Saturday, April 18
Race 5: The Woodhaven at 1 1/16 miles on the turf for three year-olds
4 – Vision Perfect
If VISION PERFECT (#4) is fit for his first start in nearly six months, I believe that he will win. This horse seemed to take a step forward with each outing as a two year-old, ending his campaign with a second place finish to the very good Imperia in the Pilgrim before comfortably taking the Awad over today’s foe Zandar. Additionally, he will probably be on the lead through slow early fractions, or at the very least be stalking Made in Detroit, in a race where his three biggest foes on paper are all deep closers.
Eh Cumpari (#5) made an eye-catching wide run to the lead in the Palm Beach and seems to have taken to turf quite well. I think that this horse has some ability, but I just wonder if his running style will hinder him in this spot. The same goes for Chief Kitten, who really has no early speed and probably is not as good as the aforementioned two anyway.
$8 Trifecta 4 with 5 with 2,3,6
$4 Trifecta 4 with 2,3,6 with 2,3,5,6 (Payout: $153.00)
Race 7: Optional Claiming $75,000/N1X at 1 1/16 miles on the turf for NY-bred three year-old fillies
8 – Bobby’s Brickhouse
This is a perplexing race. I’ve chosen to key in on one horse that I think will offer the best value, but there are many viable options:
Lady Bling was very professional in her turf route debut at Saratoga last summer, but the time of that race was very slow and the field she beat looks especially weak in retrospect. She never had any chance to close into the glacially-paced Miss Grillo two back and then didn’t take the dirt in the Maid of the Mist. She has to be considered a player here, but I think the jury’s still out on how good she actually is.
Loon River put in some decent turf efforts for Gary Sciacca as a two year-old, eventually breaking her maiden going this distance at Belmont. This winter, she was placed over her head in a few spots at Gulfstream but responded well when dropped in class at Tampa last time. That was a race she probably would have won had her rider not been so concerned with saving ground coming to the top of the stretch. She’s also a player here, but it does feel like she’s landed in an even tougher spot this time.
Of the first time turfers, Graeme Crackers is the one that most will find appealing. Her dam never won on turf, but she has dropped two foals so far and both of them are turf winners, including Ampersand, a three-time winner who has earned over $210,000 on grass. Macho Uno is not the strongest turf influence, but there are enough pedigree indicators to suggest that Graeme Crackers should appreciate both the stretch-out in distance and the surface switch.
However, there is another first time turfer in this race with even stronger pedigree for the grass than Graeme Crackers, and that’s BOBBY’S BRICKHOUSE (#8). With 11 starts already under her belt, I realize that she at first glance she would appear to have the least upside of any runner in this race. Yet based on her pedigree, you can make a strong case that she’s just been running on the wrong surface all along. Her dam, Acquired Taste has foaled three turf winners including 12-time surface winner Acquired Cat, who netted over $350,000 racing on grass. Perhaps more importantly, Bobby’s Brickhouse is a full-sister to Mike and Rob (also by Bob and John), whose only two wins came in turf routes.
It’s not as if Bobby’s Brickhouse would even have to improve that much on her dirt routes to be competitive here, and given all of the pedigree indicators, she is supposed to take to the turf.
$10 Win/Place 8
Race 8: Claiming $50,000N3L at 6 1/2 furlongs
5 – Old Upstart
I suppose that Erik the Red is the horse to beat, but I didn’t think he ran all that well last time, and he’s been off for over two months since then. As you parse through the runners in this race, it becomes apparent that there’s very little speed signed on. Gentrify should be on a clear lead early, but he’s probably not good enough to win this race. For that reason, I’m going with the horse who I think will be in closest attendance to that one early.
OLD UPSTART (#5) once possessed the early speed to go with Gentrify, but his connections have apparently trained that out of him as they focused on two turn races over the winter. Now, turning back in distance, I’m hoping that they plan on using his tactical speed to stay close to the pace. He didn’t handle the slop at Parx last time, but prior to that he was running well enough to beat this field. His 7-length win on December 12 was excellent and he actually ran very well again on January 17th when finishing behind Celebrated Talent, Coach Inge, and Sassicaia, all of whom would be formidable in this spot.
$15 Win 5 (Payout: $60.00)
$2 Exacta Key Box 5 with 1,3,6,7
Race 9: Maiden Special Weight at 1 1/8 miles on the turf
4 – Andalusite
Fundamental (#1A) had well-documented trouble in his debut, in which he raced in first position heading into the first turn, was wrangled back to eighth down the backstretch, and then rallied through traffic to get up for fifth late. Today, with a clean trip, he’s a major player at a relatively short price.
In my eyes, there’s only one viable alternative to Fundamental and that’s ANDALUSITE (#4). He has to contend with a six-month layoff, but his races prior to the break were very good. He made a nice late run in his second start when finishing a close third to subsequent Spiral winner Dubai Sky, and then he may not have handled a yielding turf course quite as well in his two year-old finale. I don’t expect to get the 9/2 price that he’s listed at the morning line, but he’s sure to offer better value than Fundamental.
$20 Win 4
$10 Exacta Box 1,4 (Payout: $68.00)