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TimeformUS Race Analysis

 

 

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Belmont Analysis for Wednesday May 14

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

Race 1:  Good spot for second-time starter #5 Wing Foot, who endured disastrous trip in Keeneland debut last month and never had a chance to run.  Well-connected colt has a big pedigree, being a brother to three stakes winners in Great Britain, including Group 1 winner Lucarno, who banked over $1 million.  #3 Pacific seems sure to attract some attention in here considering his connections and big sticker price, and we'll hope he takes some money, as we are against this colt about whom questions abound.  Purchased for $1.8 million at last year's Ocala sale of selected two-year-olds in training after posting the bullet work (one furlong in 9.4 seconds),  where has he been since then, and why he is debuting long on the turf, which is one of Todd Pletcher's relative weaknesses (71 Trainer Rating)? 
 
Selections:  5-1-10-8
 
 
Race 2:  #3 England may wind up a short price for the third straight time here, and while he may have found the right spot, he is not the kind of horse we are ever going to trust at low odds.  He simply has not run very well in either of his starts since arriving in NY.  Since 5_14_R2there is not much apparent other talent in the field, we will go with a lightly raced rival who is still eligible to improve.  #7 Dexter Cheesestake has made only two starts to date, and in the last one he tried to circle the field from last behind an almost 10-length winner going a mile. But the thing that really attracts us to him is his new trainer.  Michelle Nevin gets a 100 Trainer Rating off the claim, and she is a perfect 6-for-6 with maidens first off the claim in NY since going out on her own last year. That's good enough for us in this field. 
 
Selections:  7-3-1-6
 
 
 
Race 3:  We really like the chances of #4 Againsome in this spot off of his 99 TimeformUS speed figure win going a mile vs. maiden claimers last time.  He returns in a protected spot this time, and will be very tough for this field to beat if running that well again.  His main rival figures to be #1 Blue Cherokee, who handled a wet, sealed track in his first start for David Jacobson, who sports a strong 97 trainer rating with last-out maiden winners.  
 
Selections:  4-1-6-2-3
 
 
Race 4:  Appears to be plenty of pace signed on to this $20k claimer for older horses that have never won three, so we will try to wake up some closers.  
 
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#1 Demon's Deputy hasn't won since going back-to-back over a year ago, but he has been in some tougher spots, and we'll excuse some of his recent efforts over wet tracks, as he has never seemed to care for those conditions.  If he can still run, he can take advantage if a contested pace scenario develops.  We also think the dynamics here could help #4 Bos'n Alwyne, who has been in deceptively good form vs. better horses, and who did not get a comfortable trip when behind #9 Poliziano, another horse we are using in this race.  
 
Selections:  1-4-9-7-11
 
 
Race 5:  Tough to trust anyone in this compact field in which four of the seven entrants are dropping in class.  #6 Bridget Moloney is the one taking the biggest drop after chasing open company allowance horses to no avail last month, and she ran very well when last in for a tag.  The others for us in this race are #2 Platinum Bombshell, who turns back after getting an unaggressive ride last time and switches to Rosario, and a little #3 First Penny, who hasn't won a race in over two years, but enters with the top last-out figure in the field (84).  
 
Selections:  6-2-3-5-1
 
 
Race 6:  #8 Dramatize has been in good form since returning from an October layoff, breaking her maiden in convincing fashion over the Fair Grounds turf, and then finishing a game and well-clear second at Keeneland after an ill-advised run in stakes company.  She looks much better on TimeformUS data than she does elsewhere, so it will be interesting to see how she fares in her return to NY.  
 
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#3 Nickerdoodle is the logical horse to beat, and Pace Projector indicates that she should get the set-up she needs. We're using her in this race, but we want to try Dramatize at a better price.  
 
Selections:  8-3-7-2-9
 
 
Race 7:  Ten-furlong turf allowance drew a stakes-quality field that is led by #9 Stormy Len, returning from a layoff after being campaigned ambitiously through the summer and fall of his 3yo season.  We think he has much potential to fulfill and are looking forward to following him into bigger races this year, but do wonder whether he'll be fit enough to go 1 1/4 miles vs. a strong field right off the bench.  His main competition may come from a familiar rival in #4 Mills.  Like Stormy Len, Mills is probably unlucky not to have an extra win or two on his resume at this point, and he also has the ability to re-enter stakes competition this year.  Perhaps the distance is a bit of a question for him, but he did break his maiden over 1 3/16 miles.  We thought that #5 Bravodino was an interesting player in this race after getting in a prep race off the layoff at Keeneland.  He finished gamely that day after a good trip, was only narrowly outfinished, and figures tighter for this for a trainer sporting a perfect 100 Trainer Rating second off the layoff.  We'll take him to go forward in this spot and play him with Stormy Len and Mills.  
 
