Race 1: Claiming $30,000-$25,000N2L at six furlongs
Sokitumi Samurai (#7) is probably going to be a strong favorite here and he should be. Gary Gullo does great with turnbacks and this horse, who has spent the majority of his career in route races, probably could use a shorter trip given his tendency to not always finish off his races that strongly. I have no argument with him, but have another idea.
Fit Fightin Feline (#4) is a bit dirtied up coming off two route races around two turns, which is just too far for this son of Forest Wildcat. Two and three back he had to face some nice horses in Pinball and Flying Zealous and this spot represents a slight drop in class. I like the switch to Jose Espinoza from the past couple of riders who were on him and I’m hoping that he can stay fairly close to the three horses breaking outside of him early. I just think this is a horse who has subtly improved over the winter and may be ready for a breakout performance here. I’ll bet him to win and in the exacta with the favorite and interesting claim Unlimited Power (#6).
$5 Win 4
$2 Exacta Box 4 with 6/7
Race 5: Maiden Special Weight at one mile for NY-breds (off the turf)
I originally liked this as a turf race, but after further consideration, I think it’s a bet-able dirt race as well. “Horse to Watch” Here He Fitz (#6) was a little too aggressively ridden last time and will probably appreciate more patient handling by new rider Cornelio Velasquez. I’m really betting him off this debut effort in which he was very green while racing far back early and made a good charge through the stretch and after the wire to pass the winner by the time they hit the clubhouse turn. His pedigree says that any surface should be fine so I’m not so worried about the wet track. His morning line would represent decent value. I’ll also use him with one of my favorite maidens Thnxtomyuncle (#13), who draws into this race off the Main Track Only list. The one-turn mile may suit this deep closer who is often running on a bit too late in his sprints.
$5 Win 6
$4 Exacta Box 6/13
Race 6: Optional Claiming $62,500/N2X at 1 1/8 miles
This is the feature today. Most are probably going to view this as a match race between Windsurfer and Readtheprospectus, but I have a slightly different take on it. Windsurfer (#3) was really aided by a slow pace and wet track that was kind to speed last time. I’m not so sure that the huge figure is representative of his ability and I’ll use him, but want to concentrate on others. Readtheprospectus is moving up in class, but I really worry about the distance with him. In his last two attempts beyond a mile, which were both wins, he tracked extremely slow paces and was able to use his turn of foot to run down the leaders. I’m not sure that his speed and turn of foot will be as much of an asset going a more demanding 9 furlongs and I’ll try to beat him here.
I’ve landed on Keep Me Informed (#1), who I admit needs to really show up with his best effort, but will be the right price in a race where I’m skeptical of the favorites. The 1 1/8 miles helps him most of all and he’s proven repeatedly that he excels over a wet track. I’m hoping that there’s at least a bit of pace here among Aussi Austin, Windsurfer, and Spa City Fever so that this doesn’t turn into another crawl. In a truly run race, Keep Me Informed can run these down late.
$10 Win 1
$4 Exacta Box 1/3
Race 7: Starter Optional Claiming $50,000 at one mile for fillies and mares
Garnet Street (#3) really represents my “Horse to Watch” list at its finest–now all she has to do is go out and win! I say that because I placed her on the list after a baffling ride at Saratoga on August 2nd where she was never given a serious chance to win the race by a lackadaisical Kent Desormeaux. Next time she showed up on September 8th, she was compromised by a slight track bias that made it difficult for horses to close due to wind down the stretch. After that, I never got a chance to bet her back since she was entered on the turf and then in an impossible spot against classy fillies Centring and Welcome Guest. She was given time off and now returns for the capable Pat Reynolds, who has placed her very realistically. If she shows up with anything close to her best effort, she should win today.
$15 Win 3 (WINNER; Payout: $66.75)
Race 8: Optional Claiming $14,000/N1X at six furlongs for NY-bred fillies and mares
I know she’s a bit slower than some of the other contenders in here, but I’ve been thinking that Pumpkin Lane (#2) has needed a turn back all winter long. She has subtly stepped up her game and showed that last time with a solid performance at this level when cut back to a one-turn mile. I think that six furlongs will be even more advantageous and I think she has more room to move forward than a filly like Alpha J. Ibid is the fastest horse here based on figures, but she’ll have company from Boldchildsrevenge early, and Hundred Acre Wood’s last figure is a little inflated since she made an inside run on a day when the rail was golden. Pumpkin Lane’s morning line of 8-1 will be good enough for me.
$10 Win 2