Saturday, February 21
Race 2: Claiming $12,500 at one mile and 70 yards
1 – Pleiadian
PLEIDIAN (#1) is in better form than it appears. He lost all chance when he stumbled badly at the start last time, and was essentially out of position for the entire race. The time before that he was forced to chase a contested pace while racing against much tougher company. This time, with very little early speed signed on, he is supposed to control the pace from the rail. If he is able to set a comfortable early tempo, I don’t think he’ll lose. His main competition figures to come from Rap d’Oro (#3), who has been off for two months after a disappointing effort on New Year’s Eve, though his prior efforts make him dangerous.
$20 Win 1
$5 Exacta Box 1,3
Race 4: Claiming $12,500 at six furlongs for fillies and mares
7 – What the Frost (scratched)
Obviously, My Tee Time (#5) towers over this field. Her recent races are just faster than what the others have been running, which is what makes this steep drop in class all the more suspicious. Jacobson places his horses where he believes they can win, but surely the good My Tee Time could be competitive against tougher fields than this. If she shows up, she’ll win, but I’m not sure what to make of her at a very short price.
I have to give another chance to WHAT THE FROST (#7). In some ways, this race might be better suited to her than the one she was entered in last time, when she stumbled and lost her rider at the start. I maintain that her effort on December 15th was better than it appears as that race was dominated by horses that rode the rail, and she was running on strongly in the stretch despite her wide trip. I’m hoping that Diane Balsamo has her back in form, and if that’s the case I think she can post the upset.
$15 Win 7
$10 Exacta 5-7
Race 5: Claiming $12,500N3L at six furlongs for fillies and mares
7 – Manhattan Gin (scratched)
Much like My Tee Time in the prior race, Ridingwiththedevil’s (#6) drop in class raises some red flags. After a dull effort for $50,000, these connections are just giving her away for much less than her form would indicate she’s worth. She’s the most likely winner, but at a short price, I’m wary of her.
MANHATTAN GIN (#7) is where I’ll land. I know that she looks too slow on paper, but her last race is better than the speed figure suggests. That race featured four speed types, and Manhattan Gin was hard-used early to outrun all of them to the lead. She withstood a strong challenge from Casual Elegance on the turn, but just could not hold off the winner, who received a perfect setup. It’s noteworthy that Casual Elegance came back to win here on Saturday, earning a 67 Beyer, and third place finisher Jealous returned in the same race, also improving her speed figure significantly. Manhattan Gin certainly ran better on January 25th than both of those runners, and I think she’s in much better form than it would appear. If she is able to shake loose from the other speeds early, I think she can be around at the finish at a price.
$15 Win 7
$10 Exacta 6-7
Race 6: Allowance N1X at 1 1/16 miles for NY-breds
5 – Sea Raven
Changewilldoyagood (#1A) is the horse to beat based on his two dirt efforts. He proved last time that he can handle a fast track, and he’s versatile enough to adapt to almost any pace scenario. However, as part of a coupled entry, I doubt he’ll offer much value and there’s another horse in this race that intrigues me at a bigger price.
SEA RAVEN (#5) returned from a three-month layoff last time, and put in a decent effort in a race that did not set up well for a closer. Giantinthemoonlite was allowed to saunter along on the lead through pedestrian fractions, and was simply run down in the lane by a better horse. This time Giantinthemoonlite will likely have to rate off the speedy Futurazo, and even Huge Asset could show speed from the rail. The pace should be honest, and that should help a closer like Sea Raven. While he doesn’t appear to be as fast as the favorite on paper, I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Sea Raven yet, and I’m taking him to post the mild upset.
$20 Win 5
$5 Exacta Box 1,5 (Payout: $72.00)
Race 8: Allowance N1X at six furlongs for fillies and mares
3 – My Savannah Belle
If the field holds together, this race should feature a strong pace. Benny’s Bullet, Jubilant Vision, and Laura Can Disco are all quick and prefer to be forwardly placed. Sustainable (#2) is the most logical choice to capitalize on this pace scenario. She can stalk from midpack and catches an easier field here than what she’s faced in each of her two starts since the layoff. Even with the aid of a fast pace I don’t completely trust a deep closer like Kara’s Match Point to win, though I acknowledge that she’s good enough. However, I’m mentioning her because I’m actually more interested in a different horse out of the January 23rd race that exits.
MY SAVANNAH BELLE (#3) was returning from a 9-month layoff last time, and I thought that she put in a valiant effort all things considered. The early pace was fast and she was outrun while racing very wide around the far turn. Despite giving away quite a bit of ground, she was still running on late in the stretch, and only finished three-quarters of a length behind the ground-saving Kara’s Match Point. My Savannah Belle should benefit from having that race under her belt, and I believe that she’s good enough to win today if she takes a slight step forward second off the layoff. She’s quick enough to race in midpack early and her inside post position should allow her to get the jump on the closers this time. Her human connections will ensure a solid price, but this filly has talent.
Edit: With the scratch of Sustainable, I’m throwing a few other contenders into an exacta with my top pick.
$20 Win 3
$4 Exacta Key Box 3 with 1,7,8
Today’s Wagers: $104.00
Today’s Payouts: $72.00
Also, be sure to check out the first in a new series of blog posts that I’ll be writing for Twin Spires. Read it here.