Monday, October 13
Race 4: Allowance N1X at seven furlongs on the turf for NY-breds
3 – Curious Cal
It’s hard to trust Blue Pigeon to actually win a race, and I’m not bowled over by the recent form of other contenders like Macagone, Slew’s Brew, and Adams Note, so I’ve gone looking in another direction. CURIOUS CAL (#3) is a mediocre dirt horse, at best, but this switch to turf intrigues me. This dam has produced two other foals to race, and both are multiple turf winners. Curious Cal is a half-brother to Princess Mara, a winner of 3 of 11 turf starts, and a three-quarter brother to Joy Seeker, a winner of 2 of 5 turf starts. At what should be a fair price, I’ll take a shot.
$10 Win 3
$2 Exacta 2,5,8,10 with 3
Race 6: Claiming $25,000N2L at one mile on the turf for fillies and mares
11 – Absolute Beauty
I struggled with this race. I’m tired of betting Casey Roo, I don’t love the rider on Too Good to B True, and Flirtatious Spring hasn’t won a race in two years. Veronica Bay makes some sense, but I wonder if she’s better going a bit shorter.
I’ve ultimately decided to take a shot with ABSOLUTE BEAUTY (#11) at a price. Her turf efforts are actually not bad races. She was fifth, beaten just a half-length for second, behind Palace Dreams last summer in a much tougher allowance race, and then she had some minor trouble in November when she got back on the turf at Aqueduct. I was encouraged by the improved speed she showed last time and think she can take another step forward today as she gets back on her preferred surface.
$10 Win 11
$2 Exacta 4,8,10 with 11
Race 7: The Punkin Pie at seven furlongs for fillies and mares
3 – Classic Point
6 – Unbound
This is another very tough race. I’m against Katie’s Garden, who has been solid in her two starts since returning from the layoff, but not so overwhelming that she deserves to be favored here. Voodoo Tales was very visually impressive earlier this summer, but I wonder if she’s going to be quite as sharp coming back off the layoff and those fields she trounced look pretty weak in retrospect.
My top pick, by a slim margin, is CLASSIC POINT (#3). I question her current form, but I have to give her excuses for her last three races. She was overmatched in the Ogden Phipps, lost the Bed O’ Roses at the start, and was then against the race flow and grain of the track in the Gallant Bloom. She finds herself in a much easier spot today and should be more forwardly placed in a race lacking a true one-dimensional frontrunner. If she is able to get back to her better efforts, I think she can win at a decent price.
I also want to use Japanese import UNBOUND (#6). This horse is likely to take some money because Graham Motion is training and Joel Rosario is up, but her form in Japan actually looks pretty solid. Due to the fact that races in that country are run with so many large fields, it’s rare to find horses that win or even finish in the money on a consistent basis. Therefore, I’m impressed by the fact that Unbound was able to earn a check in 6 of her 9 starts, winning three. She also went off at extraordinarily short prices in Japan, considering the field sizes, so I’m guessing that the more knowledgeable Japanese wagering public thought highly of this mare. She appears to be training well at Fair Hill, and I’m guessing that she’ll stack up well against this level of competition. At around 7/2 or higher, I would take a shot.
$15 Win 3 (Payout: $102.00)
$15 Win 6
$2 Exacta 3,6 with 2,3,6,8 (Payout: $76.00)
Race 8: Optional Claiming $62,500/N2X at six furlongs on the turf for fillies and mares
2 – Evening Show
Dauphine Russe is clearly the horse to beat, but I’m taking a shot with first time turfer EVENING SHOW (#2).
A quick glance at the turf production from Evening Show’s dam reveals very little, since she never tried turf and none of her progeny ever tried the turf. However, if you look deeper into Evening Show’s female pedigree, you’ll uncover some very strong hidden turf influences. Evening Show’s dam, Good Evening, is out of Tuesday Evening, who was a pretty solid turf producer, getting four turf winners including Aegon Turf Sprint (G3) winner Fiscally Speaking. Good Evening is also a half-sister to the dams of Mea Domina, a Grade 1 winner on turf, and Greek Sun, a multiple graded stakes winner on turf. Evening Show’s damsire, Dixieland Heat, isn’t the strongest turf influence, but her sire Master Command, wins at a good 15% strike rate with his runners.
Evening Show was given a morning spin over the Oklahoma turf course at Saratoga, and I’m guessing her connections liked what they saw to give her a shot here. She needs to only transfer her dirt form to the turf to have a decent chance to upset this field.
$15 Win 2
$5 Exacta Box 2,12
Race 9: The Pebbles at 1 1/16 miles on the turf for three year-old fillies
4 – Lady Lara
11 – Indian Rainbow
This is one very tricky handicapping puzzle. Of the American runners, I suppose the Walk Close has run the best races, but I’m focusing on the Europeans.
At first glance, Sandiva appears to have kept the best company, but I’m less than enthusiastic about her chances. I get the feeling that Al Shaqab Racing is sending horses to American trainers more out of desperation than intention. Sandiva appears to be a filly that was a precocious two year-old, but has been a disappointment at three. I’m not sure that she wants to go much farther than seven furlongs, and her alarmingly dull effort at Del Mar concerns me.
Kenzadargent makes plenty of sense based on her solid French form, but it’s not as if she was running races in Europe that are any better than a few others in here, and I feel that she’s going to take money just because American bettors more familiar with her. She’s beaten pretty weak fields in her two starts in this country and needs to step it up to win today.
My top pick is LADY LARA (#4). I know that Bill Mott’s numbers with foreign shippers aren’t stellar, but this is not your typical European to American trainer switch. Bill Mott could have only gotten this horse a week or two prior to this race since she ran in England just four weeks ago and hasn’t yet registered a workout in this country. It appears that it took her a little while to figure the game out, but her recent form is very strong. She has finished in the money in three straight races against older males, and two back was an excellent third when losing by a couple of necks to 10-for-36 lifetime Custom Cut and recent Woodbine Mile (G1) victor Trade Storm. If Lady Lara runs to that level today, she is probably not going to lose.
The other Euro that I want to use is INDIAN RAINBOW (#11). It’s hard to know what to make of her German form, but unlike Sandiva, who was sent to race here by the same owner after disappointing in Europe, it appears that this filly was privately purchased out of her breakout performance. She began her career in Germany and showed promise, finishing second in a roughly run German 1,000 Guineas, but I’m most encouraged by her most recent effort in France. She faced a solid field and was sent off at a big price in the Group 3 Prix de Lieurey, and made a nice late run to finish second over very soft ground. She should have no trouble handling any give in the ground today and if she runs back to that effort, I see no reason why she isn’t just as dangerous at Kenzadargent, who will likely be a shorter price.
$20 Win 4 (Payout: $212.00)
$15 Win 11
$5 Exacta Box 4,11