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TimeformUS Race Analysis



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Belmont Analysis for Thursday, May 8

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer


Race 1:  #6 Vona appears to be the clear horse to beat in the opener, as he drops into a claimer for the first time.  He owns two of the top speed figures in the field, has a nice outside post, and keeps the services of the leading rider in the country.  We're not going to make much money betting him in the win pool, but we will try to get a price underneath him in the exacta with #1 Metasonic.  After a no-show turf debut, Metasonic switched to dirt and ran an improved race despite getting a less-than-ideal trip.  He was jammed in behind the lead most of the way, and then spent much of the stretch run trying to muscle his way out into the clear.  With Pace Projector indicating that there could be a scramble for the early lead in this race, we'll hope Metasonic can work a more comfortable trip and run late. 
Selections:  6-1-2-5-3
Race 2:  Pace Projector favors runners on or near the early lead, and we are on board, as #2 Madame Wasabi is our choice, and she projects to be the early leader.
This is as much of an anti-favorite opinion as it is a strong endorsement of Madame Wasabi, as both #4 Summer in Bali (who is slow on our speed figures, and got away with a soft pace off the claim last time) and #7 Pinch Me Again (lone win came in race that fell apart late) are short prices we do not want.  
Selections:  2-3-7-4
Race 3:  #4 Prairie Stone has improved with the stretch out in distance, and she was much the best breaking her maiden in a one-turn mile at Aqueduct last time out.  
She projects for a nice stalking trip in this spot, and we will take her over stretch-out sprinter #1 Sheriffa, and the in-form #3 Vaid, who has been making a habit of desperate finishes lately.
Selections:  4-3-1-6
Race 4:  This one-turn mile for NY-bred maidens has a wide-open feel to it, and that will send us price-hunting.  We don't like ML favorite #7 Salisbury Knight, who has kept good company but done no running in pair of starts so far, nor can we really fall for second choice #5 Bluegrass Flash, who spent all of his 2yo season losing at short prices.  Pace Projector puts #8 Mighty Zealous on a clear early lead, and that will make him dangerous, assuming he handles the stretch-out in distance, but we are going to take a shot with #4 Coviello.  Coviello is the kind of second-time starter we like to take a chance with at a price (layoff not included), as he showed a flash of ability with a late run in his debut.  He's a price in this race, and if he is ready to go off the bench, we think he may be able to get a big piece of this race.  
Selections:  4-8-5-1-7
Race 5:  Pace Projector puts #4 Mia Poppy alone on the lead here, and that makes him dangerous, although it's worth pointing out that he hasn't won a race since going on a 4-for-5 run way back in 2012.  We have to use him, but will try another horse carrying a long losing streak into this race on top.  #10 Majestic Raffy was blanked from six 2013 starts, but he faced tough competition all along while running well several times, and he has a long line of fast speed figures to back him up.  We'll view that dirt sprint off the layoff as a pure prep to shake off some rust and take him on top, while saving in exactas underneath Mia Poppy.
Selections:  10-4-1-3
