Papo picks the G3 Discovery Stakes at Aqueduct

aqueductlogoAqueduct Race 8 Discovery Stakes

This will mark the 72nd running of the Discovery, which was first run in 1945 and won by War Jeep. The race was named after the 1935 Horse of The Year, Discovery, who had a remarkable race year winning 11 of 19 races while carrying an average of a 131 pounds. Over the years the race has been won by some of the all-time greats including Kelso (1960), Forego (1973), and Dynaformer (1988). While this edition of the Discovery lacks some of the star power of yesteryear, the field of eleven that will enter the starting gate is highly competitive.

On paper there is not a lot of early pace in this race. Sticksstatelydude (6-1), Adulator (7-2) and Hot Seat (10-1) have all shown the ability to press the pace, but none of them necessarily want to set blistering fractions. How fast the pace is up front will determine if it can set up for closers including Governor Malibu (4-1) and My Man Sam (8-1).

Morning line favoritism falls on Gift Box (3-1) for trainer Chad Brown. The Twirling Candy colt was a no show last time out in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes. Before that he had never finished off-the-board in his five prior starts. He has always been well thought of by Brown and this is a logical spot for him to finally get a graded stakes win. With the lack of early speed in this race, Gift Box should get in a good tactical stalking position. I expect Gift Box to run a solid race but there are other horses in this race that offer more value and who could pull the upset.

Hot Seat (10-1) is an interesting long shot. The lightly raced son of Unbridled’s Song is two-for-two to start his career. He broke his maiden going six furlongs at Parx and then won an allowance race impressively when stretching out to a mile. While I am not sure what he faced in those races, he did win them by a combined 20 lengths. Hot Seat led gate-to-wire in his maiden race. He showed maturity and was able to lay off the speed in his second race, before powering home under wraps. I love his efficient stride. While this is a huge jump up in class, we just don’t know how good he is or can be. For that reason, he is dangerous.

My Man Sam (8-1) is the higher priced Chad Brown horse in this race and I actually prefer him to his stablemate. By Trappe Shot, My Man Sam has finished off-the-board in his last two starts. He does have back class as he did finish second in the Grade I Breeder’s Futurity at Keeneland in April. He is pace dependent and that may work against him in this particular race. However, I love his works coming in and I like seeing Irad Ortiz, Jr. taking the reins once again. At his morning line price, he offers good value and should be flying at the end.

As for the key horse, I landed on Governor Malibu for trainer Christopher Clement. This workmanlike son of Malibu Moon has been a model of consistency throughout his career. He has raced 12 times and picked up a check in 10 of those starts. He, too, likes to race from off-the-pace but has shown he can be in a good position by the second call.

He ran a sneaky good race last time out when finishing second in the Empire Classic at Belmont Park. In that race, he raced towards the back of the pack and then made a bold move around the final turn. That day the track was muddy and he raced on the inside part of the track which may have been the worst place to be. I do not necessarily like seeing Joel Rosario jump to another in this race, but Joe Bravo is more than capable of getting the job done. A graded stakes win has been elusive thus far for Governor Malibu but in this election year, I’ll give my vote to him.

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