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Most Valuable Pony (June 22-28): Tom's d'Etat

by Jeremy Plonk

June 29, 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.

June 22-28, 2020

MVP: Tom’s d’Etat

Owner: GMB Racing (Gayle Benson)

Trainer: Al Stall Jr.

Jockey: Miguel Mena

Performance: The 7-year-old continues to improve with age, winning his fourth straight in the June 27 Grade 2 Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs. The Smart Strike horse left no doubt in the Foster against a solid field, drawing off by 4-1/4 lengths over red-hot By My Standards. Sent away the 6-5 favorite in the Foster, Tom’s d’Etat zipped a mile and one-eighth in 1:47.30, just .02 off Victory Gallop’s track record set in the 1998 Foster. By comparison, the same-day Fleur de Lis Stakes was completed in 1:48.99.

On Tap: Tom’s d’Etat clearly ranks among the very top of the list of Breeders’ Cup Classic division favorites. The Nov. 7 destination at Keeneland likely will see only a single additional stop between now and then, though two races are possible. The Grade 1 Whitney on August 1 at Saratoga comes up first, but is at a mile and one-eighth. The Grade 1 Woodward on September 5 at Saratoga could give him a mile and one-quarter rehearsal, while the Jockey Club Gold Cup a month later at Belmont would offer the same test, just closer in timing to the Classic.

Honorable Mentions: In New York, Newspaperofrecord wired the Grade 1 Just A Game in impressive fashion June 27 at Belmont Park, defeating the likes of stablemate and 2019 Breeders’ Cup Mile heroine Uni. She’s now 2-for-2 on the campaign and back to her juvenile form. Midnight Bisou and/or Cazadero nearly gave Steve Asmussen a third MVP of June (previously Volatile, June 8; She’s a Julie, June 15). They cruised in the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis and Grade 3 Bashford Manor, respectively, at Churchill Downs on Saturday. And a shout-out to Pink Lloyd, Woodbine’s 8-year-old sprint maven who won the June 25 Grade 3 Cartier for the fourth time while advancing to 23-for-29 lifetime.