Race 7: $23,000 claimer for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles on the inner turf (N2L).
1. Live On The Edge: Seems like the logical next step for a runner that just broke his maiden over claimers at the Spa. Faces a much tougher group today, but several in here have shown they aren’t a big fan of winning races, and so his 4-1-2-0 record says he’s in with a shot.
2. Judge Well: Ran credible in a solid field of grassy state-bred allowance runners, especially when you consider that was his first run after defeating maiden-claimers here in July. Still has that icky two-turn question to answer, but with just six lifetime runs, he has some room for improvement. Worth using.
3. Interference: Just 1-for-22 in his career and he’s been beaten up pretty good in two starts since breaking the maiden here in late July. Not the kind I’m looking for.
4. D’Wildcard: Rates as the class of the field having run solid against better, so you can partially excuse the 1-for-15 ledger. He’s one of many in here that wants to rally from off the pace and unless someone gets a bit hot and bothered early, things don’t exactly look fast up front. Respect his chances, and is a must-use in a race that looks like a spread, but at the same time you’re allowed to look for a bit more value on the win end.
5. Brushed Prince: The 1-for-27 record kind of speaks for itself, doesn’t it? He’s not far off of these, in terms of figures, and it was nice to see him involved early and still stay on reasonably well last time, but still, you go broke quick waiting for this type of runner to finally get there.
6. Victory March: Blinkers come off after the experiment failed last time and there’s a little hidden form here, as he did run well against slightly better here two back, with some trouble at the break to boot. Eligible to get overlooked on the board and with this being the first leg of the Pk4, that’s something you might be able to use to your advantage. Upset special.
7. Pavoratti’s Soul: Hills seems to have the right touch with this guy, as his two runs at CNL for Begley didn’t quite rate out as fast as the others. Tactical speed is a big bonus in a race that figures slow early and fast late, and that alone says he’s another in with a chance in a race that gets tougher with each runner you come across.
8. Stroll For Acure: The probable favorite has done little wrong on the grass and seems versatile enough to be placed in midpack before making a late run. No doubt he’s been facing better than what he encounters here, but at the same time, he’s really not any faster than his rivals and might have some catching up to do turning for home as well. Formidable, and tough to leave out of a spread, but he’s another that just won’t offer fair value in the win pool.
9. Kick Up Your Heels: Another who has struggled to find the winner’s circle (1-for-27) and when you see he hasn’t hit the board in the past two seasons, it’s clear you need to keep looking.
10. Propensity: He ran a couple of real beauties here last fall and though they were against much lesser, it’s worth keeping in mind. Passed on Saratoga while many of these kept busy, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing as now he comes in fresh over a course he likes. Some longshot appeal.
11. Cardiff Road (AE): The 1-for-19 record not withstanding, he’s a player if he draws in based on his class. The outside draw would be no bargain, and good guy Disanto is just 1-for-53 on the year, but if he’s a price you could do worse.
12. Last Noble (AE): Badgett was going great guns throughout the six weeks at Saratoga, so it’s worth paying attention to how he fares early in the meet. This guy might be a tad outgunned but he’s still lightly raced with just seven starts and if you expect some improvement, you’ll get a nice number.
13. White Holiday (AE): Seems a bit improbable to think he draws in, but if that’s the case he has a few things to like, most notably a fine second place finish behind Barbaro’s brother Nicanor at this distance earlier in the year at Delaware Park.
14. Seniors Pride (MTO): Not really much going in his corner, even if this one is rained off and they are playing his game. Passing, even if he’s in the starting gate.
Race 8: The Grade II, $250,000 Futurity for 2-year-olds at 7 furlongs.
1. Discreetly Mine: Half-brother to the monster Discreet Cat seems to have some talent of his own, especially if you key off the 6 ¼-length maiden romp at the Spa. It’s also nice to know he handled the local strip quite well in his bow this July. Still, there are a few hurdles here, most notably the rail and facing winners for the first time. He’s going to be under the gun from this draw the entire way and there’s plenty of other speed signed on, so I’ll pass today.