Selections:  5-9-4-3-8
 
 
Race 8:  #2 Carried Interest seems to have finally come into his own recently, and he projects for a good trip tracking the pace of  #1 Royal Currier or #3 Green Gratto or, better yet, both.  
 
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We believe that he is better than those horses right now, although Royal Currier did show some of his old spark last time in his first start for David Jacobson. Carried Interest was unable to hold off #5 Sensational Slam when off a short layoff and after a contested pace while wide two starts back, and will have to worry about that closing rival once again today, as Sensational Slam is in very good form right now.  He finished gamely to hold his ground through the stretch behind the talented Vyjack last time, and is going to be tough to hold off if he can catch some pace up front.  #4 Saturday's Charm is another who will appreciate any pace that develops in this race, as he has been compromised over and over again by race dynamics since a sharp effort in last year's Tom Fool Handicap.
 
Selections:  2-5-4-1
 
 
 
Race 9:  #6 Tenacious Indeed was outrun in a very strong maiden heat in her debut, and now switches to turf and stretches out for start number two, both of which should suit her. Tenacious Indeed is the first foal out of a dam who won four times on grass in her career and made over $150k on that surface, and she is from a quality family of distance runners who won over turf.  #10 Laurenmychanelgirl is also eligible to improve in her second start, as she was outrun early over a speed-favoring track in her debut, and starts for a trainer who gets a strong rating with second-time starters (92) and with horses going sprint to route (84).  
 
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Of the experienced turf runners, #3 Eddy's Time is logical, but she's had chances and has simply proven to not be that good, and #8 Sleek could be given another chance, although she did nothing with a good trip in her turf debut when last seen.  
 
 
Selections:  6-10-8-3-11
 

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Belmont Analysis for Sunday May 11

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

Race 1:  Don't have any real good ideas against ML favorite #4 Alaskan Bird in the opener, as she drops down to this level for the first time and faces a field that, for the most part, has already been exposed.  Our other horse would be #7 Kevin's Kool Kat, who has acceptable dirt form, but also a penchant for running 2nd.

Selections:  4-7-8-1
 
 
Race 2:  #4 None  Like Nolan hasn't been out since his debut here on dirt last June, but he put in a good run from off the pace that day, and his pedigree is much more slanted toward grass (94 pedigree rating).  Hi dam, Green Lyons, posted all four career wins, and was Grade 2 placed, on turf, and this is the female family of Naissance Royale, who won multiple graded stakes on grass for Christophe Clement a few years ago.  The layoff is a concern however.  Since he is sure to be a better price, we will take second time starter #3 Bolt From the Blue on top here, picking up Rosario and switching to grass after a conditioning debut.  Bolt From the Blue is by the solid turf stallion More Than Ready, from a dam who was stakes placed on grass, and his half-brother Electric Shock was a winner as well as placing in multiple stakes over turf.  #2 Waco is a long shot to include on the turn back for trainer H. James Bond, who does very good work with turf sprinters (87 Trainer Rating).
 
Selections:  3-4-2-6
 
 
Race 3:  You don't need us to tell you that #3 Palace Malice is a very likely winner at the shortest of prices.  It will be nice to see him run, as he preps for his next major goal, the Met Mile, but we have better things to do with our money than to be it either on or against him.
 
Selections:  3
 
 
Race 4:  Pace Projector favors horses on or near the early lead, and we are on board, as we are looking for horses to play against the likely favorite, #3 Celebrator.  Beginning with him, while he doesn't land in the strongest field in the world, he does appear to be the kind of horse who will be favored just because.  He is no faster than several of his rivals today on our speed figures, and he has had trouble getting out of the gate in every one of his three starts so far.  
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With Pace Projector placing both #7 Beeliner and #2 King of Broadway up front early, we will primarily use those two horses, while pressing King of Broadway.  We could also use a little Woelf Den, assuming that he stays around his ML odds..  Woelf Den has landed in a some tough fields in his six NY starts to date, but that is decidedly not the case today.  . 
 
Selections:  2-6-7-3
 
 
Race 5:  It may all come down to trips in this wide open turf sprint with several win candidates, so, for wagering purposes, let price be your guide. We were fans of #5 Ballerina Belle last year, and were impressed with her turf debut, which came in her last start.  But she got a perfect trip that day, and we can be against her if she is indeed the favorite v.s this field off the layoff.  One price idea is #1 Daddy Loves Gold, who we think will appreciate going the shorter distance here, and has the kind of tactical ability to ride the hedge in range of the pace.  From there, she may have to get a little lucky to get a run, but we think she's good enough, and should be a fair price.  Out other horse would be #9 KIss Me Lola.  She is a bit of an in-and-outer, but is capable of a big effort at times and projects for a tracking trip out in the clear.  We also don't discount the chances of #6 Claiming Victory, who has a versatile running style, and has won both non-stakes turf sprints. 
 
