Race 5: Claiming $12,500 at one mile
I had originally picked Holy Invader and was simply going to skip the race after he was scratched, but after taking a second pass through the field I’ve come upon another wagering opportunity that I had originally overlooked. AWAKE AT T WIRE (#9) has really not had ideal trips in his last few starts. Last time he was hustled away from the gate by Mike Luzzi in an effort to press the lone speed Sovereign Default. While it was an admirable idea, Awake At T Wire is a one-run closer and he was really taken out of his game by these tactics. Two back he was chasing two to three-wide for most of the way on March 17th, a day when the rail was the place to be, especially early on the card. Prior to that was completely over-matched in paceless race against the very good Ruthless Alley.
Today Awake At T Wire is reunited with Jose Ortiz, who had success with him towards the end of last year. He’s a closer and I expect there to be at least a bit of pace up front with speeds Star of Sarava and Sovereign Default drawn right alongside each other. Star of Sarava is dressed up off a gold rail win last time while Sovereign Default was able to control the pace last time in the same race Awake At T Wire is exiting. Hoppy Do is a contender, but I have trouble excusing his poor last race and he also is somewhat dressed up off a rail-skimming trip on March 17th. Awake At T Wire might not be the most likely winner, but I think he’s the right horse to take a shot with at a bit of a price.
$10 Win 9
Race 7: Allowance N1X at six furlongs for NY-breds
SWELL (#4) began his career in promising fashion with a last-to-first win at Belmont, but things really went awry in his second career start. Stretched out to seven and a half furlongs, he broke slowly but then became extremely rank under Manuel Franco. (Watch the replay.) Swell rushed up between horses into a dangerous position as he probably just missed clipping heels while Franco was leaning as far back in the saddle as possible. He advanced into a contending position on the far turn, but unsurprisingly came up empty in the stretch after such an early tussle with his rider. Still, he only finished 1 1/2 lengths out of second place as Samraat ran away from the field.
Swell returns today off a couple of quick workouts and I’ll be hoping that he has matured as a new three year-old and settles better for Chris Decarlo today. He should also be able to work out a trip similar to the one he got in his debut as there figures to be a bit of pace up front to set up his late kick. Brass Pear (#7), who may be the speed of the speed, and recent debut winner Captain Serious (#11) appear to be the main threats off their Beyer figures in the low-80s, but it’s reasonable to think that Swell might be able to match or even better those performances with added maturity.
$15 Win 4
$4 Exacta Box 4,11 (Payout: $32.50)
$2 Exacta Box 4,7
Race 8: Optional Claiming $75,000/C at one mile for NY-breds
Some may think I’m going out on a limb here, but I really do believe that SO SCOTT (#1) is in much better form than his recent Beyer figures suggest. He was severely hampered by slow paces in his first two starts over the inner track this winter before being claimed out of his most recent win by Bruce Levine. Levine confidently bumped him up in class last time and So Scott looked like the So Scott of old as he was obviously loaded in behind the leaders for much of the way before kicking it into high gear as he found running room just slightly too late in the stretch. That race featured a very slow pace up front that really worked against this horse’s strength, yet he was nearly able to overcome it by situating himself closer to the pace and still showing a good late kick.
Today should be a different story as Spa City Fever and Comandante both run their best races up on the pace and should be vying for the early lead. Bake Shop also isn’t exactly slow and should be in pursuit. Rajiv Maragh can just take So Scott to the back of the pack before swinging out for the stretch drive to unleash his late run. When he’s at his best—and I think he is right now—So Scott is about as fast as likely favorite Zivo.
Zivo (#8) can certainly win, but he’s become a popular runner on this circuit and could be an underlay. I would agree with anyone who thought Sailmate (#4) ran very well last time, especially since John Kimmel isn’t really known for winning off long layoffs. However, I do not think he’s a much more likely winner than So Scott, who could be double his price. I’ll bet So Scott to win, but will also use him underneath those two in the exacta.
$15 Win 1
$5 Exacta 4,8 with 1
Race 9: Maiden Special Weight at 6 1/2 furlongs for NY-breds
Unless one of the first time starters is especially quick out of the gate, STENSON (#10) should be able to clear the field from his outside post position. I had felt that this horse ran a lot better than it appeared in his debut when he was wide for much of the way on a day when you needed to be on the rail and he confirmed that opinion last time with a much stronger performance on the Wood Memorial undercard. He battled for the lead with the very quick Station Chief before succumbing in the stretch. That was a pretty quick pace he was chasing and I don’t believe any of the horses in here who have already run will be quick enough to keep up with Stenson early.