Park - Race 9
Turfway Park Fall Championship Stakes
1 Mile(Polytrack)
3-year-olds and upward
Purse $100,000

Going Wild hasn't won since defeating eventual Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo in the 2005 Sham Stakes, but he ran a solid third over Polytrack in last year's Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Sprint, and may shake loose early against this group. He earned a 99 Beyer Speed Figure two starts back, and had no chance against the impressive Discreet Cat last time out at Saratoga. Going Wild won't have a problem with the mile distance of this race, and he has enough back class to make his presence felt on the front end. Because of his high-profile 14-race losing streak, he may offer a bit of value as well.

Trainer Claude Brownfield has had high hopes for Cognac Kisses ever since he finished third against winners in his career debut over Polytrack. It took him a while to break his maiden, but he graduated in style, winning by over fifteen lengths at River Downs. He gets a huge class test on Saturday, but may be closest to Going Wild in the early stages, and his price will be gigantic.

Esprit Du Roi upset the Dust Commander over Polytrack earlier in the year, and he enters this race off a hard-charging runner-up finish in the Governors Handicap at Ellis Park. This underrated, hard-hitting veteran should be perched just off the pace, and he is in excellent form.

It's No Joke seems to be rounding back to his best, and he is a perfect 2-2 at this distance. On his best day, he can throw out a triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure, and he's won two of his last three starts against some decent runners. He's another with tactical speed that shouldn't be too far away when the field reaches the homestretch.

Alumni Hall, Gouldings Green, and Honor in War may take lots of betting support based on their reputations, but all have question marks. Alumni Hall hasn't raced since being beaten over nineteen lengths in the Grade 2 Cornhusker Breeders' Cup on July 1. Gouldings Green draws a tough outside post position, and has never raced over Polytrack. Honor in War is more accomplished on turf.

1. Going Wild
2. Cognac Kisses
3. Esprit du Roi