Race Preview: Sycamore Stakes – Keeneland, October 17, 2013

Matt Carter

October 17th, 2013

The feature race on Thursday at Keeneland is the 19th running of the Grade 3 Sycamore Stakes for three-year-olds and upward going 12 furlongs on the turf course. Some mid-week rain has made the course yielding and Nutello is an early scratch.

With the scratch of Nutello, who was the tepid morning line favorite, Rahystrada now assumes that role. The nine-year-old gelding has won 14 of his 45 career starts with earnings over $1.3-million. He was fourth in the Sycamore last year and is coming off an 11th place finish in the Grade 1 Arlington Million. It was the worst start since October 2011 so expect a return to the form that saw him win the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap in July.

Temeraine is also 4-1 on the morning line coming off a neck victory in the Grade 3 Kentucky Turf Cup. Two starts back he was fifth in the Arlington Million and prior finished second to Rahystrada in the Arlington Handicap. David Flores picks up the mount for trainer Tom Proctor.

The pace of the race is likely to go through Olympic Thunder, who finished second to Temeraine in the Kentucky Turf Cup. The Brazilian-bred ran near the pace at Kentucky Downs with a half in 51 seconds. Jockey Alan Garcia may try those same tactics on Thursday.

The race really does not just come down to those three, but everyone in the field has a chance. Eagle Poise is 12-1 and is a Grade 3 winner, Reflecting goes third off the layoff for Shug McGaughey and has a win over the course, Suntracer will be flying late and was third behind Temeraine and Olympic Thunder last out, and Tricky Hat has won back-to-back races and is also trained by McGaughey. Najjaar is likely to go off as the longest shot on the board, but may be a sneaky play. Jockey James Graham won two races on Wednesday including the feature aboard favorite Tabreed.

This race has “all” written all over it.

First post at Keeneland on Thursday is 1:05 pm ET with the Sycamore off at 4:49.