Ultimate Guide to Hitting the Jerome

It's rare that I make a full (every entry) fair odds analysis for a race outside a seven-figure Grade 1 race, but I felt compelled to do so for the Jerome Stakes on Saturday at Aqueduct (click for FREE Ultimate PPs) because of the presence of a clear favorite/most likely winner who doesn't have to win.

In addition to the $200,000 purse, at stake in this stakes for three-year-olds is 17 Kentucky Derby qualifying points, including 10 to the winner, which was enough to get in last year (Giant Finish was 20th in the gate with 10 points, and Fear the Kitten was excluded with 6 points [Carving with 2 points was also excluded]).

There's plenty to like about Noble Moon, who has performed well both on the pace with his gate-to-wire winner on debut and then closed admirably after some trouble and six wide into the lane in the Nashua.

However, that 91 Speed Rating isn't tops in this group, as that distinction belongs to Classic Giacnroll, who earned a 94 Speed Rating when  third behind next-out winner Joint Custody in the Marylander on December 7 at Laurel Park.

I have Noble Moon at 1.6-to-1 (8-to-5), which is a bigger price than his 6-to-5 morning line. His breeding (Malibu Moon out of a Kingmambo mare) indicates two turns won't be a problem, and the rail at this 1-mile, 70-yard distance on the Aqueduct inner has a 20% strike rate with an impact value of 1.52.

The aforementioned Classic Giacnroll as my 5-to-1 second choice because of his speed rating power, but he's actually giving weight to Noble Moon, who absolutely will be in front of this one turning for home (unless something went wrong). Similar to Noble Moon, the Jerome is Classic Giacnroll's two-turn debut, but I like Noble Moon's pedigree better, though a mile 70 shouldn't be an issue for a Giacomo colt.

Master Lightning is my third choice at 6-to-1 and struggled with whether he was equal to Scotland or Classic Giacnroll and ended up just splitting the difference because of class concerns considering his performances in the Nashua (ten lengths behind Noble Moon) and fifth in the Remsen after an incredibly slow pace.

That said, he was quick out of the gate in maiden races this fall at Belmont going 1 and 1 1/16 miles, and his win last out was at this track (and nearly the distance). If Noble Moon runs his race, Master Lightning won't win, but if for whatever reason Noble Moon takes back and Master Light can run back to those Belmont pace ratings an upset isn't out of the question.

Scotland and Lawmaker was another close call, but sided slightly with Scotland at 7-to-1 with Lawmaker at 8-to-1 before a drop to Matuszak at 22-to-1 then Pin and Win and Mental Iceberg at 75-to-1 each.

Scotland is still a maiden, but I preferred him slightly off fast figures sprinting and now stretching out, but if the 7-to-2 morning line is to be believed, there won't be any value here.

Lawmaker is already well traveled, preparing for the races this fall at Belmont before shipping to Laurel for a maiden score then preparing for this in South Florida. He closed well over a next-out winner to win debut but do think the waters are deeper here.

From a "top pick" stand point, I'd make mine #7 Classic Giacnroll, as I think we'll get about the price we want. From a wagering standpoint, I'd be prepared to play Noble Moon to win/place if he's better than 8-to-5 and any of #s 3, 7, or 8 across the board if they drift higher than my fair line.

Based on morning line, I definitely see #2 Scotland as being overbet. If you beat him out of the exotics then even if Noble Moon runs as advertised you could still get paid. From a multi-race standpoint, I see more value in beating Noble Moon than singling him because if the morning line is right he'll be overbet, and I think you can lean on Flipcup and Alpaca Fina in the Busanda that kicks off the late Pick 4.

While we're talking three-year-olds, a reminder that updated Kentucky Derby odds at the Wynn Las Vegas are available at, including past performances of every listed horse. The next pari-mutuel Kentucky Derby future wager is February 6-8.


Leave a Comment:


According to these odds Noble Moon will be the only colt bet after two races and 1 win, 8/5 or less sounds about right for his post time odds in a race which is difficult to make odds for until the colts are on the track.I doubt that the 2nd choice in this eight horse field will be 5-1 or more.I like Scotland, the track oddsmaker knows that the public makes their bets on the past performances not only for the colts but also the trainers, Dutrow gets his respect and is listed at 7/2.I like Scotland and I think he will go off at between 4-1 to 5-1 the morning line is 7/2 which is 3.5-1.I think Pletchers colt will be bet and go off at less than the writer of this blogs 6-1, I also think trainer Browns colt will go off at less than 8-1 but it depends on how low Dutrows and Pletchers colts go off at.The second choice in this field will be either Master Lightning,or Scotland and depending on how much of the win pool is bet on Noble Moon will determine how low these 2 go off at post time.

03 Jan 2014 7:29 PM
Mary Zinke

Jerome: 8,2,7,1.

04 Jan 2014 2:24 AM

I like Classic Giacnroll in the Jerome. However, I cannot help but wonder if yet another next out MSW winner will be successful in its graded stakes debut.