Race 6:  #4 Casual Elegance was able to parlay a comfortable trip tracking a moderate pace into an easy win three starts back, and she exits a solid effort getting the best of a more contested pace last time, only to succumb to the closers late.  Pace Projector for this race places her in a nice spot tracking off of a longshot leader, and that kind of trip will make her dangerous.  
#3 Jealous has been in career-best form, and also projects for a nice tracking trip, though she has never been this far on dirt.  #1 Physical Delivery is the strong ML favorite, and the one taking the class drop in this field, but she may be compromised by the expected pace scenario, and is far from a layover on speed figures.  
Selections:  4-1-3-7
Race 7:  There are several ways to go in this first-level allowance for NY-bred filly turf sprinters, so let price be your guide.  The main contenders for us are #5 Aesthetique, #2 White Crane, #10 As Well and #1 Image of Noon. Aesthetique, despite the layoff, may be the horse to beat, as she flashed real potential as a 2yo, and after a couple of unlucky trips in her first two starts, put things together in an impressive maiden score when last seen.  White Crane is interesting, as well, though we would want more than the 5/1 she is pegged at on the ML.  We'll view that last route try as a prep for this turn-back, and if you go back to her turf sprints at Saratoga last summer, she is competitive in here.  We can also use As Well, who is always at the mercy of pace and trip, but is better sprinting than routing.  
Selections:  5-2-10-1
Race 8:  Featured sprint brings together a well-matched field of 8, and it may come down to trips.  Checking out Pace Projector to get a feel for where everyone will be early, we see that horses racing either on or near the early lead may be at an advantage.  That scenario works against ML favorite #8 Masasi, and while we are fans of hers, and think she is better than she looks on paper after some disadvantageous trips and pace-scenarios, she may be unlucky once again. We're going to hope that Bill Mott's #7 Calistoga can right the ship here.  After getting off to a promising start to her career last winter, Calistoga appears to have run into some issues, which forced her to miss plenty of time at the races. Since returning earlier this year in Florida, she has caught a couple of pace scenarios that have worked against her: contesting a fast pace (denoted by fractions in red) in her first start off the layoff, and then racing at the back of the field in a moderately paced affair last time.  
She should be able to land a nice tracking spot from her outside draw today, and she may even be a playable price for the first time since her debut.
Selections:  7-8-3-4
Race 9:  Pace Projector favors horses up front in this race, and places #7 Stage Name on the lead early.  Perhaps that advantage will be enough for her to make her turf debut a winning one, but we thought that she might take some pressure here from #10 screen-shot-2014-05-07-at-4-19-40-pmHoliday Drama.  Holiday Drama goes first off the claim for trainer Mike Maker (a strong 97 trainer rating first off the claim, among other strong ratings in relevant categories), and does so after showing strong early speed over Keeneland's synthetic surface in her last start.  Holiday Drama has never raced this cheaply on grass before, and the combination of being able to stay close to an uncontested pace and the class relief may make her tough in this spot.  We are using Holiday Drama in the late Pick 4, but we want to try #4 Radiant Cut in this race as she switches back to turf.  Radiant Cut fits well at this level, projects for a nice ground-saving, pace-tracking trip, is a better turf sprinter than she is anything else, and will be a price.  
Selections:  4-10-11-5-7



