by Jeremy Plonk
November 30, 2020
Each Monday, I’ll select my Most Valuable Pony from the previous week’s racing action around the country. Who won the week? It could be a breakout performer, a known stakes commodity or the horse lifting the most loot. Chime in on Twitter @Xpressbet with your thoughts on who should be each week’s MVP.
October Nov. 23-29, 2020
MVP: Domestic Spending
Owner: Klaravich Stable
Trainer: Chad Brown
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Performance: Chad Brown’s superb Del Mar swing included Domestic Spending winning a multiple-horse scrum to the wire in the Nov. 28 Grade 1 $303,000 Hollywood Derby. Rallying from 10th of 11, Domestic Spending made up more than 7 lengths to edge favorite Smooth Like Strait and fellow NYRA shipper Gufo. Domestic Spending posted one of four holiday weekend stakes victories on the west coast for Brown, who also hit paydirt with Viadera in the Grade 1 Matriarch, Fluffy Socks in the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante and Orglandes in the Grade 3 Red Carpet.
On Tap: Domestic Spending could be set up for a big 4-year-old season. Before that, Santa Anita's Dec. 26 Grade 2 Mathis Brothers Mile for 3-year-olds could be a destination if they choose to cut back the trip. The $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 25 would be an awfully ambitious place to try elder horses for the first time. But the 1-3/16 miles and calendar spot would fit perfectly. With races like the Mac Diarmida and Pan American at Gulfstream in February and March at 11 and 12 furlongs, respectively, Domestic Spending might find middle distances at Tampa or Fair Grounds during the first quarter of 2020.
Honorable Mentions: At Churchill Downs, Bodexpress, runner-up in the 2019 Grade 1 Florida Derby, got his signature victory Nov. 27 in the Grade 1 $500,000 Clark Handicap, knocking off a field that included ’19 Travers winner Code of Honor and 2020 Oaklawn Handicap victor By My Standards et al. Travel Column overcame a poor start and a strong effort from runner-up Clairiere to win the Nov. 28 Grade 2 $200,000 Golden Rod for 2-year-old fillies. The Brad Cox trainee stopped the clock nearly 3 lengths faster than the same-day Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club for the juvenile colts. Meanwhile, 6-year-old Cox stablemate Arklow scored his second big stakes of the season when winning Del Mar’s Grade 2 $200,000 Hollywood Turf Cup on Nov. 27. Arklow shipped west to add to his Kentucky Turf Cup score in September. Hello Beautiful upped her local record to 6-for-6 at Laurel Park on the main track with a convincing, 3-length score Nov. 28 in the $100,000 Safely Kept Stakes. The Brittany Russell trainee easily topped Keeneland shippers Reagan’s Edge and Lady Rocket. Vertical Threat romped by more than 7 lengths in the Nov. 23 $200,000 Steel Valley Sprint at Mahoning Valley for California-based trainer Richard Baltas.