It’s been a long, hard road for McCraken. The three-year-old came up short in the 2017 Kentucky Derby despite being one of the early favorites, and has been an erratic play all season. He will try to rally for the 2017 Fayette Stakes against a notable field as he rounds out his roller coaster of a season.
McCraken was seldom run on the Road to the 2017 Kentucky Derby, winning the 2016 Kentucky Jockey Club Gold and the 2017 Sam F. Davis before losing the Blue Grass Stakes to Wrap. He would finish 8th in the first leg of the Triple Crown and skip the remainder of the American Classics.
The summer, however, seemed to rejuvenate the three-year-old colt. He won the Matt Winn and came second in the Haskell to Girvin before dropping all the way to 7th in the Travers Stakes. Once again, promising victory and performances were followed by grave disappointment. That’s why the 2017 Fayette Stakes will be pivotal to what his connections have planned for him next year.
McCraken is a 4/1 co-third choice this weekend at Keeneland. He shares the same odds as The Player, who recently finished 2nd to Awesome Slew in the 2017 Ack Ack Handicap.
Neolithic comes in as a third choice with 2/1 odds, barely behind the unexpected favorite. The four-year-old colt is 1-0-3 this year having placed third in the Pegasus World Cup, Dubai World Cup and Woodward. He is receiving 2/1 odds and will run out of the second gate. He will absolutely have his hands full dealing with McCraken and The Player.
The oddsmakers have placed Honorable Duty at the head of the 2017 Fayette Stakes class. This five-year-old gelding has gone 3-2-0 over five starts, most recently winning the Luke Classic Stakes after finishing behind Gun Runner in the Stephen Foster Handicap. It’s difficult to ignore those results.
Fear The Cowboy, Giuseppe The Great and Malibu Pro round out the field as longshots.
It’s hard not to feel compelled by McCraken considering how well known his talent has become. The issue isn’t his physical gifts, but more so his competitive spirit. If you do not trust Neolithic nor McCraken, then The Player and Honorable Duty are steady producing bets with odds that share equal value.
2017 Fayette Stakes – Saturday, October 28th at Keeneland
1 1/8th Miles – 3+ Year Olds – $200,000
|1||Giuseppe the Great (KY)||Chris Landeros||118||Nicholas P. Zito||15/1|
|2||Neolithic (KY)||Robby Albarado||121||Todd A. Pletcher||2/1|
|3||Fear the Cowboy (KY)||Jesus M. Rios||123||Efren Loza, Jr.||15/1|
|4||The Player (KY)||Calvin H. Borel||121||William B. Bradley||4/1|
|5||Honorable Duty (KY)||Corey J. Lanerie||123||Brendan P. Walsh||9/5|
|6||McCraken (KY)||Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.||120||Ian R. Wilkes||4/1|
|7||Malibu Pro (KY)||Joseph Rocco, Jr.||121||McLean Robertson||15/1|