Belmont Analysis for Wednesday May 7

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

Race 1:  Opener has the look of a two-horse race between drop-downs #1 SAMPSON COUNTY and #7 TAPULOUS. While they've combined to make 18 starts already, alternatives are hard to come by, and they tower over their opponents on speed figures. It does seem that today will be graduation day for one of them, and we'll take Tapulous on top.  He got the better of the draw on the outside, and Pace Projector places him up on the lead, which should be to his advantage.  
Selections:  7-1-6-3-2
Race 2:  #7 UNBRIDLED LOGIC has started on turf only four times to date, but he's run well every time, and he came with a strong finish to close down front-running #6 WIND OF BOSPHORUS when last on grass in September.  Wind of Bosphorus projects to be on the front again today, but we'll take Unbridled Logic to come running again.  #1 LOGAN STREET is also a closer with a chance, but he has had plenty of fast paces to run into lately, and that may not be the case for him today.  #2 MCILROY has won two in a row on grass for Chad Brown, but those races are a little slow on our speed figures, and he'll have to improve stepping up here. 
Selections:  7-6-1-2-8
Race 3:  #5 NICHOLSON and #6 MASTER YANK seem the two to take here, as they are both lightly raced and still eligible to improve, while their opposition has primarily already been exposed.  They have both run top speed figures of 80, which makes them competitive here, and while Master Yank has more speed and turns back in distance today, we like Nicholson on top.  Nicholson earned his 80 speed figure going longer in a strongly rated MSW field (93, compared to today's 79).  He then turned back last time and was outrun early over a highly speed-favoring track (denoted by dark red in the race rating box), but did well to finish 3rd.  
GOLDEN DOC would be our other horse, as he could be on the lead assuming a clean break this time, but we were disappointed in his last effort, despite his not getting away from the gate very well.
Selections:  5-6-7-2-3
Race 4:  Pace Projector indicates a fast pace is on tap for these $40k maiden claimers, and that worries us a bit because our pick in this race, #7 BAD TO THE ROAN, projects to be a part of it.  
But we will keep our faith in this horse today, as he has the outside draw, which may help alleviate the harm from the pace scenario, and we just think he is better than his competition today.  Yes, both #5 SPANGO and #8 YOU YOU have run better speed figures than Bad to the Roan, but they earned those figures while being defeated by Horatio, so, enough said.  Bad to the Roan was bet strongly in his debut, but didn't have a lot of early speed and wound up in a 4-and-5-wide trip on a day when runners with speed and the rail 5_7_R4_(2)dominated the racing.  He had more speed second-time out, but was simply in too tough. Finally, his trainer, George Weaver, has a very strong trainer rating when dropping from MSW to maiden claiming company (74 overall rating, 96 with this class drop).  Our other horse in here is #3 SPEED READ, who has faced some stiff competition in his brief career, and lost all chance with trouble at the start last time.  
Selections:  7-3-8-5-4
Race 5:  Pace Projector places #2 PHOTON and #6 READTHEBYLINE up on the pace together, and they are the two horses we like in this race.  For wagering purposes, it will all come down to price, but we'll put Photon on top.  Photon has been holding solid form during his current form cycle, earning triple-digit speed figures for his runner-up efforts two and three back, and he was doomed by a fast and contested pace when last seen in a tough allowance race on Wood Memorial day. (Note that fast paces are denoted by red fractions or pace figures.)
Readthebyline has the best back races to get to, although you have to go back to last summer to get there.  He is first off the claim by the very sharp Michelle Nevin (a perfect 100 trainer rating first off the claim), so maybe that will do it, and he did well to survive a pace battle in his last start.  
Selections:  2-6-7-8-4
Race 6:  Enticing match up here between #3 DIVINE ENERGY and #5 BAY OF PLENTY, a pair of well-connected and talented colts who could play in some bigger races down the line. Divine Energy earned a strong 104 TimeformUS speed figure for his impressive effort off the layoff last time, while Bay of Plenty flat powered away from his competition going longer to break his maiden over Aqueduct's inner dirt.  Neither one of them is likely to offer much in the way of wagering value on the win end, but this is a good race to keep an eye on for the future.
Selections:  3-5-7-6
Race 7:  Pace Projector indicates that this race will favor runners on or near the early lead, with #5 YOUR TIME IS UP and #8 SACRED SUCCESS being the pair likely to be up on the pace.  Since Sacred Success was badly off form when last seen, we couldn't take her in this race, pace advantage or not.  Not only does that leave Your Time is Up in an enviable position in this race, she earned speed figures for her winning efforts two and three back that would make her very tough in this field.  We make her the horse to beat, and will use her in all wagers, but want to take a shot against her with a better-priced option.  DEE DEE'S COMET was in very good form all winter at Aqueduct, and, while she is no burner early, she has enough tactical speed to not be compromised by moderate fractions.  She also finished ahead of Your Time is Up when last seen, despite not getting the best trip (or ride) in the world that day.  
Selections:  1-5-7-4-6
Race 8:  This is another race that our Pace Projector indicates will favor horses up close early, and it puts #3 SATISFACTION in control of things on the lead through the early fractions.  
Perhaps that will be all it takes for her to find the winner's circle for the second time in four starts, but we like the chances of #4 PRECARIOUS here off the layoff. Precarious has run very well when up on or near the lead in the past, and while Pace Projector has her at the back of the field early, if she is showing some early initiative fresh off the bench, she can pull the right trip.  
Selections:  4-3-2-1-5
Race 9:  #9 MANERO has been setting fast paces down in Florida recently, and he has all of the good speed figures in the race, but he is an infrequent winner, and is clearly hard to trust.  We have to play against him in this spot, and will do so with #10 MAGMA, who has spent too much time racing on dirt since arriving stateside toward the end of last year.  He earned a solid figure for his North American debut, which came in way too tough of a spot, and we can excuse his last, as he caught yielding ground vs. starter allowance company and was wired by repeat winner Princess of Mara.  
Selections:  10-6-9-1A-11


