[Racing has been cancelled.]
Race 2: Maiden Special Weight at 1 1/16 miles for three year-olds
Winter Games (#3) was soundly beaten by Brabbham last time, but the pace scenario that day was very different from what is likely to play out today. Bellamy Chief was allowed to dawdle along on the lead last time as Irad Ortiz, Jr. was intent on rating a keen Brabbham so the eventual winner had plenty left in the tank when the field turned into the stretch. Winter Games meanwhile, started to drop back entering the far turn as the tempo quickened up front, but he never quit as he stayed on through the stretch to secure third.
Winter Games has improved with each start and figures to relish the extra sixteenth of a mile he gets to work with today. With speed coming from Frame, Brabbham, and certainly Distorted Dream, the pace of this race could be contested and that will help Winter Games grind them down late.
$10 Win 3
Race 4: Maiden Special Weight at 1 1/16 miles for three year-old fillies
U. S. S. O’Brien can certainly win this race, but I would never bet on her. She is even money on the morning line and figures to drop even lower by post time. Her two most recent races have both been good, but she’s really had no excuse not to get the job done and I’m skeptical of her duplicating those performances at two turns. In my estimation Fade to Black’s (#7) chances of winning are about equal to those of U. S. S. O’Brien, but she is probably going to be twice the price of that rival or more. Fade to Black should also be able to control the pace once again, which will only help her cause. Given her stellar female family, I’m inclined to think she has more room for improvement than the favorite.
I will also make a smaller, secondary wager on Wraith (#1), who looks pretty hopeless on paper, but may be set for a vastly improved performance today. Wraith was off slowly last time and was just never in the hunt behind runaway winner Taris. The race received a large Beyer speed figure, yet surprisingly nearly every horse who finished behind Taris still took a major step backwards in their speed figures. So then it’s conceivable that the race may have actually been 10-15 Beyer points better than it appears based on the prior performances of most of the also-rans. While Wraith’s dam has not yet distinguished herself, she comes from a strong female family tracing to her third dam, Stick to Beauty, the dam of champion and influential broodmare Gold Beauty. The extra distance should help bring her into the race and the addition of Lasix suggests that her connections are expecting better. I’m guessing a bit here, but I would not be surprised to see Wraith run a much improved race second time out.
$15 Win 7
$6 Win 1
Race 5: Claiming $12,500 at one mile and 70 yards
I’ll feel even more confident in this pick if the track is playing to inside speed again today, but even on a fair racetrack Osceola Prince (#5) figures to be a major factor. He’s a horse who really needs to get to the front early to run his best race and he certainly has the right jockey on his back to accomplish that task. Star of Sarava is the only other horse in this race who could pose a problem for Osceola Prince, but his jockey is not quite as aggressive as C. C. Lopez and I’m pretty confident my selection will be able to clear and get over to the rail early.
Osceola Prince has been facing tougher competition than what he meets today. Jason Servis brings him back just six days after he failed to get to the front going six furlongs, but the conditions of this race should be more to his liking. His primary late threat figures to come from Smokin Candy, who is also dropping in class, but I’m not convinced that he will produce one of his better efforts around two turns and also don’t think you’ll get anywhere near his morning line price of 8-1. Osceola Prince, on the other hand, should go off in the 5-1 to 6-1 range and is a great bet at that price.
$10 Win 5
Race 8: Allowance N1X at 5 1/2 furlongs for NY-breds
Obviously I wasn’t pleased to see Marriedtothemusic should up in the same race as my ‘Horse to Watch’ The Brothers Rap (#1), but there are a couple questions the favorite has to answer today. Marriedtothemusic should face a bit of token pace pressure from both Ed’s Magic and Billy the Bull and also must show that he’s ready to run a winning race off this four and a half month layoff. Marriedtothemusic is the most likely winner of this race, but he’s going to be a very short price and I cannot resist taking another shot with my ‘Horse to Watch.’
The Brothers Rap put in an excellent effort three races back towards the tail end of his two year-old season when he was a rallying third behind Go Get the Basil and Escapefromreality, either of whom would be favored in this race. They tried to stretch him out in distance in his subsequent start and his effort was much better than it appears on paper (Replay). Guillermo Rodriguez was trying to advance along the rail to take up a closer position when he was forced to steady and take up losing position and essentially getting shuffled out of the race. Despite that trouble The Brothers Rap actually stayed on well to get up for fourth and ran much better than the 48 Beyer figure would suggest.
Last time he returned going six furlongs and broke a step slowly in a large field. He passed a few horses on the backstretch and once again made a nice rail rally to get up for fifth behind next-out winner The Big Deluxe. He’s clearly a horse who likes to make a rail run as that’s how he’s achieved all of his success, so I’m glad to see him draw the rail once again. All of that said, make no mistake—he needs to take a major step forward second time back from the layoff to beat Marriedtothemusic, but he’s going to be a huge price and I don’t think he’s without a chance to post the upset.
$10 Win 1
$5 Exacta 5/7 with 1