Without Parole looks value to make his fourth start in America in the Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland on Friday (21:57).
This former John Gosden inmate won his first four starts as a hotly progressive prospect. After scoring a six-length success on debut at Newcastle towards the end of 2017, he started the following year off with a hat-trick.
Without Parole went from novice company to a Group 1 winner in three runs. His half-length victory in the St James’s Palace Stakes of 2018 saw him a warm favorite to follow-up at Glorious Goodwood, but he disappointed.
The five-year-old son of Frankel hasn’t scored since, but that does not tell the whole story. Without Parole was a fine fifth in the 2019 Dubai Turf at Meydan and then later moved to current trainer Chad Brown.
He shaped well on debut for this handler when a 2 3/4 lengths third to Uni in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita. That was a first for Without Parole in almost six months and he was best the first colt home.
Circus Maximus, who was getting 3lb from him, has come out and won the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot this summer. That gives the form a boost.
Without Parole then found the extra furlong-and-a-half of the Pegasus World Cup Turf against him when a disappointing 11th of 12.
He was given a spring break to freshen up and came a 2 3/4 lengths third to the re-opposing Raging Bull in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile. The pair met off level weights that day, but Without Parole now gets 5lb from the winner.
That should be enough to turn the tables. Without Parole should also strip fitter for the return to action and Irad Ortiz takes the ride again.
The aforementioned Raging Bull is the obvious danger despite being 5lb worse off with those who re-oppose from Santa Anita.
Also trained by Brown, this five-year-old has won five of his 12 starts. As a three-year-old, Raging Bull scored three graded successes.
While he didn’t get his head in front again until his final start of last season, he ran some fine races in defeat. They include when runner-up in the Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga when trying to give the winner 6lb.
Victory in the Shoemaker Mile on reappearance was an overdue success for Raging Bull in open company. He led on the outside approaching the final furlong and ran on well into the clear.
If it were not for the swing in weight which puts him at a disadvantage, Raging Bull would have strong claims of Maker’s Mark Mile glory. However, he should not be favorite when this is not a level playing field on race terms.
For that reasons, Raging Bull is respected but opposed with Without Parole here. It would be no surprise if he were placed again, so an exacta is an attractive betting option.
Shoemaker runner-up Next Shares is another contesting this and also getting a 5lb swing. Despite being the oldest in this line-up aged seven, he could make the frame again.
On a form line through Got Stormy who was just a head in front on his second start of the year, there is little to choose between Next Shares and Raging Bull off these new terms.
He has won five of his 26 career starts, but also placed on as many occasions and showed a further three times. That gives Next Shares a healthy 42 percent ratio of being in the first three.
This relative veteran is also a Grade 1 course and distance winner from 2018. That shows, on his day, Next Shares can put in big performances.
Now with the handy swing in weight, he should not be trading at more than twice the price of Raging Bull. Next Shares was giving weight away at Santa Anita last time out, but now receives it.
That could be the difference maker. With big race jockey John Velazquez on board for just the third time, Next Shares can have a say in the finish of the Maker’s Mark Mile.