Race 1: Difficult to advocate for anyone in opener, a field of 7 who have combined to compile 0-for-132 record to this point. #2 Savant has contributed only 2 losses to that total, which immediately makes him of interest. Failed to get a piece last time, and was behind a couple of these in a race that turned into a stagger-fest late, but he is open to improvement, at least. #5 Fictionalcharacter has had some excuses during his losing streak, but it's mostly trouble of his own making, as he has but one gear available on the race track. Getting back to fast dirt may make him the horse to beat. #3 Hushhushmushmush will try again after failing at odds of 2/1 or less for the eighth time in his last nine starts on December 10th. Can't bet real money on him, but he is a contender once again.
Race 2: #3 American Progress has run the 3 fastest TimeformUS Speed Figures in the field on dirt (91-99-90), and, while they came in his first three career starts, we think he may benefit from the change to Rudy (98 Trainer Rating first off the claim) and from getting back on a fast track. With plenty of speed signed on to this race, #6 Readyheartandsoul may be in a good position right off of his maiden win, during which he stalked the pace before going on to a convincing win. #4 Bajan Summer kept close and drove down American Progress in a fine performance on December 3rd. Distance seems to be key for him, rather than surface, as he has sprinted effectively on both turf and dirt. #2 Super Nicky may find himself contesting the pace from his inside draw, but he does have ample speed, and he was stuck along a dead rail throughout his most recent start.
Race 3: #6 Frogman Mel and #8 Face the Race exit the best last race of these, and they both ran well enough when 2nd/3rd behind a much-the-best winner there to be tough in this field. Frogman Mel was wide throughout and stayed on better of the two last time, but Face the Race projects to be on a clear early lead according to our Pace Projector, and he can use that to his advantage. #1 Mr. Lit has come away with minor awards without excuse in both starts since returning from a 589-day layoff. Perhaps he will be set for better in his third start back.
Race 4: #1 Majestic Empire went back to the drawing board after breaking slowly and failing to reach contention in sprint debut. Half-sister to four graded stakes winners is eligible to show a lot more for trainer pulling perfect ratings with second-time starters and with runners stretching out (Hushion shows 5 wins and 2 seconds from his last 8 maidens stretching out on dirt in their 2nd career start). #6 Full of Sugar has been unfortunate to land in MSW races vs. the likes of Onlyforyou, Dame Dorothy, House Rules and My Miss Sophia (all now stakes winners), and she was simply outrun to the lead in fast-paced sprint last time. Projects to be the clear speed in this matchup. #5 Strum earned TFUS Speed Figures of 78 and 80 for pair of one-turn miles on dirt before switching to turf recently. Those efforts should make her competitive, but she'll probably have to do better in this spot.
Race 5: #7 Abilio has been a turf horse for most of his career, but he's been more effective on dirt recently, posting two wins on the main track, including a 99 TFUS Speed Figure performance vs. a tougher field three starts back. Won't hold the sloppy track try while up in class last time against him. #2 Call for the Clock fits this race well with his off-the-pace style, but he hasn't been seen in 229 days and will have to be ready with one of his best races right off the layoff. #5 Becker's Galaxy has been in good form for a good trainer at Finger Lakes, hitting the board in 16 of his last 17 starts, while posting 5 wins in that span. #6 Pretension has handled distance in the past and is fast enough to be a major factor, but he has been a listed vet scratch 3 times since he was last seen 90 days ago.
Race 6: #3 Marc the Sky was off slowly in debut before rushing forward to chase a solid pace in a race won by the talented Sonora. Will take her over #1 Non Finisce Mai, who closed late to outfinish her for 2nd in that race. #8 Moondance Joy has had more chances, but ran every bit as well as Non Finisce Mai last time with a similar trip. #4 Miss Valued gave way early in that same race, but she was off slowly before rushing forward, and gave the impression of a horse who may run a lot better with some experience behind her. #10 Irish Laughter is a dangerous firster debuting for an excellent first-out trainer (100 rating) and pulls a solid Breeding Rating of 85 for dirt sprints.
Race 7: #3 Piecesbymoonlight just missed last time despite racing outside on the strongest inside track of the inner meet. Has the speed to make the front from his inside post today. #4 Best Play is tough to take for low-percentage connections, but his best race is clearly good enough to win here, and he ran deceptively well last time despite an over-conservative ride. Including him at a big price. #8 Solly's Mischief has been right there at the end of each of his last two starts before settling for 2nd best. Seems the distance has done him in both times.
Race 8: #4 Huge Asset has proven an effective two-turn dirt horse recently, finishing 1st or 2nd in six straight. Has fine tactical speed to put to use and is the right new face for this kind of field. #8 Howaboutwe can do better as he makes his second start back from a layoff, and he'll have to. Deserves at least another chance or two after 3yo campaign that consisted mostly of him running in the wrong races. #6 Giantinthemoonlite is likely to make the early lead as he stretches out for the first time. Has a strong Breeding Rating of 93 to handle the distance, but he has not given the impression of a horse looking for more ground on the race track, and he has never been able to build upon that blowout debut win, which was followed by a layoff.
Race 9: #7 Big Lute has earned TFUS Speed Figures between 94 and 97 for each of his last 5 starts on dirt, and he is going to be tough on this field if he shows up with a similar effort today. He also happens to be very difficult to trust, having gone down to defeat at odds of 7/5, 9/5, 8/5, even money (twice), and 1/5, just in his last 6 starts. They have him to beat, but #9 Shot to Win has run fast enough more than once to be competitive and has the speed to keep Big Lute occupied on the pace. If he can make the favorite work, #4 First Ranger is an interesting alternative dropping in class for his second start back from a layoff and finally getting back on a fast track (presumably). He showed some promise on the inner dirt last year and has that TFUS Speed Figure of 86, earned for the allowance win in March, to build upon.