Tipsheet: 2022 Iroquois Stakes
A strong field of nine two-year-olds will run 1 1/16 miles over the famed main oval at Churchill Downs in Saturday’s $300,000 Iroquois S. (G3).
Iroquois Stakes Picks
- #9 Echo Again
- #6 Jace’s Road
- #3 Damon’s Mound
- #5 Curly Jack
Iroquois Stakes Contenders
#1 HAYES STRIKE showed vast improvement in his second career outing with a big victory at Ellis Park for conditioner Kenny McPeek. The dark bay colt is from a fine family of performers and is training well in advance of his stakes debut, as well. The April foal will save ground throughout with Brian Hernandez Jr. retaining the mount.
#2 ZAICI looks like an outsider in the field following a distant fifth-place finish in his stakes bow at Ellis Park last time out. The Laoban bay did break his maiden beneath the Twin Spires two back, but he will need a major leap forward to factor in this contest.
#3 DAMON’S MOUND graduated by 12 lengths on the Churchill strip on debut and followed that up with a stylish, 3 1/3-length victory in the Saratoga Special S. (G2) in his latest performance. The bay son of Girvin possesses a big turn of foot, and he likes the surface, so even slight improvement will find the Florida-bred in the hunt late while making his initial two-turn run. The Michelle Lovell trainee will track the pace from the start under regular pilot Gabe Saez.
#4 JIN TONG was never a factor in the Best Pal S. (G2) at Del Mar most recently and would be a big surprise in this spot. The Doug O’Neill pupil was a game winner while running five-eighths at Los Alamitos at first go, but this spot appears to be a bit over his head, in my opinion. The Goldencents colt will have Rafael Bejarano in the silks.
#5 CURLY JACK has flashed considerable potential from a trio of career outings to date and rates a top-three chance on Saturday. Trained by Tom Amoss, the $180,000 son of Good Magic had a fine stakes try at Ellis Park when a clear second, and the April foal could be any kind on the stretch out in distance on this occasion, too. Edgar Morales will be in the stirrups.
#6 JACE’S ROAD drove home a sharp winner in his first appearance at Ellis Park and figures to be a menacing figure with expected improvement against this cast. By Quality Road, the Brad Cox trainee showed early interest before taking over late in his six-furlong unveiling, and he has shown an affinity for the Churchill Downs oval with four strong morning moves as of late, as well. The bay colt picks up money rider Florent Geroux.
#7 HONED was a game winner in an off-the-turf debut effort at Ellis Park for Kenny McPeek. The $50,000 son of Sharp Azteca has posted six solid morning breezes at this venue in the interim, and he will likely move forward for a conditioner who is better with horses having some experience. Julien Leparoux will guide the April foal.
#8 CONFIDENCE GAME surged home to a five-length maiden special weight tally on the surface in his second lifetime try for trainer Keith Desormeaux. The son of Candy Ride will have to get faster to challenge the top players in the group, but he could be very interesting while making his two-turn debut on Saturday. James Graham will be in the irons atop the dark bay.
#9 ECHO AGAIN went off at 3-5 odds at first asking in a dash at Saratoga and won like a really good prospect for conditioner Steve Asmussen. The top selection flaunted both big early speed and a fine turn of foot on debut, and the Winchell homebred is also cut out to be a two-turn performer, as well. The morning-line choice will force the action from the outside while always clear throughout under the guidance of Joel Rosario.