Next Dominated the Grade 3, $200,000 Greenwood Cup Stakes By 25 Lengths
Next earned a 104 Beyer Speed Figure for his Greenwood Cup victory.
On a rainy, windy, and raw Saturday (September 23, 2023) at Parx Racing, Next was as nasty as the weather.
Or should I say Next was as spectacular as Secretariat when he won the Belmont Stakes way back in 1973.
The 5-year-old gray gelding, universally considered the best dirt marathoner in North America, dominated the Grade 3, $200,000 Greenwood Cup Stakes for 3-year-olds and upward at 1 1/2 miles, winning by a whopping 25 lengths over a sealed, sloppy track.
If you had tuned in to my pick for "members only" last Saturday (September 23, 2023), you would have made some money.
Here is the pick I've made for that Saturday:
Pick for Saturday September 23, 2023:
Track: Parx Racing
Horse: Next (ML 8-5 and more likely 4-5 favorite)
Bet Next (ML 8-5) to WIN.
Put a lot of money on him to make it worthwhile and justified going to the racetrack.
Next will WIN the 7th race. So put a lot of money on Next to WIN.
Take that easy money 8/5 (or at any price: 4/5 is my guess) and leave the racetrack as a winner.
Next 2.60 2.40 2.10
My Imagination 27.60 10.60
Ridin With Biden 2.20
Ridden by Luan Machado for trainer William "Doug" Cowans, Next immediately went to the lead heading into the first of three turns and soon settled into a steady pitter-patter.
He controlled the race through fractions of 25.72, 50.12, 1:15.51, and 1:40.91 while lightly hounded from the outside by Ridin With Biden.
Machado lowered his hands slightly entering the final turn and Next responded.
In the blink of an eye, he was clear of Ridin With Biden, while racing well off the rail.
During the stretch run, all Machado had to do was stay tied on and pose for the picture.
Next (104 Beyer Speed Figure) finished the mile and a half in 2:33.28 and returned $2.60 as the overwhelming favorite.
Ridin With Biden was well clear of the rest at the furlong pole, but jockey Paco Lopez appeared to pull the 2022 Greenwood Cup winner up approaching the wire.
That allowed 84-1 shot My Imagination to grab second by a nose.
Ridin With Biden held third, three-quarters of a length ahead of Forewarned.
Forewarned was followed by Fowler Blue, Calibrate and Suigu Star. Bear Oak scratched.
Ridin With Biden's trainer, Butch Reid, appeared furious with Lopez during the unsaddling process; perhaps, for allowing a 84-1 shot, My Imagination, to grab second by a nose at the wire.
"It was the same plan as always today," Cowans said. "Get him in a rhythm, and once in his rhythm, I think he does his thing.
I didn't care if he went to the lead or sat third. He broke sharp right away and went into his rhythm."
When asked if there was a temptation to step Next up in class against some of the top handicap horses in the country, Cowans shook his head.
"It has not been a thought process up to this point. At the beginning of the year, there was a five-race plan for the horse, and so far, he's made every one."
Cowans claimed Next for $62,500 last fall for owner Michael Foster out of a ninth-place effort in a seven-furlong race at Keeneland.
Since then, Not This Time gelding has won six of eight starts, including stakes at Delaware Park, Keeneland, Belmont Park, and Saratoga.
Cowans indicated that Next's next start will come in the Grade 2, $250,000 Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Stakes at 1 5/8 miles at Santa Anita on Nov. 4.