Selections:  1-9-5-6
 
 
Race 6:  We liked #6 Mononoke last time, on the thinking that she would get to the lead on that field and be tough to catch.  She did make the lead, but was disappointing in coming up empty at the top of the stretch.  We will give her one more chance today, as she should be right up close once again in a race that that favors runners on or near the early lead, and it will not hurt that she gets the services of Javier Castellano today.  Her best race makes her tough, now she just has to run it.  
 
Selections:  6-4-5-7
 
 
Race 7:  We think that #9 Free as a Bird has found a home as a turf sprinter, and also think the she exits the strongest last race of these, when an unlucky second at Keeneland.
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In fact, sandwiched around that allowance win two starts back, we would argue that Free as a Bird was best in both that start three back on February 17th, when she was shuffled out of position before rallying late, and last time, where she was simply asked to carry too much ground while four-wide throughout and couldn't hold on late.  We will also use the other horse in here exiting the Giants Causeway stakes, #3 Believe in Charlie.  Believe in Charlie has really improved her game recently, and she lost all chance at Keenelnad when unable to find a lane in the stretch and ultimately had to steady out of contention., 
 
Selections:  9-3-1-10
 
 
Race 8: The Ruffian brings together an interesting mix of horses, some already of proven graded-stakes quality, a couple stepping up in class, hoping it's the right time, and, finally, a solid pair of stakes mares looking to solidify their credentials. 
 
The accomplished graded-stakes performers, and perhaps the pair to beat, are Grace Hall and Fiftyshadesofhay. At age two and three,  Grace Hall was a quality filly in the care of Tony Dutrow, but she hasn't been seen since two below-par efforts early in 2013.  She has almost certainly had issues in the interim, and, even though she is returning to the races for Bill Mott, who does excellent work with layoffs, we will be taking a wait-and-see approach regarding her current status. 
 
Fiftyshadesofhay, a three-time graded stakes winner last year as a 3yo, ships in from California for Bob Baffert.  She was far from embarrassed in her three tries vs. Beholder and Princess of Sylmar last year, and is sure to attract a lot of attention in this spot.  We just have never been big fans of hers, and are never afraid to be in against her, especially when she's a short price. 
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To us, the two right horses in here are My Wandy's Girl and, to a lesser extent, Toasting.  My Wandy's Girl seems to be suited to these middle-distance one-turn races around here, and she will be looking to better her unlucky runner-up effort in this race last year, when she was caught four-wide throughout and fell short of catching a rail-riding winner.  She enters the Ruffian this year off a strong effort in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie.  She did all of the dirty work that day, going after the speedy La Verdad right off the blocks and gamely dueling her down through the stretch.  La Verdad came back in her next start to post a big 121 speed figure in winning the Grade 2 Distaff Handicap. 
 
Selections:  2-4-6-1
 
 
Race 9:  
 
A strong field is assembled for this Grade 1 turf event, a race in which we think we could make a case for backing any one of 5 or 6 of the 8 horses entered.  Grandeur may be the horse to beat based on his overseas form, and it's to his credit that he has proven to be a capable shipper.  He made a return trip to the states last year for the Arlington Million, after winning a couple of graded stakes in California as a 3yo (note: No Lasix!), and while he was no factor in the Million, he was caught wide throughout from post 13. 
 
He will need to bring one of his best races to defeat this field, however.  Imagining is a typical late-developing runner for Shug McGaughey, and he had a career-year in 2013, at the age of 5.  He received a curious ride in his 2014 debut, in the GP Turf Handicap, taking back to last before coming with a game wide run for 2nd, but he has more tactical speed than that and is a dangerous horse in this race.
 
Amira's Prince would have been our choice in this race were he in his 2013 form.  He hasn't been at his best in two starts so far this year, but is now third off of the long layoff for Bill Mott and may be ready to step forward.  If that's the case, expect him to be a handful in here.
 
We think Real Solution is a major player in this spot and want to use him on all tickets.  He caught soft turf off the layoff at Fair Grounds and didn't fire his best shot, but he proved last year that he is capable of a race that would be plenty good enough in here, and his trainer, Chad Brown, is firing on all cylinders through the first two weeks of this meet. 
 
