2023 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at a Glance

The horses break out of the starting gate at the beginning of the 2022 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park. (Coady Photography)

It’s easy enough to discount the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes as a Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve prep. After all, it is contested on a synthetic Tapeta Footings surface rather than dirt. Yet after Rich Strike won the Kentucky Derby last year at 80-1 odds after running in the Battaglia at Turfway Park, there just might be some merit to checking out the field for a Triple Crown candidate and placing a wager or two. There also are 40 Kentucky Derby qualifying points up for grabs in a race that’s a steppingstone to the March 25 Jeff Ruby Steaks.

John Battaglia Memorial Stakes

Racetrack: Turfway Park, Florence, Ky.

Date: March 4

Purse: $150,000

Distance: 1 1/16 miles

Race: 8

Post Time: 9:25 p.m. ET.

Notable winners: Tiz the Bomb (2022), Somelikeithotbrown (2019), Request for Parole (2002), Concerto (1997).

First held: 1982

1. Good Heart (20-1 morning-line odds): Has yet to be a tested on a synthetic surface, though he has trained in solid fashion the track. Considering that he should get a ground-saving trip from the rail, if he runs to his workouts, he could be a factor.

JOCKEY: Jane Elliott; TRAINER: Brendan Walsh

2. Aristocracy (8-1): The way trainer Brad Cox has been a force in the Kentucky Derby preps on dirt, there’s no reason to believe he’ll slow down on an all-weather track. This son of Tapit won a one-mile allowance race at Turfway and should be a major threat.

JOCKEY: Fernando De La Cruz; TRAINER: Brad Cox

3. Gilmore (3-1): He was second on a synthetic surface in the El Camino Real Derby for trainer Bob Baffert. Has been moved to Brendan Walsh’s barn and, if he duplicates his last try, he’ll be very tough to beat.

JOCKEY: Joseph Ramos; TRAINER: Brendan Walsh

4. Scoobie Quando (6-1): Connections thought enough of him to debut him a Turfway stakes, which he won. Was reluctant to load last time and finished second in an allowance race. If he behaves, he could be right there at the finish.

JOCKEY: Luan Machado; TRAINER: Ben Colebrook

5. Accident (30-1): He’s been competitive in stakes, yet he’s also 0-for-15 which indicates the bottom of the superfecta is the height of expectations for him.

JOCKEY: Orlando Mojica; TRAINER: Thomas Short

6. American Speed (6-1): Another Cox starter and he appears the better of the two. He chased a slow pace and settled for second in a Turfway stakes. Should get more help this time and looks like one of the top threats in the field.

JOCKEY: Chris Landeros; TRAINER: Brad Cox

7. Eyes On the King (15-1): His best race was an allowance-optional claiming race win on Gulfstream Park’s Tapeta course and that makes him a player here. Adds blinkers for this trip and a sharp workout over the track adds to the appeal.

JOCKEY: Brian J. Hernandez Jr.; TRAINER: Mark Casse

8. Miranda Rights (8-1): He’s based at Turfway and was third behind Scoobie Quando last time despite some first-turn traffic issues. He’s certainly capable of taking a step forward and making his presence felt in this field.

JOCKEY: Rafael Hernandez; TRAINER: Mark Casse

9. Freezing Point (12-1): Has not raced since a big maiden win at Churchill Downs in November and is untested on a synthetic surface. Has worked OK over this track, but it’s anyone guess as to how he’ll handle it in a race

JOCKEY: Gerard Melancon; TRAINER: Joe Lejzerowicz

Bromley (Coady Photography)

10. Bromley (5-1): Won his lone start on Tapeta but that was at six furlongs. His first try around two turns was a fifth-place finish in the Lecomte Stakes but it would not be a surprise if he was more competitive than that in this spot.

JOCKEY: Gerardo Corrales; TRAINER: Paulo Lobo

11. Moon Landing (12-1): They are not shooting for the moon with this one as he has a realistic chance off an easy win on Woodbine’s Tapeta Footings surface in his debut. Ran well enough in a turf race at Gulfstream to deserve some consideration in a competitive field.

JOCKEY: Walter Rodriguez; TRAINER: Kevin Attard

12. Congruent (10-1): Turf horses generally transfer their form to Tapeta, so some good showings  in turf stakes make him a factor here. The big problem could be the outside post in a big field and the likelihood of ground loss.

JOCKEY: Sonny Leon; TRAINER: Antonio Sano

13. Ironsides (AE: 20-1): Will need a scratch to run after finishing third in the same race as American Speed last time.

JOCKEY: Declan Cannon; TRAINER: Victoria Oliver

14. Clear the Air (AE: 8-1): Maiden winner here is also entered in the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct.

JOCKEY: Jack Gilligan; TRAINER: William Walden

THE PICK: Gilmore

LIVE LONGSHOT: Eyes On the King


6 Beginner Betting Tools

  1. Start simple with an easy guide for how to bet on horse racing.
  2. Not sure what that word means? Horse racing terminology is a language of its own. Allow us translate for you.
  3. What the heck is a speed figure? This beginner’s guide to speed figures has everything you need to know.
  4. Betting on horse racing can be intimidating. Team ABR put together some Dos and Don’ts for the new fan getting started betting on racing.
  5. We all make mistakes when it comes to betting on horse racing, here are eight lessons learned from experience.
  6. Figure out how much each bet will cost in advance with our Gambling Calculator, presented by NYRA Bets.

newsletter sign-up

Stay up-to-date with the best from America's Best Racing!