El Afortunado the one to beat in Sir Howard
EL AFORTUNADO’s eye-catching victory on his second outing, putting away return winners RIDGE LINER and WHIZZ KID in workmanlike fashion, makes him the horse to beat in Sunday’s Sir Howard Stakes at six furlongs.
After placing fourth behind VOLATILITY on debut at five furlongs round on January 2, EL AFORTUNADO improved nine and a half lengths on runner-up WHIZZ KID a little under three weeks later.
Breaking sharply with Anthony Thomas at five and a half furlongs, EL AFORTUNADO matched RIDGE LINER for speed, opening up a furlong out to win by almost eight lengths.
Experienced WHIZZ KID, who had finished two and three-quarter lengths ahead of EL AFORTUNADO on January 2, placed third, eight and three quarter lengths behind the improved runner.
An immediate change of stable placed EL AFORTUNADO into Anthony Nunes’ barn with the classics looming large.
Considering that few colts have impressed as stayers, outside of Richard Azan’s MOJITO, who won December’s Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes at a mile, Nunes could be on to a good thing with EL AFORTUNADO, translated as ‘The Fortunate’ in English.
RIDGE LINER, who easily won his next start, blitzing rivals with speed at five furlongs straight, returns for the rematch but should again have his stamina limitations exposed in a tougher field.
EL AFORTUNADO’s main challenge should come from stablemate CURLIN’S NOON, who responded with a win when switched from consecutive races over the straight course for his first two starts. The Perfect Curlin-Noon It Is colt outbattled MO AVIATOR on the lead and stayed on strongly to deny late-charging ROARING THUNDER at six and a half furlongs.