2. Soundman: Exits a hard-fought second in a Saratoga optional claimer and you’re going to know him early, that’s for sure. Remembering him late might be another matter, however, as his stamina hasn’t exactly been boiling over in the lane. Looking at another pop and stop.
3. Hear Ye Hear Ye: Freaked two back at Calder, posting a number that would win this, but other than that head scratcher, he hasn’t come close to a performance that would put him in the mix here. Viewing that big run as the exception rather than the rule.
4. Grand Rapport: He didn’t break any stopwatches when he beat maiden-claimers in his debut at the Spa, but he was visually impressive. And owner Mack took notice, as this guy switched hands after the run. Faces a ton better than he just beat, but note that win came at 7 furlongs and that means something at this time of year with these juveniles. Also don’t forget these 2yo’s can jump up and improve open lengths overnight. So if they get cooking early and come staggering home, this colt has a right to be scary in the lane at a nice number to boot.
5. Insightful: Another with a 7-furlong win to his credit, and it came over this strip to boot. Didn’t run poorly in the Saratoga Special, though he was nowhere close to D’Funnybone, but you can assume he’ll build off that run and close the gap. If that’s the case, then just maybe he’s in with an upset chance.
6. D’Funnybone: The aforementioned winner of the Saratoga Special looked tremendous in that Grade II when he stalked early and won by 10 ½ lengths. There didn’t seem to be much behind him that day, but then again, who in here should he be scared of? Gives every indication that the additional half-furlong is well within his scope, and he should sit another dream trip right off the speed. Obviously the horse to beat, but there’s a little voice whispering that to tread lightly.
7. Thiskyhasnolimit: Did he get exposed in the ‘Special or did he just have a bad day? If you’re thinking the former then he’s an easy toss, but if you’re siding with the latter, then he’s an interesting commodity. That 7-length maiden romp at CD was nice, and while I’m willing to look past the bad run at the Spa, I’m not willing to say he’s a win candidate, either.
8. Successful Score: Seemingly progressed in all three career runs and the maiden win was his best by far when the blinkers were added. Drew beautifully as well, so Albarado can gauge the early pace and go from there. Tackles winners for the first time but seems to be going the right way, so couple that with the good post and stalking style and you’ve got the main rival.
Race 9: The Grade II, $250,000 Matron for 2-year-old fillies at 7 furlongs.
1. Worship The Moon: Wasn’t disgraced when she ran fourth in the Adirondack, her first start versus winners, but at the same time she wasn’t in the same zip code as the winner and fellow Matron rival Worstcasescenario. And now she’s got to deal with the tricky rail draw while tackling a pretty solid group of gals. Tough to endorse.
2. Southern Truth: The minor stakes win at Del Park was a breakthrough to be sure, but it did come in the slop so you need to be a bit careful. If she can run back to that score she’s in with a chance, but they’re not going 5 furlongs today or 46 to the half-mile marker. Siding against.
3. Touching Beauty: Gets credit for winning her debut, but they timed that race with a sun dial, so it’s going to take a lot better in this spot. Does get Lasix for the first time but unless she improves over a dozen lengths, it probably won’t make much of a difference.
4. Awesome Maria: That Saratoga maiden win was heady stuff; it’s not too often you see a 2-year-old filly level off in the lane and run off by 8 ¼ lengths–at 7 furlongs no less. And it wasn’t like it was a fluke, either, as she stamped her intentions with a close second in her debut there. Like Discreetly Mine in the Futurity, this is another Robsham homebred trained by Hough and you can’t argue with anyone thinking that it’s going to be a day to remember for those connections.
5. Heavenly Landing: The typical Kenneally 2yo in that she’s progressed with each and every start; and when Eddie gets them right, they usually stay that way. Takes the next step up the ladder, but there’s ample talent in this corner, not to mention the right stalking style to make her scary in the lane. If you’re thinking that this race is wide open, you better have this gal on your ticket.
6. Dashing Debby: OK, I’m not saying I didn’t like her in the Adirondack, but who’s playing her at 4-5 from the rail off of one lifetime run at the fluky joint known as Calder? And low and behold, she threw the parachute out bigtime in the lane after simply running off early. Drew much better in here and finds a spot a bit light on early pace, but as impressive at that South Florida run was, don’t you need to make her prove it before backing? I know I do.
