Saturday, July 25
Race 2: Allowance N1X at one mile on the turf
7 – Speeding Comet
I suppose that Bam Bam is the horse to beat, but there’s some speed to his outside, so I doubt he actually gets a free ride on the lead. Maybe he’s better than these, but I feel like he’s going to be a short price and I’d rather take SPEEDING COMET (#7), who has improved on turf recently. He may have run the best race of his life for John Toscano last time when he was shuffled back behind a slow pace, had to alter course, and was finishing strongly.
$20 Win 7
Race 6: Allowance N1X at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf
4 – Run for Logistics
Dowse’s Beach and Asset Inflation should take most of the play in here, but I think RUN FOR LOGISTICS (#4) is coming out of the tougher races and I believe he’ll really appreciate this cutback in distance to five and half furlongs. Run for Logistics figure to sit a great trip in behind the speed of Lewys Vaporizer and Asset Inflation and he should be a decent price.
$15 Win 4
Race 7: Allowance N1X at 6 furlongs for fillies and mares
6 – Paid Up Subscriber
3 – Momentary Magic
PAID UP SUBSCRIBER (#6) hasn’t yet run that fast on the Beyer scale, but she has had really tough trips in both of her starts, and her last race has proven to be very live. Quite a few horses have come back out of that race to win in their next few starts, with many running vastly higher speed figures. Paid Up Subscriber has been training strongly up here and I don’t think we’ve seen her best performance yet.
That said, one of the problems I have with this race is that by taking almost any of the lightly raced horses in this field, you’re hoping that they will improve and run the best race of their careers. That’s very possible, but I don’t want to completely ignore a horse who has already run well enough to be a major factor in this race and could be totally ignored on the tote board. MOMENTARY MAGIC (#3) has the speed to be right on top of the pace early and she typically runs her best races off short two-to-three month layoffs like this one. Maybe a win is slightly out of her reach, but don’t dismiss her offhand in your exacta and trifecta wagers.
$20 Win 6 (Payout: $82.00)
$10 Win/Place 3
$2 Exacta Box 3,5,6
Race 8: Optional Claiming $62,500/N2X at 1 1/16 miles on the turf
11 – Barrel of Love
While Taghleeb might be the horse to beat, he comes out of a race that I’m not really in love with. I recognized that both he and Ocala Jim, who will be a much bigger price today, were way against the pace that day, but I’m just not sure that I want to bet anyone out of that race.
I do think that you’re on the right track if you’re looking for a closer since the pace should be on the quick side with the likes of Plainview and Lord Trondor in this race. I ended up landing on BARREL OF LOVE (#11). I know that this trainer switch from Chad Brown to Diane Balsamo feels like a negative, but looking back through Barrel of Love’s past performances, did Chad Brown really improve this horse at all? I don’t think so. If anything, he’s held his form well for John Hertler, Chad Brown, and now Diane Balsamo after a solid outing last time. He’s going to get pace to run into and should be a pretty generous price once again due to the connections.
$15 Win 11
$2 Exacta Key Box 11 with 3,4,5,9
Race 9: The Sanford (G3) at 6 furlongs for 2-year-olds
11 – Uncle Vinny
While Cocked and Loaded looked good in victory when taking the Tremont, he got an absolutely perfect trip that day. That was not the case for UNCLE VINNY (#11), who steadied at the start and then was under a hard drive by John Velazquez, who ended up riding him into traffic as the pace didn’t really materialize in front of him. Uncle Vinny was forced to steady hard twice and then could never really muster a rally thereafter. I think he will appreciate getting out to six furlongs and drawing the outside post position since he should be able to settle and make one sustained run. I’m not sure what price we’re going to get, but I do think he’s one of the more likely winners of this race.
$20 Win 11 (Payout: $100.00)
$2 Exacta Key Box 11 with 1,8,9
Race 10: The Diana (G1) at 1 1/8 miles on the turf for fillies and mares
4 – Hard Not to Like
7 – Lady Lara
I can’t be as forgiving as others of Stephanie’s Kitten’s New York effort. I know she was wide the entire way, but she was $0.35 to the dollar in that race for a reason and was supposed to beat that field, mildly uncomfortable trip or not. If she gets back to her good races she’ll be a major player here, but at what should be a relatively short price, I’m taking a stand against her.
I’m also not taking Tepin, though she does scare me. This time, Kitten’s Queen and My Miss Sophia are supposed to speed off the to the lead, forcing to Tepin to rate in third. Can she still produce that same kick from just off the pace while stretching out an extra furlong? If she does, she’ll beat me.
My top pick is HARD NOT TO LIKE (#4). She isn’t yet respected as one of the leaders of this division, but his filly always shows up and seems to have taken another slight step forward since moving into Christophe Clement’s barn. She was facing lesser in the Gamely last time, but she was much the best that day after being bottled up for most of the stretch drive. Today, she should sit a great trip in mid-pack and will get the jump on closers like Stephanie’s Kitten and Lady Lara. Her price should be in the 9/2 to 6/1 range and, in my opinion, that’s value.
At a slightly bigger price, I also want to use LADY LARA (#7), who was against slow paces in both the Distaff Turf Mile and Just A Game. The distance shouldn’t be a problem since she actually ran her best race ever at nine furlongs over in Europe, when third behind the very good Custom Cut and Trade Storm. If there’s pace up front, she will be very dangerous at a price.
$20 Win 4 (Payout: $144.00)
$15 Win 7
$5 Exacta Box 4,7
Race 11: Claiming $50,000 at 7 furlongs
5 – Monster Mash
I have to bet back MONSTER MASH (#5), who got a very odd ride last time when he was seemingly clear coming to the top of the stretch, but was ridden very tentatively until the final eighth of a mile when he unleashed a strong but belated late kick after the race had already been decided. Seven furlongs shouldn’t be a problem and Monster Mash consistently faced better fields than this throughout the winter.
$15 Win/Place 5 (Payout: $191.25)