Wednesday, August 13
All picks for dirt
Race 2: Maiden Special Weight at seven furlongs for NY-breds
6 – Broadway Bay
On paper, there are two main players in this race, of which I prefer second time starter BROADWAY BAY (#6). His debut is better even than it looks on paper, as the running line comment fails to mention that he was off slowly, losing about two lengths of position at the start. He was slow into stride thereafter, but really got rolling in the stretch, and made an eye-catching run to just miss second behind a runaway winner, who he actually caught on the gallop-out. This son of Flower Alley should love the extra furlong he gets to work with today and I think he’s a likely winner.
The aforementioned other primary contender, Warrior’s Hero did run well two back, but I think that the Beyer speed figure he received makes him look better than he actually is. The winner of that race, Four Directions, came back to run badly against winners, despite getting a favorable pace setup, and there just wasn’t much else in that field. I know that Warrior’s Hero visually battled on gamely to the wire that day, but I just don’t think he’s quite as good as Broadway Bay, especially if that one takes any kind of step forward.
As a silly extra play, I’ll throw Broadway Bay in an exacta with Wildniteattheopera (#4)—those who know me: how can I resist a name like that?—a half-brother to Two Moons, who loved a wet track, that appears to be working well for his debut.
$15 Win 6 (Payout: $42.75)
$2 Exacta Box 4,6 (Payout: $23.80)
Race 3: Allowance N1X at 6 1/2 furlongs for NY-bred fillies and mares
3 – Letshootpool
I suppose that Sheriffa (#2) is the most likely winner, but she’s going to be a short price and, despite some wide trips recently, has basically had her chances at this level, so I want to take small shot against her. There are two Finger Lakes shippers in this race. One is probably going to take quite a bit of money off a seemingly positive trainer change, but I’m more interested in the other one, LETSHOOTPOOL (#3), who actually owns the better recent form. I know that she’s never won on a wet track—and doesn’t win much in general—but her last two sloppy track efforts were actually pretty good. Most notably, last time out she was badly left at the gate, and made a premature wide move into contention before flattening out late. At anything close to her morning line odds, she’s the one I want to bet.
$10 Win 3
$5 Exacta 2-3
Race 5: Maiden Claiming $40,000 at six furlongs for NY-bred fillies and mares
8 – Muberra’s Dream
1 – Mary’s in Utopia
This is a very evenly matched field on paper, but I have a feeling that a few horses are going to take more money that others, I’m not convinced that they really deserve to. For instance, Kleptocrat ran decently in her debut, but she was awful last time after a perfect trip and stopped so badly that I’m a little concerned about her current form. Keep Right has had plenty of chances and always gets bet, while Penella, who finished a head behind her last time, didn’t actually do much running that day and just isn’t very good.
I’m going to take a shot a the new face as my top pick. MUBERRA’S DREAM (#8) has never raced on dirt, but she is a daughter of Utopia, whose progeny typically do best on this surface. She has faced slightly better horses against open company at Woodbine, and showed good early speed last time on the turf. If she can translate that early foot to the main track, she’s probably going to be in front here since there really is no other confirmed frontrunner in this race. I’m not sure how good she actually is, but I think the price will be large enough to warrant taking a shot.
I also want to use my second choice, MARY’S IN UTOPIA (#1), who will probably be ignored on the tote board, but has actually run just as well as Keep Right and Kleptocrat recently. Her last race looks pretty bad on paper, but she got an awful ride that day as she was sent up to chase five-wide all the way around the far turn after breaking slowly. Today she draws the rail and should be forwardly placed. She’s not the most likely winner, but I think she’ll offer good value.
I’m betting each of these two prices to win and will use them in exactas with Senso, who did have a legitimate excuse for her poor effort last time when she, too, got hung out to dry around the turn. I don’t know how good she is, but I’d rather use her than some shorter prices to her inside.
$15 Win 8
$10 Win 1
$2 Exacta Box 1,8,9
Race 6: Optional Claiming $62,500/N2X at 5 1/2 furlongs (off the turf)
1 – Great Attack
I’m assuming that the Main Track Only entrants that drew into this race are going to take the bulk of the play and I think that would be a mistake, considering that GREAT ATTACK (#1) has stayed in this race. If you parse through his form to find his dirt races—especially those on wet tracks—you can make the argument that he’s actually the horse to beat. After going slightly off form last year, he seems to have come to hand once again for Tony Dutrow. I would expect Rosie Napravnik to send Great Attack early to chase Zee Bros, who is unproven on a wet track and is a major question mark off the layoff. I think that Great Attack is a better dirt horse than both Eastwood and Piquant, and anything at or above his morning line price of 5-2 would be excellent value.
$20 Win 1
Race 10: Claiming $25,000N2L at six furlongs
1 – Mister Popsicle
He won’t be as large a price after scratches, but I believe that MISTER POPSICLE (#1) is the most likely winner of this race. His win sprinting on dirt second time out was fine and since then he has run in three nearly impossible spots, all on turf. I’m encouraged by the good speed he showed last time when getting Lasix and blinkers for the first time, and the trainer switch to Chris Englehart certainly doesn’t hurt.
$15 Win 1 (Payout: $59.25)