Well, I swung for the fences with a few of those picks for Saturday and unfortunately came up empty. Let’s start with a couple of my selections that I want to consider staying faithful to when they run back:
In the second race at Gulfstream on Saturday, we picked Safari Artie, and while he was never winning on this day, he certainly had an unusual trip around the racetrack. He broke alertly from post 6, and given that there was no real pace in the race, Alex Solis could have gone forward to get position going into the turn. Instead, he takes a strong hold of the horse and tries to wrangle him back. Meanwhile, the horse inside of him was becoming rank and unexpectedly veered out entering the clubhouse turn, causing Safari Artie to briefly be knocked off balance. From there, Solis coaxed him up into fifth place entering the far turn and briefly looked poised to make a run at the leaders. Then he appeared to just start running greenly, making it difficult for Solis to continue riding him. The horse never really quit , but didn’t ever appear to straighten himself out long enough to level off and quicken. Perhaps I’m reading too much into it, but this was only his third career race and I feel like this horse is still figuring things out. I may give him another shot.
Later that day, I felt very strongly about Devilish Stunt in the eighth race at Aqueduct. Others apparently did as well seeing as he was sent off as the 5-2 favorite. Even his jockey, C. C. Lopez, felt confident enough to put this confirmed stalker into a strong drive out of the gate and run away from the field down the backstretch through a quarter mile in 22 2/5 seconds, one of the fastest paces of the week on the inner track. Oh, there was other speed in the race, but apparently C. C. thought he was on a stakes horse instead of a $7,500 claimer. Devilish Stunt understandably was done by the top of the stretch, setting things up for his uncoupled stablemate to come from behind and win. This horse has now had two impossible rides in a row and will be added to the list. At least next time he shouldn’t be favored.
Quickly, here are 3 more horses I’m adding from this weekend:
- Black Pen finished third in the third race at Aqueduct on Saturday (N1X Allowance). One day this poor horse needs to get a pace to run at–or a new strategy. For three races in a row now, David Cohen has taken Black Pen to the back of the pack in paceless 6 furlong races and tried to close. Hasn’t worked yet.
- Cap The Moment looked like an interesting class play from low profile connections in the seventh at Aqueduct on Sunday (NY-bred N1X Allowance at 6 furlongs). He lost all chance when he was completely left at the gate, but made an eye-catching run through the stretch to finish third. This was only his second race back since the Belmont spring meet and first since a 15-length drubbing in January, but based off this race, he’s back to his best form.
- El Bendinat should have been favored in the sixth race at Gulfstream ($30,000 Claiming at one mile on the turf) since she was coming out of decent runs in tougher optional claimers, but was an inexplicable 5-1. She also should have won the race if not for a tentative ride from Joe Rocco, Jr. that had her trapped behind horses for most of the stretch run. My intention is to not add too many out of town horses to the list, but this one I couldn’t pass up.