Saturday, August 29
Race 2: Maiden Special Weight at 6 furlongs for 2-year-olds
1 – Condominium
There’s a lot of guesswork to be done in these 2-year-old races, but I’ll always be more comfortable relying on horses who have a race under their belts. Obviously, Steve Asmussen’s awesome second out numbers make Hundred Years dangerous, but I really didn’t love his debut in the slower division of that July 25th maiden race.
My pick is CONDOMINIUM (#1), who flashed good speed through quick fractions first time out before spitting the bit at the top of the stretch. He dropped back so abruptly that I wonder if he may have bled. Lukas now adds Lasix for his second start and this one should be flashing speed for the rail. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him show up with a much-improved effort.
$10 Win/Place 1 (Payout: $44.50)
Race 3: Allowance N1X at 1 1/16 miles on the turf for fillies and mares
8 – Unbridled Sonya
UNBRIDLED SONYA (#8) steps up to face older horses here, but I think she’s worth a look at a bit of a price. I know she appears to be slower on paper, but her last race is worth watching as she may have been best that day. After being taken too far back off a slow pace, she reacted badly to being put into a tight spot heading into the clubhouse turn and bore out badly. From there, she tried to make a wide run into the race, but horses had trouble making up ground into the slow pace.
This is a step up in class, but Unbridled Sonya flashed ability as a 2-year-old and I think there’s still room for improvement.
$15 Win 8
$4 Exacta Key Box 8 with 3,5,6
Race 5: Maiden Special Weight at 1 1/8 miles on the turf
5 – Cavallucci
This is an incredibly competitive maiden race, but I think the pace will have a great effect on the outcome. Kiaran McLaughlin is so good with these maidens switching surfaces and CAVALLUCCI (#5) actually has plenty of pedigree on his dam’s side. I know this horse hasn’t shown much on dirt, but he took so much money in his debut so you have to think that they liked this one a bit. These jockeys can be overly conservative early in these mile and an eighth races and if Luis Saez sends this one to the front he could prove tough to catch at a price.
$10 Win/Place 5
Race 7: The Ballerina (G1) at 7 furlongs for fillies and mares
4 – Room For Me
La Verdad coming out of this race changes the complexion of this race, but doesn’t change my pick. ROOM FOR ME (#4) possesses the early speed to have herself in contention early and I don’t foresee the seven furlongs being an issue since she has run well going longer in the past. I know she disappointed in the Bed O’ Roses, but she lost all chance at the start of that race when Dame Dorothy was basically handed the victory. I really liked the way Room for Me rebounded at Monmouth last time and I think she’s a major player here at a decent price. I’m using her with likely speed Merry Meadow (#3) and Unbridled Forever (#7), who may have just wanted to go one turn all along.
$20 Win 4
$5 Exacta Key Box 4 with 3,7
Race 8: The King’s Bishop (G1) at 7 furlongs for 3-year-olds
5 – Mr. Z
I can’t resist MR. Z (#5) turning back in distance here. Maybe he won’t win today, but this horse is a classic example of the type of turnback that you want to bet. Mr. Z had success sprinting very early in his career, and while he was successful going longer, I would say that he just improved with maturity rather than improving because of the added distance. He’s talented enough to win a race like this and he should get plenty of pace to run into.
$15 Win/Place 5
$4 Exacta Key Box 5 with 2,3,4,7
Race 9: The Forego (G1) at 7 furlongs
7 – Private Zone
6 – Tamarkuz
9 – Viva Majorca
I’m not trying to beat PRIVATE ZONE (#7), who figures to get a clear lead here and is very difficult to get by in those situations. If he repeats either of his last two races, I doubt he gets beat here.
Behind Private Zone, I’m most interested in Tamarkuz (#6), who ran well in the Met Mile considering that it was his first race in this country, and Viva Majorca (#9), who was badly pace-compromised in the Vanderbilt and should be more effective going seven furlongs.
$30 Win 7 (Payout: $78.00)
$10 Exacta 7 with 6,9
$4 Trifecta 7 with 6,9 with 1,5,6,9
$4 Trifecta 7 with 1,5 with 6,9 (Payout: $483.00)
Race 11: The Travers (G1) at 1 1/4 miles for 3-year-olds
2 – American Pharoah
7 – Keen Ice
4 – Texas Red
I’m done trying to beat AMERICAN PHAROAH (#2). I’m in awe of what this horse has been able to accomplish this year and I’m not looking for him to take a step backward here considering that he may have just run his best race ever in the Haskell and has trained impressively since.
Behind American Pharoah, I can’t resist the switch of riders that KEEN ICE (#7) gets. I thought this horse should have been clearly second in the Belmont, but Kent Desormeaux was too passive on the far turn and basically gave up prematurely before getting him to produce his best run in the stretch. I know he got a favorable pace setup in the Haskell, but I still thought he took an encouraging step forward there. I expect Javier Castellano to have placed in a good spot not to far off the pace and I think he’ll be able to outfinish many of these through the stretch.
I’m also afraid of Texas Red (#4), who still has upside and showed a new dimension pressing the pace last time, but he figures to be the clear second choice today.
$20 Exacta 2-7
$10 Trifecta 2 with 4,7 with 4,7
$5 Trifecta 2 with 7 with 1,6
Race 12: The Ballston Spa (G2) at 1 1/16 miles on the turf for fillies and mares
9 – New Providence
When I was first going through this race I felt like I wanted the horses out of the Diana, but the more I’ve analyzed that race, I’ve changed my opinion. I believe that the result of the Diana was more a case of the riders of the closers collectively making a subtle tactical error rather than Tepin, My Miss Sophia, and Kitten’s Queen running so much better than the others. I do think this race will feature a fair pace, so I was looking at Danza Cavallo as a closing option, but is she really that good? I’m not convinced and I think there’s a very interesting other option.
NEW PROVIDENCE (#9) is a solid Group 2/Group 3 type in England, and those horses using are typically very competitive with Grade 1/Grade 2 company in this country. This filly is ultra-consistent and has faced some nice horses this year. The only real question about her is the distance since she’s spent her entire career running at sprint distances, but sometimes all horses like this need is to get covered up and save their run for the stretch. If Junior Alvarado is able to get her back off the pace and come with one run, I think she’s very dangerous here.
$15 Win 9
$2 Exacta Key Box 9 with 1,2,3,7,8