Let’s be honest. This is not the strongest Saturday card that NYRA will put together this winter, but there are a couple of interesting races near the end of the day, both of which are $7,500 claimers. They also feature full fields of 12, which is going to help spread the money around.
Aqu – 8th race, Clm $7,500B 4yo+
Devilish Stunt is taking his second consecutive class drop for sharp claiming trainer Chris Englehart. Two back, in his first start for these connections, he was entered way over his head in an $50,000 optional claimer and finished seventh. Last time on Jan. 28, coming back in 12 days, he was entered for a more realistic $15,000 on a day when inside speed was a real asset. Breaking from post 6, Junior Alvarado gave this one of those tentative 4-wide trips that may have worked at Arlington, but kill you on the inner track. Devilish Stunt finished fifth, beaten 10 lengths, and now shows up in a much easier spot with form that is a bit dirtied up. He is the best horse in the race and probably won’t be favored. The bet:
$5 Win #6 (Devilish Stunt)
Aqu – 10th race, Clm $7,500N1Y 4yo+
Richard Dutrow Jr.’s Cantrushperfection at one time would have eaten this field for lunch. But a 7 month layoff, horrible jockey, and veterinarian scratch at the gate last week make me want to stay away from him. The next best horse in the race is the consistent Free Brave, who is first off the claim for Rudy Rodriguez and dropping to the lowest level he’s seen yet. He should be a moderate favorite here and can certainly win. The horse I am interested in is Hubbard, who ships in from Finger Lakes. His form seems to have been tailing off near the end of last year, but he now comes into this off a freshening. He ran one of his best races off a similar layoff last year and has an excellent record at the distance. Yes, he could be a bit cheap, but at his best he’s fast enough to win and he’s the new face so I’m going to take a shot. The bet:
$2 Win #11 (Hubbard)
$1 Exacta Box #5 / #11 (Free Brave/Hubbard)