Tomorrow I’ll be going on a rare trip to Parx so I figured that I’d post my picks for a couple of the races. I’m pretty unfamiliar with the jockeys and trainers as well as surface tendencies, but I’ll take a few stabs nonetheless.
Parx, Race 1: Claiming $7,500 N2Y at six and one half furlongs
I see a pretty obvious pace play in this race. Slick Idea (#6) appears to be the lone speed and may be the most classy horse in the race. At one time Dusterino would have been able to challenge for the lead and perhaps even be favored to win, but since being claimed away from Cathal Lynch, he has lost his good form as well as his early speed. As the race stands now, no one appears to want the lead except Slick Idea and, when he’s able to get it through moderate fractions, he’s usually pretty tough to get by. His form may seem spotty, but keep in mind that he’s been placed in some very tough spots in the past year. The lowest price he’s been in for recently has been $12,500 and most of these don’t even venture into those waters. The drop in class combined with the perceived pace advantage should make him a likely winner.
$10 Win 6
Parx, Race 3: Claiming $10,000-$8,000 N2L at one mile
When certain factors such as connections and venue are unfamiliar to me, I fall back on assessing overall class as my preferred handicapping angle. It led me to Slick Idea in the previous race and I’m hoping it steers me in the right direction here. I would suspect that I’m supposed to be pretty afraid of Noctivagent, who is moving into the barn of Ramon Moya, the latest mid-Atlantic training sensation. He wins at 54% first off the claim and 38% overall at Parx, but I wonder how much he’s going to improve on solid trainers like Phil Aristone and Peter Walder, who had the horse previously. I’m predictably going for the New York horse because I have to believe the fields Castles Burning (#6) has been facing are tougher than what she meets today. After registering a field-high 66 Beyer when breaking her maiden at Aqueduct in April, she was put on the shelf for six months and moved to the barn of Nick Zito. She was confidently placed in a NY-bred allowance race for her return and finished last versus much tougher. In her next start she showed a bit more life, splitting the field in a $15,000 claimer. That race was won by Discreet Lady, who came back to give a good account of herself when facing $30,000 fillies and mares last week. I know the distance is a major question, but I’m hoping she can stalk the speedy Jade Empress early and just find herself clearly in front when that one collapses.
$10 Win 6
Parx, Race 7: Allowance N1X at one mile
I’m guessing that Dilatory is going to be favored here, but I have a hard time liking him. He’s coming into the race off two blowout wins, but they were both against much weaker company, particularly in the case of that last race at Penn National. I think some may also project him to the main speed, but I expect there to be pressure from Sanchise to his inside. Sanchise (#2) is making his fourth start since an eight month layoff and I think he is going to be ready to fire his best shot today. Late in his three year old season, he had shown some real promise in a few maiden races finishing second to both Thunder Lord and Crushing, two decent allowance horses. After breaking his maiden, he didn’t give a bad account of himself versus winners, but he also had bad luck on a couple of occasions. Following the break, he returned in a couple of sprints at Monmouth and Delaware and made mild late bids in each of them. When stretched out to his preferred route of ground last time at Parx, he was an encouraging second at this same level. Jeremy Rose sticks around for the ride and I think there may be another small step forward in him now that he has that first route under his belt. If he can recapture the form he displayed last winter, which really doesn’t require that much improvement, I think he’ll win.
$10 Win 2 (UPDATE: Late scratch at the gate)
Parx, Race 8: Allowance N1X at one mile
This is the second division of the previous race and this time there is a clear favorite who I don’t think can lose. Spin Out (#2) should be a very short price, so I won’t be playing him to win, but if I’m in a position to play some Pick-3s or Pick-4s, he is a definite single. His races in New York between June and August would all trounce this field and he’s had excuses in his two recent poorer efforts. On September 29th, the track was really helping speed early in the day and his trip prevented him from making an impact. Next time, he was off slowly at Parx and forced to close into a slow pace. With a clean break today he should be forwardly placed early and run away from these in the stretch.