7. Babai Baby: Broke her maiden here in July but then got a rude awakening in the Adirondack, when she was beaten 13 lengths by ‘Worstcase after steadying at the 3/8-pole. Expecting a bit more out of her in here but not anything close to a winning run.
8. Speightful Lady: Was a professional winner of her debut and note she was a pricey 2yo in training that was well backed at the window. Like the stalking style she displayed and if the rains continue, it’s nice to know she’ll handle the goo. Thrown right into the deep end of the pool but thinking she’s going to prove to be a fine swimmer. Big chance.
9. Worstcasescenario: The overwhelming favorite looked great demolishing the Adirondack and what’s scary is that she’s supposed to get better at these longer trips. That doesn’t really bode well for her opposition, nor does the win she has over the track or the perfect post she drew in here. Give Violette credit too, as he passed on the Grade I Spinaway and stuck to his guns and aimed here. That’s tough to do when you’ve got a classy, in-form runner. The only concern is the paltry price on the tote, but that will be the furthest thing from her mind when she loads in the gate. Seems tough to get past.
Race 10: $44,000 state-bred allowance for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles on the Widener turf course.
1. Storm Hope: Ran a decent fourth in the Cab Calloway at the Spa and the winner (Uncle T Seven) is one nice state-bred. This homebred had some trouble as well that day so with a clean run from this ground-saving post, he can have a big say in the outcome.
2. Globemaster: Starting to think he’s one of those that just always finds trouble wherever he is. It’s happened in both runs on the lawn and while he’s a threat with a clean run, you have to wonder if it’s ever going to come. Mixed feelings.
3. Gamblin Fever: Been stuck in neutral at this level and meets some solid customers in this contentious affair. Viewing him as an outsider.
4. Mr. Hooker: He was just all out to break his maiden but if you saw that effort, you’ll no doubt be impressed as he was a beaten horse inside the eighth-pole. Still, the waters get deeper in here and he’s going to have to improve if he wants a win photo.
5. Too Amenable: Seems to have a very bright future ahead of him based on his three lifetime runs. And though he tackles winners for the first time, the neat thing is his PP’s are loaded with runners that won their next start, so you know he’s been trading paint with some solid rivals. Steps up but in with a big, big chance.
6. Double Domino: Enters off a close fifth with trouble late in the Spa meet and you have to worry a bit about the bounce, as that run was by far his fastest to date. Still, he’s got only four lifetime starts and maybe he’s just finally getting the hang of things. Respect his chances but willing to side against on top.
7. Carry The Day: Just one win from 16 lifetime starts and that’s actually been the only time he’s ever even hit the board. Looks to be in tough.
8. Wonderous Day: Another runner with a laundry list of losses and he’s struggled against far weaker than what he’ll line up against in here.
9. Three Bridge Road: Broke his maiden over the course and distance in July, but his Spa try versus winners was a big step backwards. Not crazy about seeing the front wraps return that day either, so I’m passing.
10. Scientist: Third in the aforementioned Calloway, but he was favored that day, so you have a right to be a bit disappointed. Still, there’s no one like ‘Uncle T in here and that’s reason enough to like his chances. In the hands of a quality young conditioner and rates a long look in a contentious finale.
11. Marscaponi: It took 16 starts for him to get the job done and he returned to run a non-threatening seventh six days later. Versatile sort might need softer to score.
12. Livin Large: Second in the Calloway and has really improved since getting on the grass three back. Didn’t draw particularly well, but he does have the tactical speed to work out a trip. As good as he looks, he’s basically run the same race figure-wise in his last three, so you have to wonder if there’s more room for improvement, while remembering a few to his left that certainly have some ceiling left. The gut tells me he’s coming up short.
13. Elder Skatesman (AE): Just 1-for-28 so even if he draws in, he looks set for a long day at the office.
$42 Pk4 main ticket: 1,2,4,6,7,8,10***4,6,8***9***1,5
$24 Pk4 backup ticket: 1,6,8***6,8***4,8***1,5