Iroquois Stakes Quick Picks
The $300,000 Iroquois Stakes (G3) for 2-year-olds at Churchill Downs is a “win and you’re in” challenge event for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). The 1 1/16 mile event is also the first prep race for the 2022 Kentucky Derby, offering points on a 10-4-2-1 scale to the top four finishers.
Carded as race 9 of 11, Iroquois attracted a field of nine colts. Post time is 10:11 PM ET. The track should be fast.
Let’s take a quick look at those most likely to hit the board.
#9 Guntown (9-2)
Leading first-crop sire Gun Runner is on fire. His offspring swept the Grade 1 Hopeful and Spinaway on Saratoga’s closing day. Guntown won his second start by an easy by 4 1/2 lengths, and the half-brother to Champion 3-year-old Filly Untappable should love the extra distance of the Iroquois. Win contender.
#7 Red Knobs (20-1)
Red Knobs graduated in his second start by 6 1/4 lengths. His pedigree and conformation suggest that he’ll enjoy longer distances, and trainer Dale Romans has won four of the last eight editions of Iroquois, including the last two. Live longshot.
#11 Bourbon Heist (9-2)
In his last two starts, Bourbon Heist came within a head and neck of winning his maiden. He had excuses in both starts; he was bumped and had to steady at the start of both races. The Ian Wilkes trainee gets a jockey switch from Javier Castellano to Joe Talamo, so that could prove to be the winning move. Win contender.
#6 Stellar Tap (3-1)
Stellar Tap won his debut at Saratoga by an eye-catching 5 1/4 lengths, after shaking off early challengers. The Todd Pletcher trainee exits a key race; two rivals won, and another finished third in their next start. By leading sire Tapit out of a daughter of Medaglia D’Oro, Stellar Tap is bred to love the distance, but he will have other speed types to contend with. Exotics.
#3 Roger McQueen (10-1)
Roger McQueen is the only stakes winner in the field and has finished in the money at Churchill. The Larry Rivelli trainee won the Ellis Park Juvenile by a half-length after turning back challengers. Rivelli has won the Iroquois twice with horses exiting a previous stakes. Exotics.
#4 Strike Hard (10-1)
Strike Hard won his second start at Gulfstream Park by 2 1/4 lengths after a wide trip. He is one of the few colts in the race who is capable of settling off of the pace. Additionally, trainer Matt Williams has hit the board with two of six out-of-state shippers. Exotics.
Iroquois Stakes Analysis
Seven of the Iroquois contestants have set or pressed the pace in their last starts. This could result in a speed duel, setting it up for a one-run closer. Although Guntown pressed the pace in his last start, he showed tactical speed in his debut, closing late to finish third.
Red Knobs, Strike Hard, and Bourbon Heist have all won from off the pace and should be considered legitimate threats.
- #9 Guntown (9-2)
- #11 Bourbon Heist (9-2)
- #3 Roger McQueen (10-1)
- #7 Red Knobs (20-1)
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