Race 3: Starter Allowance $40,000 at six furlongs for three year-old fillies
I liked Horse to Watch Appearance (#4) quite a bit last time and while I was wrong about her wanting a route of ground I don’t think I was wrong about her overall ability. She contested a solid pace before running off with Taylor Rice leaving the backstretch. She understandably got leg weary late and was run down by strong finisher My Jimmy Chew Girl. I still feel that we haven’t yet seen the best of this filly and expect improvement today as she turns back to six furlongs. With the exception of Stage Name, there is a lack of pace in this race so Appearance should get a perfect trip sitting just off that foe early. I think she’ll offer decent value to win at odds of around 2-1.
I’ll also use her in the exacta over Fast ‘n’ Firm (#1), who was hurt by a bias last time, and Brown Mellisa (#2), who was turning into a solid closing sprinter at this level before a failed attempt routing. I’m not a fan of Zimbabwe Lady, who will likely take money based solely on the trainer switch to Michelle Nevin. This filly has yet to prove to me that she has any real ability as her lone competitive figure was earned while racing on a strong rail.
$15 Win 4 (WINNER; Payout: $35.25)
$5 Exacta 4-1
Race 5: Starter Allowance $16,000 at six furlongs for fillies and mares
There’s a lot going on in this race. I suppose I’ll start with horses who are likely to take money that I want to play against. Haldane is the morning line favorite, but I cannot support her in this spot since she is dressed up by both great trips and some misinformation in her past performances. Her win two races back earned an 82 Beyer speed figure, the best of her career. The number looks a little suspicious and closer examination reveals that it’s incorrect. She was credited with an official final time of 1:12 4/5, yet Trakus lists the final time as 1:14.00. On a day when timing was complicated by foggy conditions, I’m inclined to believe the Trakus time and feel confident in saying that the 82 Beyer speed figure she was assigned is wrong. It should be closer to a number in the high-60s or low-70s.
Last time Haldane came with a visually impressive late run up the rail to just miss winning, yet Trakus reveals that she actually ran a slower race than fifth place finisher My Donna Jean when ground loss is taken into account. Haldane can win today if things set up for her, but I feel that she’s going to be an underlay.
I don’t want Mess in a Dress either, even though she is likely to be a larger price. She was assigned an 81 Beyer speed figure for her most recent start, which I find hard to believe given her competition. As discussed in a previous entry, the figures for the first four races on March 3rd appear to be highly questionable and I’ll need to see those horses run those races back before I take them at face value. That said, I do think she’ll appreciate the turnback in distance, but still feel that she’ll find this field too tough.
I’ve landed on My Donna Jean (#7), who seems to just keep getting better for new trainer Ed Barker. She hinted that she might have turned a corner five races ago when she was a very strong second after a disastrous start and trip, and her efforts since have supported that notion. It’s also worth noting that she has especially stepped up her game whenever Irad Ortiz, Jr. has taken the reins. He seems to understand that this mare needs a gentler touch to show her best and if he can coax her into duplicating her last race I think she will win right back here. I’ll bet her to win since the price should be fair and I’ll use her over and under solid contenders Vinda (#2) and Matching Skies (#8) in exactas.
$15 Win 7 (WINNER; Payout: $47.25)
$2 Exacta 7 with 2/8
$2 Exacta 2/8 with 7
Race 6: Starter Allowance $20,000 at one mile and 70 yards for fillies and mares
Once again, I am way against a horse exiting the fourth race on March 3rd. The winner that day, Darnley Bay, rode a very strong rail for much of her trip and in doing so earned a Beyer speed figure of 81, which is far out of line with anything she had accomplished previously. Like many of the other figures handed out early in the day on March 3rd, I’m skeptical and expect to see her regress today.
While, of the shorter priced horses, I prefer Very Cherry Candy (#2) and Amulay (#6), I still cannot resist taking a shot with Prize Taker (#5). I know that she’s disappointed more often than not, but she’s received some pretty disadvantageous trips throughout the inner track season and always leaves me with the feeling that there’s room for improvement. Last time she was once again very wide on both turns and made the first move into a race that collapsed late. This distance may be at the outer limit of how far she really wants to go, but I’m intrigued that they’re experimenting with taking the blinkers off. Chris Decarlo has had a couple rides aboard her now and knows what to expect from this amazon of a filly.
$10 Win 5
$5 Exacta 2/6 with 5
Race 8: Allowance N1X at six furlongs for NY-bred fillies and mares
I feel strongly that Kilnockagain (#7) is the horse you are supposed to bet in this race. While her most recent start appears to be a disappointment, keep in mind that she was against the rail bias whereas today’s rival Spinit to Winit spent her entire trip down on the rail. While it’s impossible to say who ran the better race that day, it is fair to say that Kilnockagain deserves the benefit of the doubt and should be expected to get back to her better efforts here. The prospect of Spinit to Winit being favored over Kilnockagain only adds to my selection’s appeal since her best races are simply faster than what Spinit to Winit has run recently. Kilnockagain’s morning line of 2-1 would be a fair price on this very likely winner.
$20 Win 7