Belmont Analysis for Saturday May 3

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

Race 1:  The opener features a pair of progressive-looking colts for top barns who will enter here off of last-out maiden victories.  Both WARRIOR'S CROWN and PAZOLINI have flashed some potential, and either one, or both, should be tough in here if ready to fire off of their respective layoffs.   We liked what we saw from Warrior's Crown at the end of last year, as he kept after a fast pace while three-wide in his debut, and may have run a better race than the winner that day, Encode, who was a 2/5 favorite.  He then came back in his next start to post a convincing win over a one-turn mile, while posting a solid 94 speed figure.  Drawing the rail could be a concern for him, but he won't be looking for the lead in here, so assuming a clean break, he may fall into a nice trip rating along the inside.  Pazolini is the other runner of potential, and would be no surprise in here, although the jury may still be out on him.  After a disappointing debut at Saratoga, he did return to post an easy win, with fresh lasix, at Gulfstream, and he earned a 95 speed figure in the process.  But he also had a soft trip that day while tracking a moderate pace, and he was facing a suspect, and short, field that day.  Our other horse will be CHAPMAN, who is at his best when on the lead, and that is a scenario which Pace Projector indicates is likely.  

Selections:  1-3-5-4


Race 2:  No one to fall for in this full field of maiden claimers, but we know who we don't want, and the list begins with ML favorite LADY RHUBARB, who has speed to go along with the fastest recent figures, but exits a no-excuse loss going shorter a few weeks ago.  We will instead look to a couple of her lightly raced rivals, and use HOT ON ICE, who chased a solid pace for the level first time out, and OFFLEE CATTY, who is third choice on the ML off of a decent runner up finish in her debut.  

Selections: 8-2-1-10


Race 3:  Only five betting interests in the 3rd, but it drew a solid field of horses.  Three of them finished behind longshot winner This Hard Land in what was a strongly run race on the Wood Memorial undercard, and of those, we are most interested in giving ELNAAWI a chance to rebound, at what should be a good price. We admit that it is not easy to simply look past his last two races, but prior to those efforts he appeared to be a horse with stakes potential, and he was caught out in a four-wide trip after that fast and contested pace on Wood day.  His four-year-old debut represented a nice step forward for this horse, posting a new top 104 speed figure, so we'll hope for a more comfortable trip today, which should allow him to rebound (which he will clearly have to do vs. this solid field).  He'll be hard for us to resist at anything near his ML odds of 10/1. 

Selections:  3-2-4-1


Race 4:  To be honest, we have already seen enough of most of these horses, and so, while she figures to be underlaid on the board, we will cast our lot with FLATBOW, dropping down for Pletcher, and switching to turf with a little pedigree to handle it.  She was a no-show when last raced at the end of her two-year-old season, but actually ran pretty well while against an inside bias in her debut.  Of the others, it is questionable how much actual ability PITCHED has, but she has been compromised by some unfavorable circumstances on dirt (wide against gold rails both 2-and-3 starts back), and figures to appreciate turning back in distance.  

Selections:  12-9-6-1


Race 5:  This $20k claimer for older sprinters has a wide-open feel to it, which to us means it's time to start looking for a price.  There are just too many question marks surrounding the shorter prices on the morning line to be confident, and a quick check of Pace Projector helps make our decision a little easier, and it indicates that CAY TO POMEROY is going to be alone on the lead in a race that favors horses either on or near the early lead.  Cay to Pomeroy has been pretty disappointing in his most recent races, but on our data he has back-form sufficient to make him very tough in here, and getting control of the pace may be enough to get him to one of his good races.  We will also use the other horse entered by listed trainer Manuel Gonzalez: SAY MR. SANDMAN.  

