Race 1: Optional Claiming $75,000/N1X at 5 1/2 furlongs for NY-bred two year-old fillies
After a couple of key scratches this race is loaded with speed horses whose chances I’m not exactly thrilled about. I won’t try and tell you that Looksgoodfromhere (#4) is the best horse in this race, but I think she’ll get the best setup as the only reasonable closing option in the race. I know that she had seemingly put away Bridget Moloney last time before succumbing to that foe late, but I still thought she showed a good turn of foot coming off the turn and the five and a half furlong distance may actually work to her advantage.
$10 Win 4
Race 3: The Lord of the Night Stakes at one mile and 70 yards
Praetereo is a bit of a conundrum for me. At first glance he just looks faster than the rest of this field, but a closer look into his recent form brings up some questions. He was able to parlay a fast pace and perfect rail-skimming ride to an impressive 102 Beyer score two races ago, but the two efforts sandwiched around that win were not good efforts. Three races back when he was stretched out to a distance similar to what he’ll face today, he sat off a fast pace and should have been more effective in the stretch. Then last time he got another good setup, but didn’t come with his usual late kick until it was far too late. I know that race was only six furlongs, but I’m wondering if his form is starting to tail off towards the end of a hard campaign. He can certainly win, but he’s not a horse I want to waste money betting at a short price.
Farhaan (#2) is the most likely winner in my eyes by a slim margin. Seven furlongs may just be too short for him, but he would have been much closer at the end two races back if not for a horrendous start that caused him to fall far behind early. His last race was decent, but I think getting back to two turns may help his cause.
That said, I’ve landed on Colleen’s Sailor (#4) since he figures to be a much more appealing price. This is a dirt horse who has spent the majority of his career racing on turf and Polytrack. When he has been given the chance to race on his preferred surface, the results have been excellent. He was a strong third in the Prince of Wales on dirt as a three year-old and is now coming off two authoritative victories at Finger Lakes. Some may dismiss him simply due to the fact that he’s been keeping weaker company, which is true, but I don’t think he’ll have to run that much faster to win this race.
$10 Win 4
$4 Exacta Box 2/4 (WINNER; Payout: $99.20)
Race 4: Maiden Claiming $50,000 at six furlongs two year-old fillies
I picked Go West Marie (#5) last time and her performance was just too terrible to be an accurate representation of her ability. I thought she’d be the main speed, but she hit the gate at the start and was forced to chase outside on a day when you wanted to be right on the rail. She folded early and has since been given plenty of time off. She now returns in a realistic spot for trainer Carlos Martin and I’m hoping she has matured over the course of the past few months. They paid $52,000 for her at the two year-old sale because she showed some serious speed in her workout so perhaps today she will finally reproduce that in the afternoon.
$10 Win 5 (WINNER; Payout: $126.00)
Race 6: Claiming $12,500N2L at six furlongs
It’s hard to trust anyone in this race now that David Jacobson has scratched the logical choice Whatabouthonor. I’m stabbing in the dark a bit with this selection, but I wouldn’t overlook Ocala Jim (#3). I know that he appears to be a better turf horse, but he’s had to deal with extremely wide trips in his two most recent dirt races and last time was not persevered with through the stretch. There should be plenty of pace for him to close into with Keltic Fighter, Two More Jacs, and M P Ruckus all figuring to show speed. I know that he has to run a little faster, but perhaps the class relief will make the difference.
$10 Win 3
Race 7: Optional Claiming $14,000/N1X at one mile and 70 yards for NY-bred fillies and mares
Little Rita (#8) has actually been keeping better company out of town at Finger Lakes through her last two races. Horses like Clean Jean, Princess Mara, and Floating Alone would all handle this field pretty easily so I wouldn’t be too hard on Little Rita for those recent subpar efforts. She showed prior that she is fast enough to win a race like this and she figures to get some pace to run into with Sugar Beach and Concealed likely to hook up early. While I don’t think I’ll get her 20-1 morning line odds, she is a contender who should be an enticing price in a race that is pretty wide open.
$10 Win 8
Race 8: Optional Claiming $25,000/N1X at 1 1/16 miles
I was pretty bitter about the disqualification of Finn’s Quest last time since I had picked him at an overlaid 12-1. The stewards made the right call, but it’s frustrating to be right about a long shot and not get anything for it. However, now his good dirt form is exposed and he’ll be a much shorter price. I just can’t bring myself to bet him back today, especially since I don’t think stretching out to two turns will help his cause.
I’ve landed on Idle American (#5), who has actually rounded into some of the best form of his life over the past few starts. He ran the best race of his career three back to just miss after a preposterously wide late run on the Aqueduct turf and last time actually was running on well after being caught in behind horses for much of the stretch drive. He’s going to need some help up front to get the job done, but he should be a big price and I don’t think he’s any worse than about five or six other horses that will be shorter prices.