The field for the Grade 2, $175,000 Kennedy Road Stakes is led by Pink Lloyd, a fan favorite who has racked up 26 wins from 32 races all on the all-weather main track at Woodbine, including all four starts in his 2020 campaign.
Among the other six in the Kennedy Road field, three have been victims to Pink Lloyd’s tremendous will to win, while three others are facing him for the first time. Leading that group is Grade 2 Nearctic Stakes winner Silent Poet, with an accomplished record consisting of 10 wins in 18 races. Then there’s Ride a Comet, winner of the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby in the summer of 2018. Ride a Comet returned from a 25-month layoff last month at Woodbine and won as if he had never been away. Souper Stonehenge is another horse that has not seen the back end of Pink Lloyd to date. He’s never run in a stakes race but enters the Kennedy Road off a win in his second start back from 11 months off. Dixie’s Gamble has won six of nine races when Pink Lloyd wasn’t in the race, including the Overskate Stakes last fall, but he has been soundly defeated in four confrontations with the probable favorite. Similarly, Eskiminzin has been defeated in all five matchups against Pink Lloyd and has won six times from 26 other races. Roaring Forties has finished fourth and seventh behind Pink Lloyd this year and was fifth in the Grade 3 Durham Cup Stakes in his most recent start.
Ride a Comet may be the right horse to end Pink Lloyd’s perfect 4-for-4 streak this year. This talented horse won five of his first 10 races, including the Del Mar Derby in September 2018, defeating multiple stakes winner River Boyne in the process. With whatever put him on the sidelines from that race until his comeback last month behind him, Ride a Comet returned in extraordinary fashion with a visually impressive effort that saw him go from seventh — six lengths behind the leader — on the turn to the front of the field by the eighth pole. Considering he was ridden out to victory, it appears there’s a lot of gas left in the tank and logically the horse should improve markedly in his second start off the layoff. Since that race, Ride a Comet has put in three exceptional workouts at Woodbine, including one going five furlongs that was the second-best of 41 at that distance on the day. When he won the Del Mar Derby at the end of his 3-year-old season, Ride a Comet earned a 110 Equibase Speed Figure, which is comparable with the 111 figure Pink Lloyd earned winning this race in 2019, and therefore Ride a Comet gets top billing.
Silent Poet and leading Woodbine jockey Justin Stein should be able to take advantage of an otherwise paceless race and go to the front easily at the start of the race. Silent Poet has earned nearly all of his wins when leading or pressing the pace in second from the start, including his last two races. The first of the two was a turf allowance race with a stakes-level $100,000 purse and the second was the Nearctic Stakes at this distance on grass. Those efforts yielded 103 and 104 figures, respectively, which with slight improvement put Silent Poet in the thick of the action down to the finish line in the Kennedy Road. I’m not concerned about his duplicating those efforts on the main track as he was second in the Sir Barton Stakes the last time he ran on the main track at Woodbine.
Pink Lloyd’s accomplishments speak for themselves, as he’s dominated the sprint stakes ranks at Woodbine for many years. With winning streaks of five in a row in 2019 and five in a row coming into this race, including all four races this year, he’s proven to have an attitude about winning which matches his ability. Pink Lloyd was second in the 2016 edition of this race, won it in 2017, skipped it in 2018, and won it again in 2019. Still, except for last year’s Kennedy Road in which he earned a 111 figure, his four wins this year earned 103, 102, 92, and 101 Equibase Speed Figures, which aren’t dominant in any way when compared against Ride a Comet (99 last race and 110 before the layoff), Silent Poet (104 last race), and Souper Stonehenge (102 last race). All three of those horses have never faced Pink Lloyd previously and all appear to be as capable of winning as the most likely betting favorite. That’s not to say Pink Lloyd can’t rise to the occasion and win just as he’s done time and time again.
The rest of the field (with best Equibase Speed Figures in a similar race): Dixie’s Gamble (105), Eskiminzin (98), Roaring Forties (93) and Souper Stonehenge (102).
Win Contenders, in preference order:
Ride a Comet