There were about a dozen in 2013. Scotland and Lawmaker have this opportunity. Of the two I like Lawmaker to upset my pick. He won at a mile in a good time on debut. I am always impressed with debut winners at this distance as it is a rarity.

I think Classic Giacnroll will be packing too many punches in the last 70 yards.

04 Jan 2014 7:37 AM
Plod Boy Phil

re: Jerome / Scotland

Our opinion of the 5th race at AQ on 11/30/2013 has been clear since I posted Monopolize the day before his MSW win.  The aforementioned race was an Extreme for Speed, so sustained runs from behind the eventual winner at the early calls are much better than they look.  Wide runs, like those of Monopolize and Scotland deserve additional credit.

Despite the rave reviews for his debut, the 7/2 ML is a flat bet underlay for me, though he is one of two in a 1x1x2x1 P4.

04 Jan 2014 10:23 AM

There is only ONE MAIDEN in the field and his human owners have called him SCOTLAND.

04 Jan 2014 10:25 AM

It is becoming clearer that Classic Giacnroll will be attracting a lot of action. I like price horses and I will have to try a key bet with an animal less appealing.

That animal is from the barn of God's give to racing.  Master Lightning appears very slow on paper. However there are four positives in his favor.

1) He is a January foal and is only 27 days shy of being fully three years old. They are all at a stage of rapid development but he has a maturity advantage.

2)He is the only horse in the field that has recorded a win on the inner track.

3)He is the only horse in the field that has contested two graded races.

4) After leading the Remsen field he was only beaten 7L. If Intense Holiday that finished 4th in the Remsen was in the Jerome, he would have been the ML 2nd choice. Master Lightning finished 41/4L behind Intense Holiday who contested the Champagne, Nashua and Remsen.

Master Lightning weakened in the Remsen after about a mile. He is now cutting back and at a ML of 6-1, he could run out an easy winner although he might not be the most talented in the field.

04 Jan 2014 11:14 AM

best bet for the Jerome, Lawmaker. Will handle the step up. Dam has already given us a G3 winner, distance should not be a problem. Others will be overbet. Don't bet Solis here, just a hunch he will not be there. Lawmaker is no secret, he has a following, hope for 6-1 or better,

04 Jan 2014 2:32 PM
Little Bill

I'll be surprised if N Moon has the lead into the first turn. If not we'll find out how he runs when being out broke by design. Have him in pool one so I'd like to see a good effort. Using Matuszak, find out if he's really that bad.

04 Jan 2014 3:30 PM
Plod Boy Phil

The aforementioned Late P4 at AQ:  1 / 5 / 1, 2 / 5

04 Jan 2014 3:56 PM
Plod Boy Phil

GP  R9  10 Somali Lemonade has been behind Speed favoring Flows in 3 of her last 4,  with a no excuse neutral failure in the Cardinal.  This one has been a disappointment in the past,  but will give her another try with the Blinkers going on.  Tossing in the 1 and 6 in exbs.

04 Jan 2014 4:27 PM
Plod Boy Phil

and the crowd roared.......

Good times from Flowville.

04 Jan 2014 11:48 PM
Mary Zinke

Wowie, nice exacta in the Marshua's River, Phil!

I'm so happy that Jeranimo won the San Gabriel.  Was waiting for a just-right race for him.

05 Jan 2014 1:45 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Mary -

Thanks. I knew Jeranimo was your boy,  so thought of you when he was rolling home.

05 Jan 2014 7:46 AM

Well Classic Giacnroll was bet down to 3-1 and I took a shot with Master Lightning at the longer odds. He ran well but was not good enough. His advantages were nullified by his average ability at this stage of his career.

Classic Giacnroll ran well but appeared to be short horse. A change of equipment could be tried next time out. I can understand blinkers for a son of Giacomo contesting either a 5.5F or 6F race but not over a mile.  

This colt will probably change hands by the next time he is seen.

Promising effort!

Matuszak ran a sneakily good race but appears to need more time. His sire Bernardini has tactical speed. His dam sire Mr. Prospector was very speedy. Why is this colt always occupying the rare of the field? Probably another Orb.

Bill Mott is due for a Derby victory and this colt has pedigree and one can only hope there is some hidden class.

05 Jan 2014 10:43 AM

I always aspire to be fair and balance is my evaluation of records. I also try to avoid emotions as they invariably impact negatively on final conclusions.

Princess OF Sylmar deserves the Eclipse over Beholder.


The only way to settle the matter is to visit the tale of the tape:

POS’S 2013 record prior to Oaks:

1st-1m 70yrds; Busanda 1st 8.5F, Busher;2nd 9F,(G2) Gazelle

Overall record prior Oaks 6 Starts, 4 Wins, 1 Places, 0 Shows. POS did not win a graded stakes prior to the Oaks.

BEHOLDER’S 2013 record prior to Oaks:

2nd 6.5F, (G2)Santa Ynez; 1st 8F, (G1)Las Virgenes; 1st  9F, (G1)Santa Anita Oaks.

Overall record prior Oaks 8 Starts, 5 Wins, 2 Places, 0 Shows. Beholder won three G1 stakes and place in two

other graded stakes prior to the Oaks.