Selections:  8-7-6-2


Race 6:  UPWARD has been in sharp form recently on the main track, and he has proven form sprinting over turf from last year.  He also projects for a very good tracking trip in this spot.  One caveat would be that his best form has all come when in the barn of Midwest Thoroughbreds, and he is first off the claim away from them today.  FAST TIME has been running in some fast turf sprints in Florida over the past few months, and figures dangerous if bringing that form to NY, and we could also use DR. DISCO, who could be loose on the lead in here, and a little REGULUS, although he would have to drift way up in price.  

Selections:  2-7-3-1-8


Race 7:  There are some interesting first-time starters entered here, so keep an eye on the wagering, but it does feel as if they would have to be pretty good to handle a couple of the experienced horses in here, particularly THE BIG BEAST (who earned a solid figure in what appeared to be a needed debut, and starts for a trainer sporting a 99 rating with second-time starters) and top-figure runner MONTANA COWBOY, who got a 100 speed figure for his debut.  

Selections:  11-7-1-5-3


Race 8:  Beaugay is more about the horses we don't want than it is about the ones that we do.  Surely, the shorter prices on the ML, like WATERWAY RUN, ORION MOON, and BYRAMA, are big factors in this race, but none of them are necessarily that much better than their competition here, if they are better at all. At first glance, a horse like IRISH MISSION appears to be a distance specialist who may just be prepping for something longer here in her first start for Christophe Clement, but she has run well in each of her last two starts when cut back in distance, and she has been keeping strong company all along in Canada.  

Selections:  9-4-7-3-2


Race 9:  We get all of the reasons why taking a horse like ITALIAN RULES on top in this race may not be the smartest thing to do, but if he can still run (pretty big "if", we know) he is likely to simply be better than his competition today, and we take it as an encouraging sign that his new trainer enters him back for almost double the price he was claimed for.  Pace Projector favors the horses on or near the lead, and we think that a right Italian Rules will be one of those horses. 

Selections:  7-6-9-2-4


Race 10:  Saturday's running of the Fort Marcy over nine-furlongs on turf may present a juicy wagering opportunity, as it features a pair of short prices on the ML who could be viewed skeptically, and contains a couple of contenders that are listed at big prices.  

The ML favorite is Summer Front, a talented if trouble-prone multiple graded stakes winner trained by Christope Clement.  Summer Front is clearly a dangerous horse on his best form, the question is: What kind of form if he in?  Summer Front has been laid off since a total no-show effort almost three months ago in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf.  I don't know of any reported issues with him either during or since that race.  But I do know that taking a short price on him doesn't seem like a wise idea.

The second choice on the ML is Euro import Ghurair.  This well-bred colt kept good company overseas, and acquitted himself well while not appearing to want to stay a distance of ground.  His new trainer is Chad Brown, who sports nothing but perfect trainer ratings over a variety of categories with horses like this.  Ghurair is a contender, but not one we'd want to go too low on.

Pace Projector lacks enough data to include the two European imports in this race, but it does display a positive set up for one of the bigger prices we are interested in in the Fort Marcy.  That horse is Five Iron, who has the kind of speed that is going to put him either on the lead, or tracking just off of Tetradrachm, a horse we do not consider to be of true graded stakes quality.  Five Iron ran big turf races back-to-back as a three-year-old last summer, before shipping to Illinois for the Hawthorne Derby, only to get stuck contesting a fast pace over a bog of a course and bottoming out late.  His first start back off the layoff left much to be desired, but we can only speculate that his rider was under orders to give this horse a race, as he showed no interest in using Five Iron's ample speed early and instead rated him wide to no where early.  This race sets up the right way for Five Iron, and if he is ready to roll second off the layoff, we think this may be the right spot for him to step forward at a big price.

We will also use some Swift Warrior, a reliably consistent horse who has races plenty good enough to contend here, and who has the right post from which to deploy his admirable tactical speed.  

Selections:  8-1-4-5-10


Race 11:  SATURDAY BLISS may not be the kind of horse you want to take 4/5 on, as the ML suggests she'll be in this race, but it does seem as if she has landed in the right kind of spot, as she drops out of a Grade 1 try over Keeneland's synthetic surface.  Yes, she rode gold rails to victory in each of her first two starts, and it's not as if she earned layover figures for those efforts, either, but it is difficult to latch onto anything substantial with the others.  LADY GRACENOTE would be our other horse, but that's always the case when she is entered.  

