Race 1: Claiming $30,000-$25,000 at six furlongs
I’m going against Talented Wiz, who was able to earn a lifetime best figure last time by setting a dawdling pace. I’ll have to see him run that fast again before backing him at a short price. I’m also not using Ancient Rome, who may be a bit slower than these anyway and beat a much weaker field last time at this level. I like Classic R and B (#5) right back and moving up in class. He had valid excuses in each of his two recent losses and I think he’s actually as good as those mid-80s Beyers he earned before and after. I will use him with Into the Fray (#1), who has already run well enough to be competitive here and may move up off the David Jacobson claim.
$10 Win 5
$5 Exacta Box 1-5
Race 4: The Super Mario Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on the turf for two year-olds
How can I not try to make a case for Noosh’s Tale (#4) in here after getting him to the wire in front at 54-1 last time? I know this is a huge step up in class, but I think there’s a case to be made that this one has more in the tank. He was very green even in winning last time and his breeding suggests that the best is still ahead of him. He’s a half-brother to Yield Bogey, who won over $300,000 on turf and was competitive in graded turf stakes until the age of eight, not to mention a slew of other turf winners from this dam. I love the pedigree, but I admit he needs to show more. Notacatbutallama (#2) won’t offer much value, but it’s hard to knock him, so I’ll try to get my longshot into the exacta with him.
$5 Win 4
$5 Exacta Box 2-4
Race 6: Maiden Special Weight at one mile on the turf for two year-olds
I have two pedigree plays in this spot. I know that Efficient Market and Metro make a lot of sense based on their prior turf races, but I think they will also attract most of the play. Mr. Beauregard (#8), didn’t do much running in his debut, but also found himself running in one of the tougher maiden fields assembled this fall in New York. They finished up six and a half furlongs in 1:15 2/5 seconds that day and any number of the top four finishers seem like they may have nice futures. Furthermore, on his dam’s side, Mr. Beauregard gets plenty of turf pedigree and Discreet Cat has shown that he can get a good turf horse when paired with the right broodmare. I like him to move up in his turf debut at a nice price. I will also make a smaller bet on Inception (#6), who was purchased for a gaudy $225,000 last fall and also has a nice turf pedigree. His sire, best known for winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic, was an excellent turf miler in Europe, and his dam won 4 of 8 turf starts stateside earning up to a 94 Beyer. H. James Bond can win with this type and he should offer some value.
$10 Win 8
$5 Win 6
Race 7: Maiden Special Weight at five and one half furlongs for two year-old fillies
I’ve been waiting for Live Lively (#2) to run back since her debut this past June at Belmont Park. She ran into two nice fillies that day in Baby J and Seasoned Warrior and was up against it from a pace perspective trying to close into a 46 second half after some minor trouble early. Her dam, Glacken’s Gal, was 2-for-2 before being prematurely retired, but she did win the Astoria Stakes early in her two year-old season, so there is precocity in the family. Mark Hennig does decently off this type of layoff and she’ll present better value than Cubicle Queen, the likely favorite.
$10 Win 2 (Payout: $54.00)
Race 10: Claiming $16,000 at 1 1/16 miles on the turf
It’s hard to trust anyone in this race, but what’s even harder to trust is that any of these jockeys are going to ensure an honest pace given that most of the top contenders are closers. That’s why I’m tentatively going with Davins Ticket (#9), who ran the best race of his life when moved to turf at Saratoga going five and one half furlongs. He had some minor trouble that day, but even his 70 Beyer speed figure would make him competitive here. I have no idea if he can handle the distance, but I think he’ll be forwardly placed early, which should help him.
$5 Win 9
[3:31 p.m. update] – I almost got home that chalky exacta in the opener, but then Noosh’s Tale faded late in the fourth race and my two longshots in the sixth failed to show up. However, I was able to cash on Live Lively ($10.80), who got a perfect trip sitting just off the two favored speeds before overtaking them in the stretch. Lady Banks, who closed late for second in that race may be one to watch down the line after she got off slowly and put in a big late run for the place.