Focus Group Favored in Keeneland’s Sycamore

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By Emily Shields

A field of 11 have been entered for the 1 ½-mile Sycamore Stakes (G3) at Keeneland on Thursday, October 17. The race has been won in the past by the likes of Brass Hat, Cloudy’s Knight, and Holiday Star.

#5 Focus Group (8-5) is the morning line favorite for trainer Chad Brown. A winner on this track last year, Focus Group has since become a grade 2 winner at Gulfstream Park, and is grade 1 placed. He is coming off a third-place effort at Woodbine in the grade 1 Northern Dancer behind Breeders’ Cup Turf-bound Old Persian. The five-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy will have Jose Ortiz in the irons.

#4 Nakamura (7-2) has never run here, but looks strong for Graham Motion. He has won three of his last four starts, including three consecutive allowance races, then ran third in a driving finish in a stakes race at Laurel Park. Javier Castellano will ride the son of Animal Kingdom.

#6 Postulation (7-2) was originally third in that Laurel Park stake, but was disqualified and placed fifth. He was a stakes winner at Monmouth Park the start before that for trainer Michael Matz. He has been top three in five of nine starts at the distance, giving him an edge over several in the field. Postulation is a son of Harlan’s Holiday.

#7 My Boy Jack (12-1) is at just under $775,000 in earnings despite only three wins. He hasn’t won since taking the Lexington (G3) here last spring, and that was on the main track, but he is a stakes winner on the grass for trainer Keith Desormeaux. He was fifth in the Kentucky Turf Cup (G3) last out.

#2 Midnight Tea Time (8-1) is a winner over the course for trainer Joe Sharp. The son of Midnight Lute won at a mile at Kentucky Downs last out, scoring by a nose, and missed by a neck to rival Nakamura in here two back at Saratoga. When he ran on the main track here in April in an off the turf contest, he won by over nine lengths. Brian Hernandez, Jr. has the call.

#3 Space Mountain (12-1) rounds out the logical contenders. Mike Maker trains now after claiming him earlier this year. This gelded son of Street Cry (Ire) was a stakes winner at Remington Park last out, and is a winner over the course. All six of his lifetime wins have been on the grass.

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