SELECTIONS:  5-2-7-4-3


Race 12:  We think Shug's MOBILIZE is an interesting horse in here, as she ran well in both turf starts as a juvenile, and then continued gamely despite a wide run after a moderate pace in her last start.  Her entrymate ORIENT HARBOR also appears to have some ability, though may need a couple more starts to figure things out.  Chad Brown's PINK POPPY is another horse who appeared to need her debut, as she sat a trip and was in contention in the stretch, but lacked the killer instinct while just appearing to go through the motions, and she could be much improved for having that run.  

Selections:  1-4-3-5-1a






Belmont Analysis for Friday May 2

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

*** With heavy rain pounding the New York City area over the past couple of days, the probability of turf racing being cancelled for the second day in a row is high.  That being the case, the analysis will assume that the turf races will be moved to the main track, but note that we will be back with edited content, after scratches, should that not be the case.

Race 1:  I like HAVERHILL turning back from a distance that he is unsuited for. He endured a tough trip while wide after a moderate pace in most recent sprint start at the end of December.  Suppose the layoff coupled with the class drop could be a red flag, but I'll take my chances with him here. DAN'S GOLD has been in good form, and is a clear horse to beat as the inside speed in a race that Pace Projector indicates will favor that running style; he's off the claim here, but his new trainer scores high (94) with new acquisitions.  We'll see if Shankopotamus goes after him early in here, which would surely help the others.

Selections: 4-2-5-1A

Race 2
:  I guess PAINTED PONEY is supposed to be tough here off a big class drop, and in reality it is pretty difficult to find anything to latch on to with the others.  There is some speed outside, but she appears to be fast enough to make the running here from her inside post.  The main danger to her is BROWN MELLISA, who also gets some class relief and has been in good form.  She will appreciate any pace that develops in front of her.  I've been a fan of JEN'S MIRACLE since her winning effort first out, with less than a perfect trip, and she is entered in a realistic spot for the first time since then, so I'll make her my other horse.

Selections:  1-3-7-5

Race 3:  Group of hard-hitting NY-breds has the speedy MARRIEDTOTHEMUSIC to catch and beat.  The loss two-back, which is sandwiched between two very fast wins (122 speed figure on January 31, and a 117 last time), seems to confirm that he is not quite as good when asked to race from behind horses, so expecting him to go once again.  The logical alternative to him would seem to be BE BULLISH, who handed Marriedtothemusic that loss on February 17, and I can't really argue with that position.  He figures to pull a nice trip in this race, especially if his entry mate, NIGHT MANEUVER, can apply some early pressure to the favorite.  For a bit of a better-priced option, perhaps WEEKEND HIDEAWAY can finally make the leap he'll need to make in order to compete in a tough field like this one.  He did begin his career as a dirt sprinter of some potential, and he is back to the right surface after a failed experiment as a turf sprinter.

Selections:  5-1-4-1a

Race 4:  Expecting this race to come off the turf, but we are likely to have the same favorite and horse to beat on the main track in class-dropping BEST PLAY (assuming he stays in).  Best Play has never been on dirt before, and has already had nine chances, but pedigree-wise shouldn't have a problem with the surface, and this is a significant drop.  He may simply be too tough in here, but I'll try to beat him with KNOX, who also drops in class for the first time, and who had legitimate trouble at the start of his debut.   Moving to an outside post is a positive for him in his second career start.  He is an English Channel, so it's understandable that his connections wanted to get him to turf here, but his dam is a half-sister to the multiple stakes winning dirt router Not Abroad, so I won't worry too much about the surface.