There can be no doubt that prior to the Oaks, Beholder had the better résumé.

POS defeated the 2YO Champion Beholder by 3/4L in the KY Oaks to record her 1st G1 success. It was their 1st meeting. Beholder had some issue in the paddock but it could not be definitively determined that this caused her defeat.

Who was the better filly after the Oaks? Some would say the victor but Beholder was certainly not the vanquished. Despite her Oaks defeat, Beholder still had the better résumé.

Post Oaks/Pre Distaff:

POS: 1st, Alabama Stakes, 1st, Coaching Club American Oaks, 1st, Beldame (All G1 stakes),

Beholder: 1st Torrey Pines, 1st Zenyatta G1,

Both fillies went undefeated after the Oaks with POS winning the more prestigious races. However, it should be noted that Beholder won the more prestigious races prior to the Oaks.

They met for the 2nd time in the Distaff and Beholder won on that occasion. In their two meetings, POS defeated Beholder by 3/4L and Beholder defeating POS by a city block.

The 2013 résumés of both fillies reflect four G1 victories. The prestige associated with the G1 races  won by each can always be debated. However, the most prestigious of the G1 victories went to Beholder.  

True champions show up and perform despite the disadvantages and adversities they face. POS showed up but did not perform in the biggest race of her career. Beholder on the other hand gave a dominant performance consistent with that of champion.

Beholder résumé always reflected that she was the better of the two and no amount of spin on POS’s post Oaks record can disprove this cold fact.

05 Jan 2014 12:09 PM
Drinks from a glass !!

editor of the day award goes to .........


05 Jan 2014 1:00 PM
Plod Boy Phil

FG  R8  12 Get Real (6-1) returned off a brief freshening on yielding turf here behind the w-w winner of a Speed favoring Flow.  I'll consider the last,  an 'ott' event,  a useful dirt work.  Looking down her PPs,  her Mc25k win on good FG turf in Feb 2013 was Flow aided, so at least we know she will perform when circumstances suit her.  Her N2L win at CD in May was a 'fair for all' destruction of the field.  

WP bet and Leg 1 of a 1x1 Daily Double.

05 Jan 2014 2:17 PM
Mary Zinke

Monrovia, SA r8: Pontchatrain, Purim's Dancer, Winding Way, Ciao Bella Luna. Ultrasonic--no idea; could wreck my plans--foreign invader.  Kindle does really well off of a layoff, but this is a very long one, not to name the entire field. I'll stick w/Pontchatrain for the win.

05 Jan 2014 4:04 PM
Mary Zinke

Main track "frozen" at Santa Anita?  I can imagine. It was extra cold here last night. New Ice Age coming. You read it here first.

05 Jan 2014 4:08 PM

Footbridge a colt I fancied in 2013 was injured in the Bluegrass and has not raced since.

He returns today in the 6th race at SA. He is set to make his turf debut. His pedigree suggest he should be competitive on the surface.

His sire Street Cry has a Melbourne Cup winner on his stud resume. His dam sire Dubai Millennium did most of his racing on turf in Europe.

Is he tight enough to win from such a long layoff? Its difficult to know but there is a 59 work cited.

At a ML of 6-1 I think he is worth a wager.

05 Jan 2014 4:48 PM
Plod Boy Phil

FG  R9  7 Gustav Bay (10-1) posted useful neutral effort in the Dec 26th race when facing better going 8.3f.  His previous, sprinting here,  was a 'Quick to Zip' move in a Closer favoring event in which the winner was ~10 back at the half.  Gustav's dirt win in Dec 2012 was excellent as he ran through a Speed favoring Flow to win.  Turns back to a sprint and drops to a realistic level looking very live for this 3rd off the layoff.  The ML seems optimistic to me,  but isn't that one of many reasonable definitions of an overlay ?

05 Jan 2014 5:34 PM
Plod Boy Phil

re: The Jerome - Postscript

Those that felt they were seeing a Speed Bias on Saturday, Jan 4 at AQ, were, in our opinion, correct.  As for The Jerome itself, the Flow of the race was closer friendly enough to kick the final figure well outside the grade-worthy range for us.

As is the way in NA dirt racing, speed biases are often associated with good or golden rails, as it's rare to see a forward dominance over an entire card from wide paths (except maybe at Parx?). It's with that in mind that I kill some time on a dreadfully quiet racing Wednesday with an analysis of the top three finishers:

Winner: Noble Moon was 'neutral' going in and will exit neutral,  though that was an idyllic trip,  really.  Since I do not wager on neutral runners,  I'm comfortable letting him do what he does next out without me.

2ND: Classic Giacnroll, an unknown for us coming in, exits neutral, but with an asterisk for his very wide throughout closing run on this severely Speed Biased surface. A solid two turn debut for sure.

3RD: Scotland was on the rail throughout and will drop to a 'neutral' grade.  That said, he'd have to run into a really good horse not to win next out when returned to MSW company.

08 Jan 2014 1:54 PM

Recent Posts

More Blogs