I’ve included written analysis of the 7th through 11th races, and will be tweeting my thoughts about the others throughout the day.
Sunday, August 17
Race 2: Claiming $16,000 at 6 1/2 furlongs for fillies and mares
2 – Go Olivia Go
$15 Win 2 (Payout: $63.00)
$5 Exacta Box 2,3
Race 4: Allowance N1X at 1 1/8 miles for fillies and mares
1 – Unbridledexplosion
$15 Win 1
Race 6: Allowance N1X at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf for NY-breds
8 – Greeley Pack
9 – Billy the Bull
$10 Win 8
$10 Win 9 (Payout: $70.00)
$2 Exacta Box 8,9
Race 7: Claiming $50,000N3L at one mile on the turf for fillies and mares
4 – Lemon Song
LEMON SONG (#4) is a horse that I’ve been looking for in the entries ever since her last race, which concluded a series of three bad trips during the spring/summer meet at Belmont.
On June 8th, Manuel Franco’s saddle slipped leaving the backstretch, and he lost the ability to control Lemon Song midway through the race. She ran up outside entering the stretch, but he could not properly ride her out to the finish, as she was basically eased in the final eighth. Then two back, Franco misjudged the pace and placed Lemon Song too far back in a tightly bunched field, when she should have gone on to lead early.
However, neither of those trips compare to the one she orchestrated for herself on July 6th, when she reared up leaving the gate, spotting the field about four lengths. She then commenced a mid-race move to take herself up into a contending position entering the stretch, but understandably faded thereafter.
Lemon Song’s form is dirtied up, and I think she fits at this level. A two-turn mile is a bit of a question mark for a filly that may have some distance limitations, but she should get a great trip sitting just off a relatively slow pace today. I have to take a shot with her at a price.
$15 Win 4 (Payout: $97.50)
Race 8: Optional Claiming $62,500/N2X at six furlongs
6 – Evening Show
2 – Making Havoc
Much like yesterday’s eighth race, this is a confusing wagering puzzle featuring a group of evenly matched allowance runners. Our Amazing Rose is a major question mark as she comes out of a couple of route races, one on the turf, in which she barely picked up her feet. Perhaps she just doesn’t want to go long, but you have to be a little concerned about her current form. I’m going in a different direction.
EVENING SHOW (#6) is my top pick. She had run some very fast races during the summer of last year before tailing off towards the end of the season. She may have needed her return at a demanding seven furlongs, and now cuts back in distance and takes the blinkers off. She has reportedly been training well in the interim and I think her stalking style will fit this race well.
At a bigger price, I’m also interested in MAKING HAVOC (#2), who steadily improved in some easier spots out of town throughout the spring and summer, and was an intriguing claim by Phil Serpe late in the Belmont meet. Serpe has been on a roll recently, and this filly feels like one who was claimed with the intention of freshening her up for a race at the Spa. There are no confirmed frontrunners in this race, so I’d like to see her used aggressively from the start. She’s shown a great deal of grittiness when allowed to lead the field into the stretch, so perhaps she can hold them all off at a price.
$15 Win 6
$10 Win 2
$2 Exacta Box 2,6
Race 9: The Alydar at 1 1/8 miles
2 – Dawly
4 – Easter Gift
I’m mildly against likely favorite Alpha, who has needed his first start back off long layoffs in the past, and should face early pressure from either Csaba or Stormin Monarcho. Instead, I’m focusing on the two closers in the race, DAWLY (#2) and EASTER GIFT (#4). Both were compromised by slow paces in their recent races at Monmouth, which is not the easiest surface over which to make closing runs in the first place. They also each own prior form that indicates they are good enough to beat the favorite.
$10 Exacta Box 2,4
Race 10: The Sword Dancer (G1) at 1 1/2 miles on the turf
4 – Main Sequence
7 – Twilight Eclipse
5 – Imagining
MAIN SEQUENCE (#4) is not your typical European runner that woke up with a big race in its first start in the U.S. Rather, he was a legitimately good three year-old in Europe—after all, he was second in the Epsom Derby (G1)—and has merely refound that form on this continent. (I don’t believe in bounces anyway.) His United Nations win was much stronger than the small margin of victory suggests, as he had to fly through the lane to get up in a race where no others made strong closing runs. He should be favored here, and would be a fair and bettable price at 2-1 or higher.
There are a few strong American runners in this Sword Dancer, but the race lacks depth, and I’ll be very surprised if both Imagining (#5) and Twilight Eclipse (#7) finish out of the trifecta. Both are capable at this level and should gallop around the track towards the front of the pack in a race that includes a few plodders. I’m not sure that either will be able to hold off the late charge of Main Sequence, but I’ll bet them to round out the logical trifecta.
$20 Win 4 (Payout: $61.00)
$10 Trifecta 4 with 5,7 with 5,7 (Payout: $246.00)
Race 11: Maiden Special Weight at 1 1/16 miles on the turf
8 – Mambo At The Gym
7 – King of Bay
Breakeven Analysis (#3) is the horse to beat if he’s ready to return his relatively strong two year-old form. Of the horses that are going to take money, I prefer him to Hines, who has had his chances and probably wants to go longer than today’s mile and a sixteenth distance. That said, Breakeven Anlaysis is not going to be that big of a price, and I’m not sure how good he actually is, so I’ll take a few small shots against him here, while definitely still using him in multi-race wagers.
MAMBO AT THE GYM (#8) is a horse that caught my eye last time in a competitive maiden race. I figured that he would improve for new trainer Michael Wilson, and that was indeed the case, as he made a decent late run in a race that pretty much held together on the front end. He needs to improve again to make an impact today, but I think he finds himself in an easier spot, and the potentially overlaid price makes him an appealing option.
I’ll also use KING OF BAY (#7), who has plenty of turf pedigree, and may find himself in a forward position in a race lacking a clear pace scenario. As with Mambo At The Gym, I’m not sure if he’s really good enough to win this race, but this feels like a relatively weak race for this level and a good spot to take a shot with a new face.
$15 Win 8
$10 Win 7
$5 Exacta 3 with 7,8 (Payout: $181.25)