Selections:  9-5-6-7

Race 5:  Another race likely to come off the grass, so we'll see what it looks like after scratches, but certainly the MTO's figure tough in that scenario.  It is clear from watching any one of GHAREEB's prior races that he is a handful to ride, and his own worst enemy most of the time, and that character flaw has not been relieved by his recent gelding, which came prior to his 2014 debut.  He is a talented horse who causes his own problems on the track and so is very difficult to trust.  BARRISTER JIM has speed and is in good form, and would be one to consider, as well.  I do wonder whether Todd Pletcher would elect to leave EDISON in to try dirt for the first time. He appears to have some ability, and it's worth pointing out that he would have already cleared this condition down at Gulfstream back on March 16th in a race that was declared a no-contest due to a fallen rider.   I would also consider using IDLE AMERICAN were he to stay in, as his dirt form is okay, though I prefer him on grass.

Selections:  2-10-11-4

Race 6:  While this field of Ny-bred maiden fillies lacks star potential, I think it's an interesting betting race, if only because ML favorite EASY LIVING doesn't inspire much confidence, at least to me.  Make no mistake, there is plenty out there to lead you to this horse, not least of which is her trainer, who excels off of layoffs, and her pedigree, which is slanted toward routing on the dirt.  She will also get first lasix for her 3yo debut, and is already the fastest horse in the race based on the solid 86 speed figure earned for that debut (albeit on grass). While realizing that she is a clear horse to beat in this spot, I just want to take a small shot against her, as I didn't think much of her debut as a race overall, and the subsequent form of her 10 rivals that day seems to confirm that opinion, as only two of those horses have posted a win in the 7+ months since that race, one of those vs. $16k maiden claiming competition.

Instead I'll make a small play against her with CONTENDER'S QUEEN. Contender's Queen gets a positive trainer change for this race to the underrated Ralph D' Alessandro, who gets a 73 Trainer Rating with horses making a first start out of his barn, as compared to his 54 overall rating. She will also add blinkers for this race, and projects for a comfortable outside tracking trip.

Selections:  4-7-2-8

Race 7:  RODINIA drops back down out of a fast-paced turf try as she makes her second start off the David Jacobson claim, and her recent dirt form is difficult to ignore at first glance, with wins in each of her last two starts at this level, with solid figures.  She may win this race, but there is at least some reason to believe that she is a little dressed up on paper, and may not be worth a short price today.  She clearly likes a wet track, over which she has won twice in her last 4 dirt starts, and she was greatly aided by riding a gold rail on a speed-favoring track on March 16.  Pace Projector indicates that she could have a tougher go of it on the pace today, with a fast pace likely to develop.

I like COAST OF SANGRIA to pull a mild upset here, as she makes her second start off the claim by sharp connections, and gets back to a fast dirt one-turn mile, of which she has won three in a row.  I also don't discount the chances of Darnley Bay, who goes first off the claim for Bruce Levine (a 94 trainer rating with that move) and was stuck racing along a dead rail as the beaten favorite last out.

Selections:  5-6-4-3

Race 8:  There are enough questions surrounding the actual quality of the shorter prices on the ML in this race to at least consider taking a shot.  I personally don't get the appeal of U.S.S. O'BRIEN, and think it is an easy call to play against her.  TIZ SO SWEET is a tougher call, as she has a chance to turn out okay for Bill Mott, and she adds lasix for the first time while making her 3yo debut.  She made all the pace when last seen breaking her maiden at the end of last year, beating U.S.S. O'Brien, and should be given the opportunity to come forward.  The horse I'm most interested in in this spot, though, is FOREVER LOYAL.  I generally stay away from horses with Tampa form, as the racing down there just isn't very good, but Forever Loyal is in the right hands, was impressive breaking her maiden down there, and has the pedigree to turn into something better (her full sister Sara Louise was a multiple graded stakes winner on dirt).  Assuming the wagering follows relatively closely to the ML, I'll take a chance with her over the two favorites.

Selections:  5-7-6-2

Race 9:  Let's see what happens after scratches here, as, if nothing else, there appears to be plenty of speed signed on to this race, which could lead to a contested pace.  If it looks as though that could still be a likely scenario after scratches, I would be interested in LOVEISHEARTANDSOUL, who I thought ran better than it looks in his lone dirt start, which found him on a four-wide chase after a wire-to-wire winner.

Selections:  5-4-12-6