Sham Stakes Picks 2017
Sham Stakes Post Position and Odds
|2||Term of Art||5/1|
|3||Bird is the Word||20/1|
Tabbed as the 8/5 morning line favorite, Gormley will attempt to make amends for a seventh-place finish in the November 5 Breeders' Cup Juvenile. The normally upbeat colt looked uncharacteristically sluggish in that race, falling well off the pace without offering much rally in the stretch. Trainer John Shirreffs has since lamented that his training methods prior to the Breeders' Cup may have been to Gormley's detriment as the conditioner called for slower, methodical gallops instead shorter, faster drills. Gormley will break from post five with jockey Victor Espinoza in the irons. Bettors can expect the pair to be much closer to the pace as Gormley (2 for 3) lifetime tries to discover the winning form that netted him a grade 1 win last October in the Chandelier.
Baffert Sends Out Talented Maiden Victor
Gormley's biggest test may come in the form of American Anthem, who was an impressive maiden winner December 3 at Del Mar. The leggy colt is listed at 9/5 on the morning line and could go favored by post time given his massive upside. A son of 2012 Derby and Preakness runner-up Bodemeister, who was also trained by Baffert, American Anthem may prove to be Baffert's big gun on the 2017 Triple Crown trail. American Anthem will break from the rail with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith handling the mount. While some bettors tend to shy away from maiden victors jumping right into stakes company, Baffert has proven more than adept over the course of his career at succeeding with lightly-raced types with 2016 Breeders' Cup Classic winner Arrogate and 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah coming quickly to mind.
While the top two will attract most of the headlines, the race is far from a match race. The Phil D'Amato-trained Big Hit (4/1) appeared to break through with a maiden victory last out following two disappointing races to begin his career. This colt has suggested big ability but will have to take another step forward to seriously threaten. Trainer Doug O'Neill will saddle a pair of runners led by Term of Art (5/1) who captured the Grade 3 Cecil DeMille Stakes November 27 at Del Mar and has had just one off-the-board finish - a ninth in last year's BC Juvenile - in five career starts.
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