Well, here’s the first exception to my prior post. I won’t actually get a chance to watch the races live tomorrow, but I wanted to point out two ‘Horses to Watch’ who are worth a serious look:
Race 2: Maiden Special Weight at 1 1/16 miles for three year-olds
This race appears to be pretty wide open on paper, but there’s one horse in particular who may be a bit better than he looks at first glance. All My Memories (#5) did not run very well when making his career debut over a sloppy track at Saratoga but improved second time out when finishing a decent fourth behind today’s rival Tourist. However, it is his last race that interests me most. All My Memories broke well, but was outrun to the lead and soon became extremely rank and difficult for Cornelio Velasquez to handle. He continued to resent his rider’s restraint around the turn before being squeezed back coming to the top of the stretch essentially losing all chance. Yet All My Memories never stopped running and actually was making up ground coming to the finish once finally angled to the outside.
I’m glad to see that they’re stretching All My Memories out in distance today because I think his true calling may be as a frontrunner going two turns. He clearly resents racing in behind horses so if Cornelio Velasquez can get him to the front early I’m hoping he can use his stamina to outlast his rivals. His dam was a graded stakes winner around two turns taking the Black Eyed Susan and Busher Stakes as a three year-old and she’s a half-sister to the long-winded Miss Hellie, who was stakes-placed at a mile and a half. Clearly, more distance should only help this colt.
My only caution would be that I know a few pretty smart handicappers who see this race exactly the same way that I do and I would be reluctant to take too short a price on this horse. His 5-1 morning line is fair, but if he’s going off favored I’d be less enthusiastic about wagering on him.
$15 Win 5
Race 5: Starter Allowance $20,000 at six furlongs for fillies and mares
I realize that Coast of Sangria (#3) simply appears too slow to beat some of the other major players in this race, but since her price is very likely going to be disproportionate to what I feel are her actual chances of winning, I must pick her. The reason I’m siding with her today is because I think the race she ran two back signals that she still may be just as good as she ever was. And after all, even less creative handicappers don’t have to go back that far in her past performances to realize she was once fast enough to be a factor in this race.
In that December 5th race, she was coming off a nine-month layoff and ran much better than it appears on paper. Manuel Franco placed her in a perfect position in behind the leaders on the rail entering the far turn. However, as the frontrunner Sugar Beach started to fade, Franco made no attempt to get off the rail and go around her so he essentially had to ease Coast of Sangria all the way back to last before Sugar Beach left the rail. Franco was not able to set Coast of Sangria down to a full-out drive until the field was coming to the eighth pole, but she actually rallied nicely in the late stages while just failing to get up for third. I don’t think it’s ridiculous to say that Coast of Sangria might have won this race with a headier ride.
I honestly don’t know what caused Coast of Sangria to run so poorly in her lone subsequent start, but it’s worth noting that she does not seem to perform as well around two turns as she does one turn so perhaps that had something to do with it. This turnback to six furlongs should not pose much of a problem and I truly believe Coast of Sangria is one of a few likely winners of this race. As by far the largest price of that group, I’ll bet her to win and use her ‘underneath’ in the exacta.
$10 Win 3
$2 Exacta 2/6/8 with 3