Race 1: Maiden Special Weight at six furlongs on the turf for two year-olds
It’s possible that neither is very good, but I cannot ignore the likely difference in price between Valuetempo (#7) and favorite Spanish Armada. Valuetempo finished only 1 3/4 lengths behind Spanish Armada in their respective debuts on June 6th, and while Spanish Armada didn’t really do any running, Valuetempo was actually making up a bit of ground at the end despite racing greenly. He did not handle the dirt last time, but now gets back on his preferred surface. Unless one of the first time starters can run, there does not appear to be much quality in this field so Valuetempo may be able to contend for top honors with just slight improvement.
$10 Win 7
Race 2: Allowance N1X at one mile on the turf for NY-breds
Aesthetique (#3) impressed me with her powerful maiden win here last fall, and had every right to need her return after the layoff, especially considering that she was traveling a distance that may be short of her best. She also did not have an ideal trip that day, rating behind a slow pace before encountering traffic while she was hitting her best stride in the final furlong. There isn’t much pace signed on, so Aesthetique can probably control things up front before asserting her superiority through the lane.
$20 Win 3
Race 5: Maiden Special Weight at one mile on the turf
MAMBO AT THE GYM (#10)
I spent a long time analyzing this race, and none of the contenders were really speaking to me. Jimmy Fillpot and All My Trails had trouble last time, but I’m not convinced that either is all that good. Uptown Joe’s two year-old form is solid enough, but Kenneally’s numbers off layoffs leave something to be desired. All Included is a half-sibling to one pretty solid turf horse, but Include is not a strong turf sire and I wonder if he’ll be an underlay in a confusing race. And finally, you have to assess morning line favorite Jimmy Soul, who apparently ran fairly well in his turf debut. However, I do not buy the Beyer that race received, and it has not been validated since.
I ultimately decided to take a stab in the dark with Mambo at the Gym (#10). This horse’s form is eerily similar to that of Simply Spectacular, who has won consecutive races at large prices for this same owner/trainer/jockey combination at this meet. Like Simply Spectacular, Mambo at the Gym enters this race off lackluster Tampa form for Curtis Garrison, but has shown marked improvement in his Aqueduct drills since being switched to the capable Michael Wilson.
On an unrelated note, I’m a sucker for a clever name, and I do love how Mambo at the Gym’s connections arrived at his…
$10 Win 10
Race 7: The Wild Applause at one mile on the turf for three year-old fillies
There is a distinct lack of pace in this Wild Applause Stakes, and it usually isn’t the worst idea to rely on Joel Rosario to judge these situations correctly if he’s on a horse with even a little bit of speed. Nisharora (#2) does appear to possess just that, having competed effectively in a few turf sprints in France and Italy. Notably, she actually beat successful U. S. import Testa Rossi in her five-furlong debut, so it’s reasonable to assume she has some ability. I’m hoping to get much better than her 3-1 morning line, but I would take a shot with this horse at around 5-1 or better.
$10 Win 2
Race 8: Claiming $25,000 at six furlongs on the turf for fillies and mares
HAPPY RECAP (#2)
Love to Score and Kilnockagain are probably going to take the majority of the play here, but I don’t really trust either one. Love to Score at one time would have been a certainty to crush this field, but she has really gone the wrong way recently and Rudy Rodriguez’s runners do not do well moving from dirt to turf.
Lumineuse (#11) has run well enough in her turf sprints, is in reasonably good form, and drew an advantageous outside post position, which should give Rosario Montanez some options in a race with other speed types. I think she’ll be the best price of the logical contenders and is the one that I want the most.
I will also use long shot Happy Recap (#2), who is by 24% turf sprint (11-for-46) sire Big Brown and out of a dam who has produced 3 turf winners.
$15 Win 11
$10 Win 2
Race 9: The Bed O’ Roses (G3) at seven furlongs for fillies and mares
STREET GIRL (#10)
For me, this was a fairly easy call. Street Girl (#10) has proven that she’s best sprinting and should get a great pace setup here with speedy runners like Five Star Momma, Ultimate Shopper, and Classic Point entered. Frankly, she is an awesome bet at anything close to her morning line odds. Merry Meadow and Lion D N A are both in pretty good form, but I think they’re a cut below Street Girl and may be overbet as they each step up into a much tougher spot today.
$20 Win 10
Race 10: Optional Claiming $40,000/N2X at 1 1/16 miles for NY-breds
QUIET POWER (#5)
I want horses who can race close to the pace here since this race is filled with late runners who are probably going to be pace-compromised. I’ve never been much of a fan of Ultimate Empire (#6), but it’s hard to ignore that he’s the lone speed in this field. Still, I slightly prefer a couple of horses who should be tracking that runner early.
Quiet Power (#5) gets an interesting trainer switch to Sydney Dutrow, who has been inactive for the last four years, but has done great work on this circuit in the past. Quiet Power was against a strong rail bias in his final race of 2013, but had previously run well enough to win and should be a fair price. I will also use Socialsaul (#7), who faced some tough fields of open claimers earlier this spring and finds himself in an easier spot here.