Race 3: Maiden Claiming $50,000 at six furlongs for fillies and mares
Jilly Mac (#3) is likely going to be a very heavy favorite in this race and she can certainly win. Her debut was a good effort in which she chased a loose on the lead Ms. Sylvia A. while mildly against the grain of a racetrack that was favoring the inside path. I don’t think there was much finishing behind her, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see her win today off the claim by David Jacobson.
However, the likelihood that she is going to be an underlay, especially given the way people love to overbet strong favorites around here, has me looking elsewhere. I’m going to take a small shot with Rumble Doll (#2), who was seriously compromised in her last race both by her own greenness and racing three-wide around the far turn on a day when you wanted to stay close to the rail. As she did in her debut, Rumble Doll broke well and got into a good position chasing from third down the backstretch, but things started to go awry as the field hit the turn. (Watch the head-on replay.) She appeared to resent being put in tight quarters as a horse ranged up on her outside and she actually took a hard bump off the filly just to her inside before dropping back. Entering the stretch, she was once again herded out badly as horses to her inside angled out for running room. All things considered, she stayed on well enough for third and left me with the feeling that she could have a lot more to offer with a clean trip.
Jilly Mac and It’s Easy don’t appear to be all that fast early so I’m wondering if Rumble Doll might be able make the lead here and wire the field. What’s gotten her into trouble in her first couple of starts is a tendency to be intimidated by her competition soon after the start, but that won’t be a factor if she’s out in front. I’ll bet her to win at what should be fair odds and will box her in the exacta with the favorite.
$10 Win 2 (WINNER; Payout: $89.00)
$5 Exacta Box 2/3
Race 7: Maiden Claiming $40,000 at one mile
I already made my argument in favor of Old Upstart two and a half weeks ago when I picked this horse prior to him being scratched out of the maiden special weight race won by Bay of Plenty. I’ve copied the following (with a few minor edits) from that entry:
While I freely admit that I have no idea if this horse possesses any real ability, I think there’s reason to believe that the many changes he’ll be experiencing this afternoon could have a positive impact on his performance. Old Upstart met a nice field in his debut, which included next-out stakes winner Ami’s Holiday, but lost all chance at the start when he was squeezed back to last. He broke much better in his second start and showed good speed before backing away on the turn. He didn’t give up, however, and stayed on fairly well to only be beaten by 2 3/4 lengths. He then moved to Brian Lynch’s barn and put in a dull effort going seven furlongs after enduring a very wide trip.
What intrigues me most about Old Upstart is the switch to dirt. He is by Offlee Wild out of an unraced daughter of the excellent racemare Darling My Darling, who was second in both the Matron (G1) and Frizette (G1) as a two year-old before winning stakes at three and four. Darling My Darling only raced on dirt during her career and was bred to dirt sire Fusaichi Pegasus to produce Old Upstart’s dam. Old Upstart, until now, has only raced on Woodbine’s Polytrack, which often favors horses with pedigrees that are more turf-oriented. There are no real turf influences in his pedigree so it’s reasonable to think that he could move forward in his initial dirt start. Additionally, he is bred to stretch out in distance so today’s one-turn mile should pose no problem.
I know that David Duggan does not sport very good layoff statistics, but Old Upstart has put in a couple of quick works coming into this race, including a bullet half-mile from the gate two weeks ago. Considering the speed he showed in his second career start coupled with today’s addition of blinkers, I would not be surprised to see him sent to the lead. It’s also possible, but not a certainty, that he’s a new gelding for this race since he was listed as a colt last time.
This $40,000 maiden claimer is probably a more realistic spot for Old Upstart (#1) than the maiden special weight he was scratched out of in March, but he does meet a few horses who have already proven they have some ability. Most notably, Killer Crossover (#3), the likely favorite, has to be considered the main challenger as he drops out of maiden special weight company. Last time he ran better than it appears as he was involved in a torrid early duel with next-out winner Spartiatis in a race that collapsed late. Neclassic (#4) is a new gelding for this race after facing tougher company in maiden special weight races as a two year-old. Finally, Jackson N Lorimer (#6) disappointed in his February return, but may have needed the race and could appreciate finally getting on a fast track.
I’ll bet Old Upstart to win, but will also use him underneath the three aforementioned contenders in the exacta.
$15 Win 1 (WINNER; Payout: $69.00)
$4 Exacta 3/4/6 with 1
Race 8: Allowance N1X at 6 1/2 furlongs for NY-bred fillies and mares
I feel like this race is filled with horses that I don’t want to bet. I can’t touch Kilnockagain after she had absolutely no excuse to lose her last race. I know she ran well for Michelle Nevin off the long layoff, but her two starts for David Jacobson have left a lot to be desired. Agilion was mildly against the track two back, but did absolutely no running last time. I’m starting to feel like she peaked as a two year-old and just has not matured into a filly fast enough to win a race like this.
Finally, In Her Day looks almost too obvious and could go favored since nearly every smart handicapper is bound to land on this Linda Rice trainee as their selection. While inner track surface on March 3rd was intensely biased towards the rail early in the day, I’m not convinced that the racetrack was still favoring inside paths as strongly by the time In Her Day’s race was run. Too many horses out of that race and later ones ran perfectly logical, formful figures after getting wide trips for me to believe the rail was still the place to be during the second half of the card. In Her Day will have to run faster than her maiden win as she steps up against winners here and I don’t want to bet a favorite like that.
The only horse that I could possibly turn to with any amount of confidence is Bileaps and Bounds (#3). While it was accomplished against softer competition, at least she showed two back that she can run fast enough to win this race. Last time they stepped her up into a starter allowance race that came up considerably tougher than the spot she lands in today. (My Donna Jean and Mama Zee both returned out of that race to run 80 Beyers in their subsequent starts.) Bileaps and Bounds dueled for the lead before succumbing late, but I don’t think she has to have the lead to be successful. She drew well today as she breaks outside of the quick Little Miss Lupe and figures to put that foe away at the top of the stretch. She’s worked well for Jeremiah Englehart since her first race off the claim and I’m encouraged that there’s no immediate drop back in for a tag.
Although others in this race have had moments of glory in the past, and In Her Day might be best of all down the line, I’m willing to rely on Bileaps and Bounds to prove to be the best of this bunch today.