The $200,000 Iroquois Stakes (G3) will be run at 1 1/16 miles on the dirt at Churchill Downs this Saturday. The Iroquois is the first leg of the Road to the Kentucky Derby (G1) to be run next May 2, 2020, and will award 10 points to the winner, four points to the second-place finisher, two points to the third-place finisher and one point to the fourth-place finisher.
ZYRAMID (#1) (10-1) broke his maiden second time out going 5 1/2 furlongs in fast time at Saratoga as the 7-5 favorite. She came back there and ran poorly in a grade two stakes race when he wound up racing wide behind a monster winner. Since then, Steve Asmussen has been able to breeze him four times for his two-turn debut and the son of City Zip draws the rail with Ricardo Santana Jr.
LETMENO (#2) (10-1) rallied from way back to win going away in his career debut going six furlongs at Ellis Park at odds of 20-1. He then stepped up to a $100,000 stakes race going seven furlongs here and was a good second after being shuffled back on the far turn. Ian Wilkes does not win with many debut runners so this son of Twirling Candy has natural talent and should be still improving.
SCABBARD (#3) (5-1) broke his maiden by five lengths first time out here going six furlongs then shipped to Saratoga where he was a terrific second behind Green Light Go in very fast time. Eddie Kenneally wins 18% first time going long and the son of More Than Ready has more than enough pedigree being out of a stakes-placed dam by Gone West.
ROWDY YATES (#4) (7-2) went gate-to-wire to break his maiden first time out as the second choice in the wagering going 5 1/2 furlongs over this main track. He just missed in a Grade 3 here going six furlongs when he battled for the lead every step of the way then was a sharp winner of a $100,000 stakes at Ellis Park going seven furlongs in fast time.
AUTOMATE (#5) (30-1) did nothing in his career debut in a turf sprint at Ellis Park then made his dirt debut going two turns and he won going away at almost 21-1. He came back in a $500,000 stakes on the turf at Kentucky Downs and was outrun after slow start but if he can improve his gate behavior, the son of New Year’s Day has already shown he can get two turns on dirt.
FLUTE MAKER (#6) (8-1) lost all chance in his career debut when he broke poorly in a five-furlong dirt sprint at Ellis Park. He shipped to Saratoga for a turf maiden but it was rained off. Luckily, he loved the sloppy conditions and he won by 11 lengths going seven furlongs. Ken McPeek wins 22% first time going long and his last 94 of them show a major flat-bet profit. Jose Ortiz is back aboard and is five for 11 riding for McPeek.
JUGGERNAUT (#7) (10-1) gunned to the front from post 10 and never looked back when he drew off to win by six lengths at 26-1. The final time was average but I like the fact that Keith Desormeaux has tightened the screws in the morning, culminating in a :59 and change five-furlong breeze. Son of Goldencents gets James Graham back aboard.
DENNIS’ MOMENT (#8) (9-5) lost all chance in his career debut when he unseated his rider when a horse on his outside came over on him and clipped heels. Dale Romans brought him right back about five weeks later at Ellis Park and he ran a hole in the wind from post 10, breaking his maiden by 19 lengths going seven furlongs in blazing-fast time. Since then, he has had three straight five-furlong, bullet workouts in the morning and has all the looks of a “Freak.” By Tiznow out of a dam by Elusive Quality, two turns should not be a problem.
LEBDA (#9) (10-1) was a good second at Aqueduct in April in his career debut at 21-1 behind Maven who went on to win a Group 3 in France. He bounced back at Laurel and won in fast time. Off for about 11 weeks, he came back at Delaware Park and beat four other allowance foes by 11 lengths in fast time going 5 1/2 furlongs as the heavy favorite. Not convinced he will be able to handle the distance from a wide draw.
JANUARY WON (#10) (15-1) rallied from off the pace to win going away in his career debut at Saratoga going 5 1/2 furlongs. He stretches out to two turns with first-time Lasix but he will have to improve in leaps and bounds to handle two turns from post 10.
Dennis’ Moment (#8)
Rowdy Yates (#4)
8 with 3
8 with 2, 4
PHOTO: Rowdy Yates (c) Coady Photos/Churchill Downs