Race 9 at Keeneland on Saturday, October 26 | Post Time 5:30 PM Eastern Time

Hagyard Fayette Stakes | Purse $200,000 | One and One Eighth Miles on Dirt | Three Years Old and Upward

 

Mocito Rojo (5) is a win machine, having proven victorious in 16 of 20 career races on dirt, including a perfect two-for-two record at this nine furlong trip. His most recent win came at this distance in the identical Lukas Classic Stakes last month at Churchill Downs, which was his fifth straight victory. He didn’t get a lot of respect in that race, going to post at 8 to 1, but proved tough as nails battling head-and-head the length of the stretch to get the win by a neck at the wire over an ultra-game Silver Dust. Having been away from the races from June until his comeback win in August in the Governor’s Cup Stakes at Remington Park, Mocito Rojo can improve again and considering his Lukas Classic effort earned a field high tying 115 Equibase Figure (up from 110 in the Governor’s Cup) I’m very high on this horse winning again. He gets a jockey change from Melancon to Rodriguez but that’s not a problem as Rodriguez rode Mocito Rojo to three of five wins this year and to all six of his wins in 2018. Another reason Mocito Rojo is very capable of winning is he sat in fourth and third in the early stages of his last two starts and that’s the place to be in this race as it’s likely the stretching out Mr Freeze will be in front from the start and likely setting fast fractions.

Although Mocito Rojo appears to have a high probability of success, there’s another scenario where Mr Freeze (2) gets into a steady stride on the lead using his high cruising speed and becomes very difficult to catch. That’s exactly what occurred in the West Virginia Derby last August, which Mr Freeze won by eight lengths. After taking seven months off from January to August in an irrelevant turf try, Mr Freeze finished second at a mile then ran the best race of his career in the Ack Ack Stakes at Churchill Downs on the same day Mocito Rojo won the Lukas Classic. In the Ack Ack, Mr Freeze earned the same 115 Equibase Figure as Mocito Rojo and as he’s making his third start off a layoff has equal probability to improve as Mocito Rojo. Therefore it is very possible these two could come together at the wire in a very exciting finish.

Tom’s d’Etat (3) rounds out a trio I think comprise the bulk of the probability to win. Like Mocito Rojo and Mr Freeze, Tom’s d’Etat is proven at this distance, having won three of six. The best of those occurred just one before last in the Alydar Stakes at Saratoga, a race I which he earned a slightly better Equibase Figure (118) than the other two. Raised significantly in class in the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes at the end of August, Tom’s d’Etat wasn’t really disgraced when fourth of eight. On the other hand, after rallying from sixth to get to second, only a half-length off the lead at the eighth pole, he weakened to fourth. One of the keys to rebounding to top form is the jockey change to Rosario, not up for the Woodward but in the saddle for the Alydar as well as a nine length win the only other time he rode.

Additional horses to use on exacta and trifecta tickets, in the second and third positions, are Bal Harbour (8) and Big Dollar Bill (10), having a combined record of nine wins and nine runner-up finishes so not really the “Win” types the three main contenders appear to be.

 

Betting Strategies:

Win Bets:

Mocito Rojo (5) and Mr Freeze (2) to win at odds of 2/1

Exactas:

Box Mocito Rojo (5), Mr Freeze (2) and Tom’s d’Etat (3).

Mocito Rojo (5), Mr Freeze (2) and Tom’s d’Etat (3) over Mocito Rojo (5), Mr Freeze (2), Tom’s d’Etat (3), Bal Harbour (8) and Big Dollar Bill (10).

Trifecta:

Mocito Rojo (5), Mr Freeze (2) and Tom’s d’Etat (3) over Mocito Rojo (5), Mr Freeze (2), Tom’s d’Etat (3), Bal Harbour (8) and Big Dollar Bill (10) over Mocito Rojo (5), Mr Freeze (2), Tom’s d’Etat (3), Bal Harbour (8) and Big Dollar Bill (10).