Race 1: Claiming $20,000 at one mile for NY-bred fillies and mares
There are two win candidates in this race. Rodinia is 3-5 on Eric Donovan’s morning line and she’ll probably go off at close to those odds. She can certainly win, but she was aided by a gold rail in her last win and is mildly dressed up off that effort. The likely second choice, Great Gracie Dane (#2), may in fact be the better horse since she’s been dirtied up by less than ideal trips recently. Two back, she ran an excellent race to get up for third after breaking well behind the field. (Watch replay) Then last time she was asked to make a wide move on the far turn in a race that really held together up front. I expect her to be closer to the pace today in such a small field and she should be able to run down Rodinia in the stretch.
$15 Win 2
Race 3: Starter Allowance $40,000 at 7 1/2 furlongs for fillies and mares
While Star Magnolia is the speed of the speed on paper, she does figure to take some early pressure from stretch-out sprinter Conzig and also William’sluckygray, if she gets another hustling ride from Eddie Castro. Star Magnolia meets a much tougher field here than what she beat last time and I also question whether she’s going to be as effective at this longer distance. I prefer the horse just to her outside, Star Empress (#5), since she’s already been successful going a mile and has kept better company in maiden races.
That said, I’m going to take a small shot against both of them with a longer price who I think has a chance. Brown Mellisa (#3) appeared to regress last time, but realistically, what chance did she have in that paceless race won by Spinaway (G1) victress Sweet Reason? Prior to that she had run a decent second behind Rock Me Mama in a race at this level, which followed a maiden score that was achieved in impressive fashion after getting left at the gate. Her best effort isn’t that much slower than what Star Empress has run and I think she could relish this extended sprint distance today. Additionally, any residual moisture left in the track will not hurt. Her chances will be enhanced if Star Magnolia runs off to set a fast pace down the backstretch and draws a few others into chasing positions. I’ll bet Brown Mellisa to win and will box her with Star Empress in the exacta.
Update: Brown Mellisa was scratched.
$10 Win 3
$5 Exacta Box 3/5
Race 5: Claiming $16,000N3L at 6 1/2 furlongs
I’m going to give Demon’s Deputy (#1) one more chance. I can’t explain his terrible last race in which he just did not lift a hoof at any point, but I can’t ignore the fact that he ran much better than it appears the time before that when he was wide against a strong rail bias. In this race, I’ll be hoping that Pepe goes after Ten Items or Less early and softens that one up for some of the late runners. Mi Hijo is the horse in the best current form, but if Demon’s Deputy can get back to some of the races he ran for Leah Gyarmati I still think he’s the better horse. I’ll bet him to win and use him underneath the aforementioned Mi Hijo (#4) and returning Jade Run (#3).
$10 Win 1
$5 Exacta 3/4 with 1
Race 7: Optional Claiming $75,000/C at one mile for NY-bred fillies and mares
Miss Da Point (#4) has run consistently better races than any of the others entered here. Her race two back was a much stronger effort than it appears on paper since her saddle slipped midway through the race and she ran off with Emanuel Esquivel, who was not even able to properly ride her in the stretch. If you believe the Beyer speed figure of her last race then I suppose it wasn’t that bad of an effort, but I was mildly disappointed that she had so little to offer that day. However, that March 24th card did produce a few wacky results, interior fractions, and final times, so perhaps I should be forgiving of the race in general. Her connections waste no time bringing her back in this spot so you have to think she’s doing well.
Both Carameaway and Princess Mara have speed to her outside, but each have tried rating tactics in recent races so I won’t be surprised to see Emanuel Esquivel just seize control from the start and try to wire the field. Miss Da Point’s main competitors appear to be Dreaming of Cara and Lady Gracenote. While I’m a Dreaming of Cara fan, I’ve had enough of her hanging late while racing on dirt this winter and will wait for her return to turf before playing her again. Lady Gracenote at one time would have been a major threat to my selection, but I wonder about her current form as she enters this race off a three-and-a-half month layoff after having been entered and scratched over a month ago.