2024 Man o’ War Exotics Plays

May 9th, 2024

A deep field of turf stayers will contest the $400,000 Man o’ War S. (G2) at Aqueduct on Saturday. The 1 3/8-mile grassy tussle has a strong European influence to it with five runners that were bred overseas, and I expect four of those to make a huge impact in the event. 

Man o’ War Exotics

  • $20 exacta 9 with 6 ($20)
  • $10 exacta 9 with 2,8 ($20)
  • $5 trifecta 6,9 with 6,9 with 2,8 ($20)

Godolphin homebred #9 Nations Pride has been a top-level performer for the past few seasons and is difficult for me to go against on this occasion. One of two in the field for conditioner Charles Appleby, the son of Teofilo left quite the impression in his lone prior run at the Big A when decimating his foes by 6 1/4 lengths in the 2022 Jockey Club Derby (G3). 

The five-year-old won a pair of Group/Grade 1 races at four, led by a waltz in the Canadian International (G1) at Woodbine in October, and it’s impressive how he has maintained his form from season to season. While the Irish-bred bay surely has bigger goals in 2024 and might be less than 100 percent for Saturday, he is pure class and will be the one under Frankie Dettori. Nations Pride has tactical speed and I expect him to track a strong early tempo from the second flight on the backside. 

Juddmonte homebred #6 Greek Order is appealing to me while making his second run on U. S. sod for trainer Bill Mott. The Kingman four-year-old was a promising prospect in Europe in 2023 and seems poised for a good campaign with expected improvement as the year progresses. The bay colt was never a factor in a one-mile allowance race at Keeneland off the bench, but that run was simply a prep for Saturday and the move to 1 3/8 miles. Jose Lezcano inherits the mount. 

Appleby’s #8 Silver Knott led throughout in posting a 1 1/2-length victory in the Elkhorn S. (G2) at Keeneland most recently at 12 furlongs. The Lope de Vega gelding had things his own way in the win when establishing slow early splits, and he will encounter a much different pace scenario in this endeavor. I still consider him to be an exotics player, nonetheless, with Flavien Prat retaining the mount. 

#2 Kertez rallied to take the Pan American S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park in his stateside debut for Christophe Clement. This Intello six-year-old displayed a fine turn of foot and will receive a healthy pace to rally into, so the bay can surely make his presence felt in the stretch with Joel Rosario in the stirrups. I’m not on his bandwagon to win the race, but a placing is well within his reach.