Apalachee Bay, here winning the John Longden 6000 Stakes at Hastings last year
A whole set of American racetracks have ditched handicap races. Will Rogers Downs embraces them.
Recent cards often have had one or two open handicaps – a real relic of the American condition book – and the featured ninth race Monday is just such a contest. The race is carded at one mile, open to all comers, the field leveled in the competition by weights assigned at the draw. The weight spread here is real enough, too, with the top horses toting 124 pounds, those at the bottom 114.
The top weights are Hunka Burning Love and Stephen’s Answer, while the top pick from this handicapper is Apalachee Bay.
Apalachee Bay ships to Will Rogers from Sunland Park, where he has been posting encouraging-looking works for trainer Greg Tracy. Apalachee Bay is a 5-year-old Malibu Moon horse owned by Peter Redekop who was a solid California allowance horse before becoming a mainstay of the Canadian dirt-route stakes circuit during 2019.
palachee Bay never has started for Tracy, who has done remarkably well with horses returning from extended layoffs, winning 40 races with 127 starters coming back from a break of at least 120 days over the last five years for a $3.27 return on investment. That entire sample, however, is based on sprint races and DRF Formulator shows no route starts following a layoff of 120 days or longer.