Cherry Wine Back to Origins in Secretariat Stakes
Cherry Wine Back to Origins in Secretariat Stakes by Sigi Mendoza: Preakness Stakes (GI) runner-up Cherry Wine is returning to turf in the 1 ¼-mile Secretariat Stakes (GI) at Arlington Park on Saturday, Aug. 13, in an attempt to relaunch his career after two disappointing efforts on dirt.
After two dirt flops last year, Cherry Wine was moved to the turf and his juvenile season was designed mainly on that surface. He certainly improved a lot in turf racing, hitting the board and looking ready to break his maiden.
His course altered after Nov. 28, as Cherry Wine was entered in a maiden special weight over 1 1/16 miles on the turf at Churchill Downs, but the race was moved to dirt due to the rain. On a sloppy track, Cherry Wine romped over the field by 9 ¼ lengths. Undoubtedly, the weather changed all plans drawn.
Trained by Dale Romans, Cherry Wine, a gray 3-year-old colt by Paddy O’Prado out of C.S. Royce by Unbridled’s Song, was now pointing to qualify for the Kentucky Derby (GI). In a good start, the horse won easily an allowance race at Gulfstream Park, a nice prep to aim for the Derby Trail.
Although he ran well in the Rebel (GII) and Blue Grass Stakes (GI), Cherry Wine did not earn enough points to run in the Kentucky Derby, however, he had an outstanding performance in the Preakness Stakes (GI) finishing second to Exaggerator. The race was run over a sloppy track though.
Again, Cherry Wine performed very well in the slop, leaving some doubts of his dirt ability. Probably, the poor results in the Belmont Stakes (GI) and Indiana Derby (GII) helped Cherry Wine’s connections decide to return the horse to turf.
Indeed, Cherry Wine has the pedigree to excel in turf racing. His sire Paddy O’Prado was a versatile horse with a nice third place in the 2010 Kentucky Derby (over a sloppy track) and a respectable fifth place in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI), but was mainly a multiple stakes winner on turf.
Also, Cherry Wine’s dam C.S Royce was a winner of two turf races, so in theory, he would have all the skills to excel in the grass.
Although Cherry Wine recorded fast workouts and looks sharp for this race, he will face a field of proven turfers such as Long Island Sound, Beach Patrol and American Patriot, among others.
Trained by Aidan O’Brien, Long Island Sound, a colt by War Front, made his U.S debut finishing a disappointing sixth in the Belmont Derby (GI) at Belmont Park, and now is aiming for a bounce back.
American Patriot, another War Front colt and trained by Todd Pletcher, peaked in the Kent Stakes (GIII) and recorded the highest speed figure of his career, so we don’t know yet his limits.
Also coming from a good race in the Belmont Derby, Beach Patrol demonstrated the 1 ¼-mile distance is no issue, and with a better trip would be tough to beat. The Chad Brown trainee is switching to a different rider in Florent Geroux.
Even though Cherry Wine is facing good runners, this race could be a springboard to a great turf career. In fact, this race would clarify some things about his future in racing.
Secretariat Stakes 2016 Post Positions & Odds
Race 7 3:43 p.m.
1 Cherry Wine 12-1 Smith/Romans
2 American Patriot 5-1 Buick/Pletcher
3 Scissors and Tape 30-1 Bridgmohan/Maker
4 One Mean Man 12-1 Albarado/Flint
5 Cordon 30-1 Marquez, Jr./Vashchenko
6 Oscar Nominated 12-1 Lanerie/Maker
7 Surgical Strike 9-2 Prat/Colebrook
8 Long Island Sound 5-2 Heffernan/O’Brien
9 Beach Patrol 2-1 Geroux/Brown