The Lane’s End – Grade II, $500,000 – Turfway Park – 1 1/8 Miles, by Brian Nadeau
The Derby Trail heads to Turfway Park this weekend for the Lane’s End Stakes. With a $500,000 purse on the line, this race offers the winner an essentially guaranteed a spot in the Derby starting gate. Bittel Road and West Side Bernie hook up on the synthetic and a good performance could springboard them onto the Derby. Let’s take a closer look.
Hold Me Back: Somewhat interesting that Mott picks this spot for a 3-year-old debut, so right there that says to pay attention. Finished well behind Old Fashioned in the Remsen to close out his 2-year-old campaign, but is 2-for-2 over the plastic. Recent works suggest he could be sitting on edge, so there’s reason for optimism here, though a win might be asking for too much.
Bittel Road: No surprise that this turf specialist has run well on synthetics, and he enters off a close fourth to some toughies out west. He meets no one like Pioneerof The Nile, Papa Clem, or I Want Revenge, draws a nice post, and looks like the one to beat.
A. P. Cardinal: Got beaten up pretty good at Tampa but McLaughlin regroups and tries again. There doesn’t appear to be a lot of speed in here, so maybe he could be up close and involved early and hang on for a share.
West Side Bernie: The logical alternative to Bittel Road owns a win over the track in the Grade III Kentucky Cup Juvenile here last fall. Had no chance in his sophomore debut yet ran well to finish third on a speed-biased track while breaking wide. He doesn’t have to win this to advance to the Derby, so he might not be fully cranked, then again it might not matter. Choice for the win.
Jack Spratt: Toss the Fountain of Youth run and his form comes into focus, and you have a nice turf runner with a big turn of foot. Gulfstream Park stakes winner on the grass ran second here as a maiden and could be rolling late. Threat in the lane.
Parade Clown: The good-race, bad-race pattern says he’s sitting on a big run today and he’s shown on more than one occasion he’s plenty fast enough to score in here. A perfect 4-for-4 in the exacta over the course and some solid tactical speed should have him in the garden spot turning for home. From there it’s anyone’s guess, but he appears to have the talent to win this.
Bruce N Autumn: Another with the good/bad thing going, but he rates a bit behind Parade Clown. Has yet to build off his maiden win last fall at Churchill and he would be a surprise in here.
Orthodox: Potential lone speed impressed in his 3-year-old debut, winning an entry-level allowance on the turf at Fair Grounds, which marked his first start in almost four months. He’s probably not good enough to win this, but if he gets brave early and they forget about him, stranger things have happened.
Loch Dubh: He’s certainly proved to be a nice claim, but the waters do get quite a bit deeper here. If there was more speed you could make a case, but his powerful closing rally probably falls too short today.
Flying Private: Lukas has bobbed and weaved all spring with this colt and now he tries going long on the synthetic. His last race was a solid improvement and he could be in a nice spot turning for home, but not quite sure if two turns going long is his cup of tea. Lukas fans get their guy at a price.
Dynamite Bob: Local runner seems outclassed and far too slow to threaten for even a minor award, so it’s best to play against in this spot.
Proceed Bee: Winner of the local prep, the Battaglia, but he lucked out that day when Parade Clown didn’t fire. He’s going to have to improve several lengths today and anything other than a minor award would be a shock.