Thanks to everyone who followed along over the past seven weeks. It was a great meet with challenging racing, and I’m proud to say that it was a winning one. See you at Belmont!
Monday, September 1
Race 1: Optional Claiming $62,500/N2X at 1 1/8 miles on the turf for fillies and mares
3 – Keening
I see three main contenders in this race: Keening, Clearbrook, and Lady of Gold. Of those, I’m not sure that Clearbrook has enough of a kick to win a race going this short, so I’ll instead focus on the August 2nd race that Keening and Lady of Gold are exiting. I felt that KEENING (#3) ran the better race that day as she was quickly taken back to last behind a moderate pace, and launched a long rally to get up for second, just beating out Lady of Gold, who I thought got a very good ride. She seems to be improving and I think this nine-furlong distance will help her.
$15 Win 3 (Payout: $62.25)
Race 2: Maiden Special Weight at six furlongs for NY-bred fillies and mares
1 – Brad’s Ruby
As I started going through this race, I thought that BRADY’S RUBY (#1) would be the last horse that I’d want to pick, but as I looked into her competitors, I just can’t shake the feeling that this is an exceptionally weak race. If you throw out Brad’s Ruby’s last race, when something clearly went wrong, her dirt races are really not that bad and make her the horse to beat. Furthermore, she seems to be working very well, and she should be the main speed from the rail.
$10 Win 1 (Payout: $49.00)
Race 4: The Hopeful (G1) at seven furlongs for two year-olds
5 – I Spent It
Competitive Edge (#6) is an extremely talented racehorse, and the quality of his debut has been validated by the performances of the horses that have returned to run out of that race. However, Saratoga Special winner I SPENT IT (#5) is a gifted runner as well, and I prefer his running style in a race loaded with speed.
I know that the Saratoga Special came up a slower race than the Adirondack, but I think you have to differentiate between your assessment of the race as a whole, and the individual performance of I Spent It, who was much the best horse. It’s not as if I Spent It got some dream pace setup, because he was right up close early chasing that hot pace. He was clearly full of run coming to the top of the stretch, but Javier Castellano had to step on the brakes as the horses in front of him began to back up. When two year-olds are forced to lose momentum like that, most are not able to get back up to full speed in the late stages of a race, but I Spent accelerated when a narrow hole opened up on the rail, and ran away from Mr. Z, who had all the momentum rallying outside in the clear. This is a serious racehorse, and I think he’s the one you want today given the probable pace scenario.
I’m betting I Spent It on top, but I’m also going to throw Sharm (#2) underneath in trifectas just in case this race totally falls apart late. Sharm needs to improve some more, but his running style fits the projected pace scenario and I thought he might have gotten discouraged by spending too much time on the rail in his last.
$20 Win 5
$10 Trifecta 5 with 2,6 with 2,6
Race 5: Maiden Special Weight at six furlongs for NY-breds
5 – Keen’s Cupla
7 – Stenson
I respect the entry, particularly Shimba (#1), who was away slowly last time, and was a solid second in a very fast race. That said, I’m slightly against him because this entry is going to be a very short price—probably an underlay—especially with Castellano on the other half.
KEEN’S CUPLA (#5) ran very well in his debut, and I think he took a sneaky step forward next time, despite the fact that he finished four lengths behind Shimba. He was ridden a bit too aggressively early and ended up having to chase four- to five-wide all the way around the far turn. Despite that, he never quit through the stretch in a pretty good effort. You can throw out his last turf race, and if he takes another small step forward, he can win this race.
STENSON (#7) is a horse that I’ve liked ever since his debut when he was very wide off the gold rail on March 16th. He ran much better after that against some very good horses at Aqueduct before falling apart in the mud at Belmont. He should appreciate getting back on a fast track today, and I’m hoping that he has a bit of improvement in him, because I still believe that he’s a bit better than he looks on paper.
$15 Win 5
$10 Win 7
$2 Exacta Box 1,5,7
Race 6: Claiming $40,000 at one mile on the turf
2 – Where’s Danny
I can’t resist taking one more shot with WHERE’S DANNY (#2) today, as he gets to run over footing that he likes best. This horse really woke up when he got some cut in the ground at Aqueduct in the spring, and I think he’s going to encounter a similar sort of surface today. I know that this is a tough spot, but I don’t think it’s any tougher than the field he faced on July 18th when he ran a better-than-it-looks fourth. He’s going to be a huge price this time and I have to take a shot.
$10 Win 2
$2 Exacta 4,6,7,11 with 2 (Payout: $83.00)
Race 8: Allowance N1X at 1 1/8 miles
8 – C J’s Awesome
I thought that C J’S AWESOME (#8) was the horse to beat in this race, and I feel like he’s going to be a fair price. The argument can be made that he ran the best race of all last time, and that effort has since been validated, and even flattered, by the subsequent performances of Bay of Biscay and Away Game. C J’s Awesome is a runner that his connections really loved before his debut at Gulfstream, and while it’s taken him a little while to figure the game out, I think he’s finally showing why they were so high on him.
Perhaps I should be more concerned about the pace since a few others figure to show speed as well, but I find it encouraging that he was able to successfully rate last time and I view him as the most likely winner.
$15 Win 8 (Payout: $97.50)
Race 9: The Saranac (G3) at 1 1/8 miles on the turf for three year-olds
4 – Cabo Cat
I liked Ring Weekend at 9-2 last time, and feel that I was right about his turf ability when he got an excellent ride and finished a good second behind Tourist. However, today he is going to be the favorite as he stretches out an extra furlong, which I don’t think is necessarily going to help him. I recognize that he can win, but I think there is value to be had elsewhere.
I’m picking CABO CAT (#4). Being by Kitten’s Joy, out of a Swain mare, he should relish the extra ground he gets today. I also think he won’t be hindered by a turf course that has taken some rain, since he put in an excellent effort three back on good ground, when he made the first move in a race that fell apart. Last time, I know that the race looks disappointing on paper, but he was taken way too far behind a moderate pace set by Tourist, and was actually doing some running in the stretch despite being left with too much ground to make up. I think he can turn the tables on Ring Weekend today and win this at a decent price.
$15 Win 4
$5 Exacta 4 with 1,5,10
Race 10: Claiming $16,000 at seven furlongs
6 – I Want You to Know
Shankopotamus is the horse to beat, but I’ll take a small shot against him with I WANT YOU TO KNOW (#6). I’ve never thought that this horse really wants to go two turns, so I’m especially encouraged by his two most recent efforts, in which he set honest paces and hung on well through the lane. He appears to be in relatively good form and this distance figures to be perfect for him.
$10 Win 6