Da Big Hoss among trio that can rebound in Saturday stakes
Sapphire Kitten - $100,000 Sweetest Chant (G3) (GP Race 10, 7-2) - Although I pondered selecting Module again after she came very close for me last time at 13-1, I think this filly is going to bounce back in a big way after a disappointing try in the $75,000 Wait a While in late November. Favored at 11-10 after missing by a neck in the Jessamine (G3) and finishing a solid fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) despite some trouble, she found herself farther back in the Wait a While field than expected from post 13. She was left with too much to do and settled for third behind Lira, who came back to win the $100,000 Ginger Brew over the aforementioned Module and others. With Julien Leparoux taking back the reins on this Joe Sharp trainee, I expect a more opportune ride this time around.
Ivan Fallunovalot - $100,000 King Cotton (OP Race 9, 2-1) - Aside from the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1), where he broke tardily and was always playing catch-up against a much stronger field, this veteran enjoyed a stellar campaign last season. Granted, he might be worth opposing after being run down by the likes of Alsvid and Gentlemen's Bet here last season, but a sizzling four-furlong drill in :45 4/5 between races last Saturday suggests he's sitting on a big performance. He figures to press or sit right behind Lewys Vaporizer, and when called upon his back class and experience should get beyond that younger rival.
Da Big Hoss - $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Cup (G3) (Hou Race 8, 4-1) - Claimed last summer for $50,000 by trainer Mike Maker, this horse proceeded to win three straight including the Kentucky Turf Cup (G3). Ambitiously spotted in the Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) next out, he didn't fare that badly making up more than 25 lengths in a sixth-place effort behind some of the best grass horses in the world (Big John B, another legitimate threat here, hardly picked up his feet on that softish ground). A premature bid in the W.L. McKnight H. (G3) didn't work out so well last time, but he picks up Florent Geroux for this. That rider has won aboard three of the six Maker trainees he's guided since the beginning of 2015.
(Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos)