Elusive Quality Stakes Preview

Horse Racing Radar
Rich Bieglmeier
Rich Bieglmeier is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Saturday, April 24, 2021

Are you starting to feel it? Energy is building towards the Triple Crown. It's opening weekend at Churchill Downs, Pimlico Racetrack and Belmont Park. One week, just one week Rodney (old Miller Lite commercial reference) until the Kentucky Derby.

It's Derby week! Goosebumps with each keystroke.

Fans will be in the stands, not to full capacity, but horseplayers, jockeys and horses will hear the roar of the crowd. That's going to feel so good, winning tickets or not.

Before we get to the greatest two minutes in sports, the run for the roses, players can sharpen their teeth this weekend with Horse Racing Radar's Free Handicapping Contests for Belmont Park. Make your way to the top of the leaderboard and you'll fatten your Kentucky Derby bankroll by $100 on Saturday and $50 on Sunday.

And we'll see if we can add a layer to bankroll with our analysis for the $100,000 Elusive Quality Stakes in race eight. A group of eight will run 7 furlongs on Belmont's widener turf. There were 10 races at the distance and surface during Belmont's fall meet. It's not a lot of data to work with, but there were some potential running styles and post position edges in the limited numbers.

Only three of the 10 to reach the winners' circle were considered early with speed, two of three went wire to wire. Six of the 10 came from off the pace with a stalker closing out the final spot. Post positions were just as clear with win rates dropping from the inside out with the rail hitting at 20%.

Here are our top four contenders for the Elusive Quality Stakes title.

FRONT RUN THE FED (PP: 6 ML 2-1) has been away from the track since the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint on November 7, 2020. Going back to work at Belmont should make the five-year-old comfortable as he has two wins (both at 7 furlongs in two outings) and a second in three in Belmont grass goes. This spot is a step down in class and trainer Chad Brown knows when and where to place his horses after long breaks, hitting at 29%.

VALUE PROPOSITION (PP:1 ML 4-1) get the rail draw and is another dropping in class, tried his luck in the Grade I Woodbine Mile last September. It didn't go so well, finishing last of eight. Prior to the disappointing Canadian run, he won his previous two races when coming off the bench, like today. Interestingly, trainer Brown puts top jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. here instead of on FRONT RUN THE FED.

THERAPIST (PP: 4 ML 7/2) has always been a favorite of ours. It's no wonder as he's made backers look smart, hitting the board in 16 of 22 efforts. He's made them look even better at the distance, taking home the big check in three of four. The six-year-old son of FREUD hasn't races since late November but has finished in the money in his last four first starts off the break.

CASA CREED (PP: 3 ML 3-1) makes it three class droppers in our top-four. As a matter of fact, he's rin in eight grades stakes races in his last 10 efforts. An $80,000 Optional Claimer and $100,000 non-graded stakes make up the other pair, both thirds. His numbers say he's a top contender; however, he struggles to find the wire before the rest, probably a secondary player that can fill in exotics.

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