Expert Pick of the Week: Hyacinth Stakes

Feb 21, 2020 John Mucciolo /

A big field of 14 sophomores will take aim at Tokyo Racecourse on Sunday in the Hyacinth S. The third race on the “2020 Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby” challenge series will reward the top-four finishers with points on a 30-12-6-3 points structure.
One of two sons of American Pharoah in the field, Yukio Baba’s Nile River was well backed on debut and made good in a one-mile event on the course. The Kentucky-bred colt makes his 3-year-old bow in the Hyacinth S., and he is the Expert Pick of the Week.
Nile River was bred in the Bluegrass State by Rosedown Racing Stable, and the dark bay fetched a hefty bid of $775,000 at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale. He was unveiled on Nov. 9, and the youngster was both game and professional at first asking.
The then-juvenile tracked the pace along the inside, moved between runners for the stretch run, and ran down a clear leader in fine fashion for conditioner Hideaki Fujiwara. He returns off the layoff at a similar distance on Sunday, in a field with ample early speed to aid his late kick.
Nile River has stamina influences throughout his catalog page, and he could evolve into a Triple Crown contender with expected improvement this campaign. Shane Foley picks up the mount atop the top pick.
The Noriyuki Hori-trained Cafe Pharoah was a dominant 10-length winner in his first performance at Nakyama going 1 1/8 miles. The bay colt went postward at even-money odds in a 14-horse field on debut and was much the best.
Cafe Pharoah was a $475,000 2-year-old purchase at OBS March, and he aims to become the third stakes winner produced from Grade 2 queen Mary’s Follies. He will have Mirco Demuro in the saddle for the first time on Sunday.
Expert Pick

An exacta with Nile River over Cafe Pharoah is the Best Bet of the Week.
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