Grade 1 United Nations
1 3/8 miles (Turf)
Post time: 5:23 EDT
There appears to be an abundance of speed in this race with 2-Get Serious, 3-Acclimation, and 4-Straight Story all horses that want to get out an set quick fractions in the early going. Get Serious has been doing most of his work in races at about a mile in distance and I would expect that he'll be the early pace setter in this 1 3/8 mile race. 7-Take the Points should be up pressing the pace early.
If the pace is fast, which I'm anticipating that it will be, I'm going to look at three runners that should be coming from off the pace to pick up the top spot.
5-Winchester: I have a special place in my heart for this horse since he denied me the Pick 4 on Arlington Million day in 2008. That was the year Spirit One (FR), my single, took the Million field wire-to-wire at fat odds. Much to my dismay, fortune and glory would not come my way when Winchester blew away the field in the Secretariat. I hold grudges.
The thing that bothered me the most about Winchester is that it took him almost two years to win another race. If you're going to deny me a big Pick 4 score, can you at least go on to be a dominating horse in subsequent races? That would at least make me feel a bit better.
Winchester seems to finally have turned things around after winning an N2X at Keeneland in April followed by a score in the Grade 1 Manhattan on the Belmont undercard. You might remember the Manhattan...well, actually, you probably won't remember the Manhattan because that was the race that ABC decided not to show on Belmont day.
Despite my obvious grudge against this horse this race sets up incredibly well for Winchester. And given that he has finally rounded into good form, he's got to be considered a major player in this race.
6-Jeune-Turc (BRZ): A 6-year old Brazilian-bred horse that is 4-for-22 lifetime will make his North American debut in a tough, tough spot. It's almost impossible to know how this horse is going to run in this race since we have no running line or race charts to evaluate his previous performances. About the only thing out in internet land that I have to go on is a video from YouTube (link) of his win in the Grande Premio Brasil last April. Jeune-Turc made a big move along the rail at the top of the stretch and lengthened his lead to finish a comfortable 4+ lengths ahead of the second place horse.
I'm not a huge believer in weight unless we are talking about significant advantages, and Jeune-Turc will be carrying 12 to 15 less than he has carried in his last ten starts in Brazil. I don't know if that's enough to make a huge difference in this spot, but it should help.
8-Chinchon (IRE): a solid Group 3 runner in France that won the G3 Prix Exbury and the G3 La Coupe de Maisons-Laffitte in late 2009/early 2010. His last two starts have been so-so; the G1 Prix Ganay at Longchamp was probably a bit too much for his talent and his 4th in the G2 Grand Prix de Chantilly was a troubled filled trip. He tried North American Grade 1 company last year in the Man o'War at Belmont Park where he finished a disappointing 4th by three lengths to Gio Ponti. He ran a decent race that day and a similar effort in this race would put him in the mix when they roll into the lane. The quicker pace should soften up the front-runners a little more in this spot.
I believe I went with Chinchon in the Man o'War last year and I have been leaning toward him again today in this race. In the end, however, I think Winchester makes a whole lot of sense given the pace and make-up of this field. I'll likely play him on top and in a exacta with Chinchon and Jeune-Turc.