Thursday, September 11
Race 3: Claiming $50,000N3L at six furlongs on the turf
7 – Joking
Shore Runner (#2) is the horse to beat and the most likely winner, but he’s going to be a pretty short price in here, and I think that he faces a serious foe in JOKING (#7). You have to go back a ways in his past performances, but Joking actually ran some pretty decent turf races last year. Most of those efforts came routing, but he has since proven that he’s probably better sprinting, at least on the dirt. He comes into this race off an effort that’s a bit better than it looks on paper after being steadied at a critical point in the stretch run, and I think he can move forward off that race. Today’s conditions should suit him well.
$10 Win 7
$10 Exacta Box 2,7
Race 6: Maiden Special Weight at one mile for two year-old fillies
5 – Classy Teacher
Of the horses that have run, Cover Up (#1) and Kinsley (#9) appear to have the most upside, given their pedigrees for the distance, but I’m going in a slightly different direction. CLASSY TEACHER (#5) made her initial start going two turns on the turf, and things just didn’t quite work out for her as she was never really put into a position to make an impact. The pace was fairly slow and Classy Teacher was wide while rated at the back of the pack. Coming around the far turn, Castellano tried to advance, but the field started to bunch up in front of him and he was forced to swing very wide to find a clear path. Classy Teacher was then bumped slightly entering the stretch, and Castellano, realizing that he was not going to get a major check, basically wrapped up on her. This filly should have more to offer with that experience under her belt, and she’s actually better bred for dirt than turf. At around 10-1, I think she’s worth a bet.
$10 Win 5
$5 Exacta 1,9 with 5
Race 8: Allowance N1X at one mile
3 – Demander
The August 16th race that a few of these horses are exiting was an oddly-run affair in which two horses, who were by no means standouts on paper, totally dominated while the nine others all put in subpar efforts. For that reason, I don’t want to be too hard on any of the three horses running back in this spot, especially considering that 7th-place finisher Scam came back to beat the runner-up Waco here last weekend. Additionally, all three entered back here had some sort of excuse for their efforts, since all of them were entering that race of layoffs, and Surfing U S A basically lost any chance at the start.
I had been most interested in DEMANDER (#3) before that race, and he did nothing to deter me from wanting to bet him back here, as he was one of just two horses to actually make up ground in the stretch. This half-brother to Neck ‘n Neck impressed me with his maiden win at Gulfstream last winter, but has had trouble getting back to that effort since. His most recent start was a step in the right direction, and I expect another forward move here. Racing around one turn seems to be what he does best, and he should get an honest pace ahead of him with Surfing U S A, Mosler, and Encryption all possessing speed. I think he’d be a great bet at his morning line price of 12-1.
$15 Win 3
Race 9: Maiden Special Weight at seven furlongs on the turf for NY-bred fillies and mares
5 – Roman Reign
Bella Kateri (#11) is a deserving favorite and a very likely winner if she repeats her last race, but I want to take a bit of a shot against her with second time starter ROMAN REIGN (#5), who should offer some value. Peter Pugh does a fantastic job, and this filly has every right to take a big step forward off what I thought was an encouraging debut. While she finished only eighth, she was really running on late after breaking slowly, and only missed third by a length and a quarter. Additionally, she galloped out very well after the wire, suggesting that the extra furlong and a half of today’s race should work to her advantage. I also feel that she may be coming out of the toughest race of all, as Verismilitude and Southern Sunshine appear to be pretty decent runners. She has more upside than most, and it’s not as if she has to improve all that much to be a major factor here.
$10 Win 5
$10 Exacta 11-5