Due to some time constraints, I’m not able to compose a full entry today. However, I will give some brief explanation of my reasoning behind these picks below:
Race 1: $5 Win 5
Delving into Jemaru’s (#1) lifetime past performances I noticed that he is a perfectly capable router and the stretch out should not be a big issue. I find him to be more reliable than the Jacobson dropdown and the Finger Lakes invaders.
Race 4: $15 Win 7
$5 Win 5
Boy there are a lot of turf horses entered in this race. The only horses who actually seem to prefer running on the dirt are Evan’s Rocket (#7) and the crazy long shot Private Councel (#5). I suppose Schillerette can win also, but that field she beat last time was very weak and I just don’t trust her.
Race 5: $10 Win 4
This isn’t the strongest maiden special weight and I can’t ignore the huge rider switch on You Take the Cake (#4). I think this filly was well meant first time out after an eye-catching 47 1/5 four furlong workout, but she was a bit green. I’m skeptical of the favorites and she doesn’t need to improve all that much to take this.
Race 8: $10 Win 2
Black Pen (#2) was one of the first horses I added to my “Horses to Watch” list when I started up this blog last February. Lo and behold, he finally shows up in the entries again ten months later. I thought he had been compromised by many slow paces and merry-go-round races last winter and I believe he’s better than the past performance sheet makes him look. Whether he’s ready off the bench is another matter, but I’ll take a shot.
Race 3: $10 Win 5
I made Relentless Road (#5) a “Horse to Watch” after he set some crazy paces at Saratoga in route races and didn’t quite until late in the stretch each time. The cut back to a sprint is just what I was hoping his connections would try and his natural speed should give him a big chance in here at nice odds.
Race 10: $20 Win 5
“Horse to Watch” West Side Glory (#5) ran a truly remarkable race last time by setting some blazing fractions and leading for the entire trip before faltering in the final sixteenth. She was much the best that day and has much more ability than that 55 Beyer speed figure would suggest. I think Joel Rosario will be aggressive early and wire this field.
Sorry that I had to be brief, but I’ll try to update later with a recap of these picks as well as some mention of Saturday’s CashCall Futurity. Good luck!
[4:43 p.m. update] – It hasn’t been a great day so far. Jemaru ran his heart out in the first race but got nailed in the stretch by the closing Macho Muchacho. Then Evan’s Rocket seemingly had every chance to come through on the rail and take the fourth race but could never quite seem to accelerate. You Take the Cake was overbet at 6-1 and didn’t lift a hoof finishing last. Black Pen ran respectably in his return, but could only manage second behind the runaway winner He’s So Chic, who got a perfect setup from off the pace. Black Pen certainly bears watching next time, however, since he should move forward off this race.
There’s one left to go and it’s my best bet of the day, West Side Glory in the finale at Gulfstream. She’s currently an overlay at 9-2 with 19 minutes to post.
[5:16 p.m. update] – And… West Side Glory ended up going off at 6-5, which would have been fair odds if she was as good as I thought her last race suggested she was. It turns out she was not. After speeding off to a clear lead through reasonable fractions she came into the stretch looking like one of the drunks stumbling home from SantaCon last night and faded to finish nowhere. Oh well, it was still a winning week.
Be sure to check back at some point during the next week even though Aqueduct will be closed. I plan on adding some new Horses to Watch to the list and also will start writing my pedigree profiles of some emerging Kentucky Derby prospects. I’m considering starting with recent CashCall Futurity (G1) winner Violence.