Sunday, August 31
Race 2: Claiming $20,000 at seven furlongs for fillies and mares
4 – Go Olivia Go
I recognize that Coast of Sangria will probably win if she runs back to her last race, but I wonder if we’re going to see that sort of performance again. That effort came out of nowhere and she’s been claimed since then. Not only does she now go out for a trainer with a less than stellar first-off-the-claim record, but she has apparently been shipped to Illinois and back in the month since her last race.
I’m taking the in-form GO OLIVIA GO (#4) to beat her. I know that there have been some ups and down in her career, but the fact of the matter is that her two races for Bruce Levine have been very good efforts. While she’s never won at seven furlongs, I think you can make the argument that this is the perfect distance for her. If Dash to the Flash goes after Coast of Sangria early, that would only help Go Olivia Go’s cause, but it’s not as if she needs a fast pace in order to come running late. At odds of around 3-1, I think she’s a good bet.
$15 Win 4
Race 4: Claiming $40,000N2L at one mile on the turf
11 – Q Two
I didn’t think that the July 21st race at this level was particularly strong, and I don’t completely trust March Reward, although I recognize that he is a contender. I know that some smart handicappers like Yellow Mountain, but I view his one good race up here last year as equal parts illusion and fluke.
There are plenty of ways to go in this race, but I only see one horse that I really want to bet. Q TWO (#11) has not run that well on dirt, but he is supposed to move way up with this surface switch. I have to think that he was claimed with the intention of getting this horse right to the turf, given his obvious pedigree for the grass. After all, he is a full sibling to Bright Abundance, who won the Noble Damsel and Marshua’s River on turf en route to netting over $300,000 in earnings on the grass. At what should be a decent price, I have to take a shot with this one.
$10 Win 11
Race 5: Optional Claiming $62,500/N2X at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf
11 – Escapist
3 – Cajun Breeze
This is another very tough race. I’m taking shots with a couple of horses who I think will offer value, but many have chances to win.
ESCAPIST (#11) never had a chance last time after he broke about a length slowly and was out of position for the entire race. Today, with an outside post, I think he’s going to be sent to the front and I believe that he’s faster than Summer Breezing and Power World. He’s stepping up in class here, but I view him as a real danger to wire this field at a decent price.
I also want to use long shot CAJUN BREEZE (#3), who has only sprinted on turf four times in his career, but has run some of his best races doing so. His two turf sprint efforts at Gulfstream this spring actually give him a chance here and he has the speed to stay in the game early. He’s probably going to be ignored on the board, but I would not ignore this horse.
I’ll be betting both of the aforementioned two to win and will use them with the very logical Hear the Footsteps (#6).
$15 Win 11
$10 Win 3
$2 Exacta Box 3,6,11
Race 6: The Glens Falls (G3) at 1 3/8 miles on the turf for fillies and mares
6 – Irish Mission
10 – Caroline Thomas
IRISH MISSION (#6) is the most likely winner of this race, yet I don’t think she’s going to be the favorite. By definition, that makes her a great bet. She’s run excellent races in each of her last two starts, despite the fact that one was at a distance that was two far for her and the other was too short. Eleven furlongs is perfect, she should sit a good trip just in behind the speed of Viva Rafaela and Baffle Me, and I’m picking her on top.
However, I have to also use my friend CAROLINE THOMAS (#10), who has been in very good form this year and actually didn’t run that badly in the Diana, when she was hindered by a moderate pace. Abaco came back to show just how good that race was, and I believe Caroline Thomas can win this with a similar effort.
$15 Win 6 (Payout: $63.75)
$10 Win 10
$5 Exacta Box 6,10
Race 8: Maiden Special Weight at one mile on the turf
5 – Sycamore Lane
If you’ve seen Alexahente’s (#3) debut, it would be hard to leave him off your tickets. Perhaps he was just green and needed a race, but he was ridden very conservatively through the stretch, and you have to think that he can do much better today with that race under his belt. I’ve picked another horse, but I’ll definitely be using him.
I’m trying SYCAMORE LANE (#5) off the layoff. He was really starting to put things together towards the end of last season, and has a right to be much better now as a three year-old. Bill Mott has pretty good numbers off layoffs of this type with maidens and it appears that this one has been working aggressively for his return. Also, while I don’t think Phil Teator gave this horse particularly bad rides last season, the switch to Irad Ortiz certainly doesn’t hurt.
$15 Win 5
$5 Exacta Box 3,5
Race 10: The Spinaway (G1) at seven furlongs for two year-old fillies
1 – Condo Commando
My take on CONDO COMMANDO (#1) is that she was the most impressive debut winner of any horse in this race, yet she is probably going to be no lower than third choice in the wagering because that race came against maiden claiming company. However, it’s not as if that effort was entirely surprising since she has the pedigree to back it up. Her dam, Yearly Report, was a very fast racehorse who won 6 of 10 starts and over $800,000.
Others have speed in here, but I think that Joe Bravo has to send Condo Commando from the rail, and I expect to see her setting the pace early. It’s tough for a two year-old to wire a field going seven furlongs, but I think that this filly has a great deal of ability, and if she finishes the way she did last time, they are probably not going to catch her. Rudy Rodriguez has quietly done a superb job with his two year-olds this season, and a Grade 1 win here would be fitting.
Favorite Angela Renne is definitely a contender, and I thought that the Adirondack was a pretty strong race overall. The problem is that she was only third best in there, since the third place finisher had serious trouble and probably should have finished ahead of her. I just think that Condo Commando might be a more talented filly than her.
$20 Win 1 (Payout: $87.00)
Race 11: Claiming $25,000 at 1 1/16 miles on the turf
11 – Cheyenne Nation
Of the two dropdowns, I’m much more skeptical of Hard Enough, who is seemingly worth a lot more than $25,000 and goes out for connections that have no obvious reason to give this horse away for so little. That’s not the case with CHEYENNE NATION (#11), who also is dropping down. He is being sent out by an owner who is trying to hold on to a meet title that is currently in his grasp, so I understand why they’re running this horse for today’s claiming tag. Cheyenne Nation’s last race was an excellent effort and if he runs back to it, I doubt anyone in this race will beat him.
$15 Win 11 [off the turf]