The Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash will snap open its gates this coming weekend from Laurel Park. A field of nine will be piloted from the outside with Stallwalkin’ Dude and X Y Jet set to go head-to-head from the start.
Stallwakin’ Dude is the mild favorite at 5/2 after a win at the Bold Ruler Stakes, which was his third victory of the season. The six-year-old gelding has been a consistent threat all year going 3-1-1 in seven starts since opening with the a victory at an allowance. His connections remain optimistic heading in to what will likely be his final race of the 2016 campaign.
“Any graded race is huge but when you’ve competed so hard for so many times against all these great horses, to finally win one of those was a little extra special,” co-owner David Jacobson said of Stallwalkin’ Dude. “To be able to campaign for as long as he’s been campaigning at this level is very impressive.”
Jacobson acknowledged that eight races is a lot of competition for any horse, but admitted that Stallwalkin’ Dude was in fine form ahead of the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash. “It’s one race at a time, and right now it looks like he’s right there at the top of his game and we’re going to take advantage of it.”
X Y Jet is perhaps the biggest threat overall as the 9/5 second choice, but is coming off a poor showing at the 2016 Vosburgh which his camp discussed openly. “We did surgery on him and he was out for three months. He came back in training again and it was another three months, but he’s ready,” trainer Jorge Navarro said. “I watched the races at Belmont for the last two months and there was nothing even close going that fast. He came out of the last race really good. He’s ready.”
The dark horse in the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash seems to be Ivan Fullanovalot, who made his season debut at the David M. Vance Stakes in a romping triumph. At 7-2-0 in 10 starts, his only falter was at the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Sprint where he faded to 9th due to ongoing foot injuries.
“Once we got ready to roll again, there’s not that many kinds of races around there where we’re at, so we headed off this way,” stated his trainer. “He comes back good. He knows his job and he tends to business. He doesn’t get worried about much. He’s pretty relaxed and on race day he knows what he’s doing.”
For the most part, the Frank J. De Franis Memorial Dash has the feeling of a three-horse battle depending on how good or bad Ivan Fullanovalot’s foot is. The top options on the board have the most experience with the rest of the field having competed largely in allowances.
Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash – Saturday, November 19th at Laurel Park (6:35pm EST)
6 Furlongs – 3+ Year Olds – $250,000
|1||Sonny Inspired (MD)||Jevian Toledo||118||Phil Schoenthal||20/1|
|2||Ivan Fallunovalot (TX)||Calvin H. Borel||118||W. T. Howard||5/1|
|3||Pomeroy’s Package (FL)||Hector Caballero||118||Mario Serey, Jr.||20/1|
|4||Weekend Hideaway (NY)||Paco Lopez||118||Philip M. Serpe||6/1|
|5||Life in Shambles (KY)||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||118||Steven M. Asmussen||8/1|
|6||Final Prospect (MD)||UNKNOWN||118||Gary Capuano||20/1|
|7||Rockinn On Bye (MD)||Taylor M. Hole||118||Stephen M. Casey||15/1|
|8||X Y Jet (FL)||Emisael Jaramillo||118||Jorge Navarro||9/5|
|9||Stallwalkin’ Dude (FL)||Joe Bravo||118||David Jacobson||5/2|