Sunday, February 8
Race 2: Starter Allowance $50,000 at one mile and 70 yards
4 – Howl
I picked HOWL (#4) last time, and while he only finished fifth beaten 8 lengths, I don’t feel that I was totally wrong about him. He went extremely wide around both turns, and Trakus data reveals that he traveled an incredible 80 feet farther than the winner, Cee No More. That’s the equivalent of at least eight lengths, and a little quick math reveals that he actually maintained a faster average speed than Cee No More. Today he should be able to tuck in behind the two speed types drawn inside of him, and I believe that he has a chance to beat this field at a price. I’ll use him with the very consistent The Spotted Wonder (#2), as well as Zander Zone (#5) and Mambo at the Gym (#7).
$15 Win 4
$4 Exacta Key Box 4 with 2,5,7
Race 3: Optional Claiming $62,500/N2X at one mile and 70 yards
1 – Golden Itiz
GOLDEN ITIZ (#1) lost all chance at the start last time when he reared up and spotted the field about five lengths. He was claimed out of that race by the always dangerous Michelle Nevin, and with routine first-off-the-claim improvement, he can beat this field. Additionally, his running style fits this race very well, since he should be sitting a perfect trip stalking the speedy Celebrated Talent. I think that foe is up against it in this spot, so Golden Itiz should be perfectly positioned to take over in the stretch, getting first run on the closers.
$20 Win 1
$5 Exacta Key Box 1 with 3,6
Race 7: Claiming $25,000N3L at six furlongs
3 – First Ranger
We took a tough beat with FIRST RANGER (#3) last time when he was run down by recent Jacobson claim Golden Story. When First Ranger is feeling good, few horses can match his reflexes leaving the starting gate, and I expect him to outrun the other speeds in the early stages of this race. I believe that if he repeats or builds on his last effort, he can win this race. I don’t think we’ll get the 8/1 morning line, but a price around 4/1 would be more than fair.
$20 Win 3
Race 8: Optional Claiming $75,000/N1X at one mile for NY-bred three year-old fillies
2 – In Spite of Mama
I liked IN SPITE OF MAMA (#2) when this race was first drawn last week, and I’m even more enamored with her now that she’s been assigned an inside post this time. Not only does she face a much softer field today than she’s met in each of her last two starts, but she figures to get a much better trip. Two back she was against a strong rail when chasing Freudie Anne, and then last time she was forced to race four-wide around both turns. She was never beating the top two that day, but she likely could have finished much closer with an inside trip. She’s better than her recent speed figures suggest. The two fillies dropping out of the Busanda make sense, but I’m not quite convinced of the quality of that race, and think that In Spite of Mama is an intriguing upset possibility.
$20 Win 2
$5 Exacta Key Box 2 with 5,8
Race 9: Maiden Claiming $25,000 at 1 1/16 miles for NY-bred three year-old fillies
7 – Sweet Cherokee
In the finale, I have to take a shot with the new face in the cast, SWEET CHEROKEE (#7). This filly was overmatched in her debut, but really wasn’t persevered with past the three-eighths pole when Jose Lezcano sensed that she was beaten. Today she gets Lasix and stretches out in distance. She’s certainly bred to appreciate more ground, being by Musket Man, and out of a dam that has produced three multiple route winners, including 13-time dirt route winner Stop Hunting. I’d like to see Fernando Jara hustle Sweet Cherokee out of the gate and try to take this field wire-to-wire.
$15 Win 7