Coltandmississippi Might Have an Edge in Jerome Stakes

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

January 10th, 2018

In handicapping the $150,000 Jerome Stakes (gr. III) this Saturday at Aqueduct, the key to identifying the winner might not be finding the best horse, but the fittest horse.

The one-mile Kentucky Derby prep race was originally scheduled to be run on January 1st, but was postponed due to cold weather and rescheduled for January 13th. This by itself could be enough to throw off the schedules of the horses that were entered to run on January 1st, and when you add in the fact that training was cancelled for several days at Aqueduct and Belmont, it’s not hard to think that some of the Jerome runners might be short of peak fitness.

For example, #2 Seven Trumpets completed his initial training for the Jerome by breezing five furlongs in 1:03 2/5 on December 24th at Gulfstream Park. That was perfect timing to run on January 1st, but the postponement of the race has changed his schedule, and Seven Trumpets hasn’t posted a timed workout since then. #6 Old Time Revival likewise hasn’t breezed since December 24th, and the expected favorite #7 Firenze Fire—winner of the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) last October—has only had three easy workouts since finishing seventh in the November 4th Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and is expected to be somewhat short of his best.

With all of this in mind, I’m going to side with #1 Coltandmississippi, who ships in from Florida for trainer Todd Pletcher. The son of Pioneerof the Nile won his debut at Saratoga during the summer, and while his two efforts in stakes company have been disappointing, he did decisively win a seven-furlong allowance race at Gulfstream Park West two starts back, and last time out he wasn’t disgraced when finishing fifth in Gulfstream’s one-mile Smooth Air Stakes over a sloppy, sealed track.

In terms of speed figures, Coltandmississippi needs to step up a bit, but the fact that he’s had an uninterrupted training schedule at Palm Beach Downs is a major plus in his favor. He’ll also be wearing blinkers for the first time, which could help him focus and potentially show more speed while breaking from the rail.

Assuming that Coltandmississippi starts at a decent price (4-1 or higher), a simple win bet could be a good approach. But since I think there’s a chance he’ll go shorter, let’s make him our key horse in the exacta and trifecta and aim for a bigger score:

$4 exacta: 1 with 6,7 ($8) $4 exacta: 6,7 with 1 ($8) $2 trifecta: 1 with 6,7 with 2,6,7 ($8) $2 trifecta: 6,7 with 1 with 2,6,7 ($8)

Good luck!