This isn’t the most enthralling card, so I’ll keep the analysis brief today.
Race 2: Optional Claiming $35,000/N2X at one mile and 70 yards for NY-bred fillies and mares
Schillerette is going to be a short-priced favorite in here, but I wouldn’t be so quick to endorse her. She received a perfect trip last time when recording that blowout win and now steps up to face N2X company for the first time. I also think there are a couple of fillies in here who ran better than it looks on paper in their most recent starts. Silver Prize (#4) and Freud’s Notebook (#5) both contested the pace on January 31st and just went way too fast during the early portion of the race. You have to be pretty good to run a half-mile in 46 3/5 seconds over the inner track and keep going. Freud’s Notebook almost did that as she battled on gamely through the stretch to be second. A repeat of that performance may be good enough to upset the favorite. I’ll also use Silver Prize, who may not be quite as good as these, but can shake loose on the lead early if Cornelio Velasquez decides to take a hold of Freud’s Notebook early.
$10 Win 5 (WINNER; Payout: $43.00)
$5 Win 4
Race 4: Maiden Claiming $16,000 at one mile and 70 yards
Baltic Coast (#4) has faced tougher fields in each of his first two starts and is bred to love the two turns today. Progeny of Quiet American rarely have trouble stretching out and this gelding is half-brother to route stakes winners Danuta and Folk. He also might not have much competition for the early lead, which will help his cause. The price shouldn’t be too large, but I think he’s a pretty likely winner.
$10 Win 4
Race 5: Claiming $20,000 at six furlongs for fillies and mares
Saltamontes (#1) landed on my “Horses to Watch” list after a ridiculous wide trip on December 27th when you needed to be on the rail. She figured to rebound last time, but was off a bit slowly from the inside and wound up getting steadied back to last. She tried to make a wide run on the turn, but flattened out late. Cornelio Velasquez needs to get her out of the gate cleanly today, but if he does, she is supposed to be better than horses like Anecdote and Kiki Chaser. I wouldn’t even mind if she stalks the latter as long as she’s forwardly placed. However, if the pace heats up too much, Hey Babe (#3) could be a threat from off the pace. Her dirt form is a bit buried, but it’s certainly there. The turn back should suit her since she seems to be best as a closing sprinter.
$15 Win 1
$5 Win 3 (WINNER; Payout: $62.00)
Race 6: Maiden Claiming $60,000-$50,000 at six furlongs for three year-old fillies
This is some unconventional reasoning for me, but it proved profitable last week. New trainer Nicholas Esler has not made much of a splash on the NYRA circuit yet, but he’s quietly sent out live runner after live runner. Most notably, he debuted a firster with a hint of ability in Taylor Jagger (for a $35,000 tag) here two weeks ago, who subsequently was added to my “Horses to Watch” list. Then on Monday, he put over a winning one (for $20,000) to the tune of a $47.40 mutuel. Both of those fillies were well spotted and now here is another who is now in for $60,000. If he values his first time starter Single Forever (#8) in this race at three times the price of his winner a couple of days ago, then perhaps she has some ability. She’s bred to be decent since she’s a full sister to a $100,000 earner. Look, this is no certainty, but at the right price, she’s worth a shot.
$5 Win 8 (WINNER; Payout: $88.50)
Race 8: Starter Optional Claiming $25,000 at one mile and 70 yards for three year-olds
I’m very skeptical of Bold and Ready’s ability to get this distance. He was allowed to set a slow, measured pace last time and had nothing left for the drive and today he has to deal with My Way or Dubaiway early. One might look to Sinistra for the upset, but I have trouble believing that speed figure he earned last time and think his performance two back was pace aided. I see only one viable alternative to the favorite and that’s Kentucky Pie (#6). His races out of two are fast enough to win this and he gets a great jockey switch to Irad Ortiz, Jr. If he goes off at his morning line odds or higher, he’s bettable in my book.
$10 Win 6 (WINNER; Payout: $42.00)
[1:12 p.m. update] – Cornelio Velasquez called an audible at the start when Freud’s Notebook ($8.60) broke well and Silver Prize didn’t get out of the gate. She put them to sleep early and had plenty left to hold off the overbet favorite Schillerette late.
[3:03 p.m. update] – It seems that the case of seconditis I was suffering from for the past week has been cured. Hey Babe ($24.80) and Single Forever ($35.40) have helped to make this a great day. I hit the early Pick-4, but didn’t have the foresight to double those two. I used Single Forever in the first leg of my late Pick-4, so I’ll be hoping Kentucky Pie wins the eighth.
[3:55 p.m. update] – Kentucky Pie ($8.40) makes that four winners in five races today. For a card that I didn’t feel too great about, this has turned into quite the day.