Mor Spirit No Lock in Essex

EssexA glance at the morning line odds makes it clear that Mor Spirit is the horse to beat in the Essex at 1 1/16 miles at Oaklawn Park on Saturday. Trained by Bob Baffert, the son of Eskendereya makes his third start of the year after a solid effort in the San Antonio Stakes (GII) that earned the ridgling a 102 Brisnet speed figure (tied with Fear the Cowboy for the best last-race number).

But I’m going to take a stand against him and play Shotgun Kowboy, who I think could lead from flag fall to finish.

Bred, owned and trained (usually a kiss of death) by C. R. Trout, Kowboy has become Trout’s second-leading money winner — right behind Maysville Slew, who won the Essex in 2000… in wire to wire fashion.

Provided he shows up for the post parade with four legs and a tail, I’ll be playing him on top and under Mor Spirit, Dazzling Gem and Fear the Cowboy.

Derek Simon
Derek Simon is the Senior Editor and Handicapper at US Racing.
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