Twirling Point the pick in Murphy Stakes

May 17th, 2024

A dozen sophomores have been entered to contest the $100,000 James W. Murphy S. at Pimlico on Saturday. The one-mile turf test attracted a solid group and I expect #4 Twirling Point (4-1) to pick up his first stakes victory in the event. 

Murphy Wagers

  • $20 exacta 4 with 6,7 ($40)
  • $5 exacta 6,7 with 4 ($10)

Trained by Jonathan Thomas, the Augustin Stables’ homebred scratched out of the American Turf (G2) at Churchill Downs on Derby Day, but he was flattered when Trikari captured the race as Twirling Point finished a close third to that one in the Rushaway S. at Turfway Park in his latest assignment. A closing third in the Eddie Logan S. to conclude his solid two-year-old season, the gelding kicked off 2024 with a front-running allowance tally at Santa Anita over American Turf runner-up Formidable Man.

The top pick proved last time to be capable of rallying from far back with effectiveness, and I expect him to sit in a pocket just behind the pace on Saturday before inching clear in the stretch. Turf genius Frankie Dettori retains the mount. 

I have a strong feeling about the selection and will only use a pair of runners underneath him in the race. #6 Naptown (8-1) was a clear third in his seasonal debut when going six panels on the All-Weather at Woodbine in the Woodstock S. and that outing should set this one up well for his grassy bow. The Munnings colt is bred to like the lawn and he obviously has ability and some versatility in his running style, too. Tyler Gaffalione picks up the mount atop the Graham Motion trainee. 

#7 Crystal Quest (6-1) is 3-for-3 since adding blinkers for Michael Trombetta led by a tally in the Sophomore Turf S. at Tampa Bay Downs in his most recent offering. The Live Oak homebred has rallied into moderate early fractions in each of his tallies, and while he has little early foot, the Uncle Mo colt will have a healthy tempo to rally into against this group. If the bay can keep touch on the backside, then he will be a menacing figure late with Javier Castellano in the stirrups for the second straight time.