Exotics plays for the 2022 New Orleans Classic

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

March 24th, 2022

An excellent field of six will run 1 1/8 miles on the Fair Grounds main surface in Saturday’s $500,000 New Orleans Classic S. (G2). I have been impressed with #2 Olympiad (8-5) dating back to his superb maiden win at Saratoga in 2020, and the son of Speightstown hasn’t done all that much wrong since his fine graduating run at two.

Trained by Bill Mott, the Olympiad has been especially sharp in his last two races, which includes a fine score in the Mineshaft S. (G3) when drawing away late. The lightly-raced four-year-old seems poised to build upon that showing in this spot, and if he wins like I believe he will, then he has to be taken seriously in the older male division throughout the summer and beyond. Junior Alvarado will be in the silks and could lead the cast every step of the way.

Todd Pletcher’s #1 Promise Keeper (3-1) was a closing fourth in the deep Razorback H. (G3) in his first test since June, and the four-year-old is another who is destined for big things in 2022. The son of Constitution, who was an easy winner of the Peter Pan S. (G3) in May, draws well on the rail and comes in with a bullet five-eighths in his latest morning move.

Promise Keeper lost all chances with a tardy start in his seasonal debut most recently, but he will not have as much ground to make up in a field that lacks an abundance of early foot. I envision Tyler Gaffaliione tracking the tempo from second, or possibly third, while always in striking range to the top of the stretch. He rates as the main danger to my selection.

Godolphin homebred #5 Proxy (5-2) ran some big races on the surface as a three-year-old and looked good in taking his seasonal debut on the strip last time out. The Michael Stidham trainee is bred to be great, and if the son of Tapit improves off his solid 2021 campaign, he could evolve into a major player for the duration of this campaign. Brian Hernandez will have the four-year-old tracking from the second flight early on.

New Orleans Classic exotics

  • $20 exacta 2 with 1 ($20)
  • $10 trifecta key 2 with 1, 5 ($20)
  • $1 superfecta 1, 2 with 1, 2, 5 with 1, 2, 5 with all ($12)