We are going to go in another direction for our main play in this race, based mostly on price considerations.  In a lot of ways, Vertiformer may simply be in too tough today.  However, outside of Real Solution's promotion to 1st via disqualification in the Arlington Million last year, there are no Grade 1 winners in this field, and he may be getting good at the right time.  Vertiformer returned from a long layoff in January with a trainer change to Christophe Clement, and the improvement in his performance has been noticeable.  He did appear to be a short horse first off the layoff in Texas, but was ready to travel 1 1/2 miles last time at GP, and but for being locked in through the final turn and forced to try to rally up the rail in the stretch, would likely have won that Grade 2 event.  The horse that finished just behind him that day, Slumber, had previously acquitted himself well vs. Real Solution and Imagining in last year's Turf Classic. 
 
We think it may be the right time to get a price on Vertiformer, while recognizing that it won't be easy for him in the Man O' War. 
 
Selections:  3-6-2-1
 
 
Race 10:  We will be playing the late Pick 4 looking to get alive to three horses here:  #3 Manoffire, who raced very greenly after being steadied out to last early on in his GP debut, and now faces fellow NY-breds in his second start; #9 Thurgood, who has the strong combination of a non-typical NY-bred pedigree, and a trainer who excels with first time starters; and #11 Hard Rumor, who did nothing with a nice trip when last seen at the end of his two-year-old season, but is expected to improve with first time lasix today.
 
Selections:  9-3-11-7
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Belmont Analysis for Saturday May 10

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

Race 1: We've always thought that #6 Special Skills had the potential to be a solid racehorse once he had the time to grow up a little and act more professionally.  He was last seen getting dueled into defeat going longer at Monmouth last August, but he has sprinted effectively in the past, starts for a trainer adept at bringing horses back from layoffs (93 Trainer Rating off layoffs), and has enough speed to get an up-close tracking trip in this spot.  He will have to improve some here if one (or more) of his experienced rivals brings his "A" game to this spot, but has the room to do so.  #4 Thomas Hill and #8 Awakino Cat are the kinds of horses you can't help but like, as they show up every time and just run.  We think they will both appreciate getting away from those shorter sprints down at Gulfstream, and are the two horses to beat here. 
 
Selections:  6-4-8-5-1
 
 
Race 2:  #7 Laguna My Way has been the speed in each of her first two starts, and failed to last both times.  We understand anyone that would just take the position that he wants someone (ANYONE) else this time, but alternatives are hard to come by.  She'll be in front once again.  Maybe she can last this time.  To us, the other horse is not class-dropping #2 Las Olas Azur, who was dreadful last time, but second-time starter #5 Lexsoya.  Lexsoya raced a bit greenly in her debut last month, so could improve for the experience, and her trainer, Michelle Nevin, has won with 4 of the last 6 second-time starters she has sent out in maiden claiming races. 
 
 
Selections:  5-7-2-8-3
 
 
 
Race 3:  #3 Brilliant Jewel is the clear horse to beat here as a likely heavy favorite.  She has disappointed at short prices in the past, so you may want to have alternatives at the ready, but we think getting back around one turn is going to help her.  If you're against, you're doing some guessing with firsters, perhaps the most interesting of which is #4 Shayjolie (an Indian Charlie half-sister to the multiple graded stakes winner Mythical Power), who has posted some quick breezes. 
 
Selections:  3-4-2-1-5
 
 
 
Race 4:  Did a lot of looking around in this field, as we're just not sure how much we trust a horse like #2 Kingston Jamaica, though it's hard to deny that he is supposed to be tough at this level.  After much consideration, we have decided not to oppose him strongly in here.  Clearly something went amiss with this once-promising runner, and while he hasn't come back to form just yet, something close to what he has been doing on grass since the layoff should play well in here, and the class drop only helps his cause.  Our backups would be #3 Hot Sand and #10 Lead Singer, and looking at those two on form only makes the case for Kingston Jamaica stronger. 
 
 
Selections:  2-10-3-1-4
 
 
 
Race 5:  #5 Matching Skies hasn't been on turf in a while, but she has handled it well in the past, and done so against much tougher competition than this.  She has held solid form on the dirt all winter, so if she can transfer back to grass here, we think she may have found a likely spot.  Pace Projector indicates that there could be a bit of a scramble on early in this race, and while that scenario would play well for the tracking speed of Matching Skies, it will also help #4 Fantastic Eyes. 
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Fantastic Eyes has won going farther, but she has been at her best sprinting on the grass, and this is the right level for her.  The layoff is the major concern.  We could also use #3 Downtown Hottie in this spot, as she drops down in class off of a no-show effort going longer.  She is an infrequent winner, and may be better going a bit longer than the six furlongs she gets here, but she is supposed to be tough in this field if she can still run.
 
Selections:  5-4-3-12-10
 
 
Race 6:  #7 Oghma is unlikely to find a better spot than this one any time soon, as he will face 8 rivals who have combined to make 216 starts while remaining eligible to this 2-life condition.  Switches from turf to dirt here, which is a strong angle for this trainer (92 rating), and he was a bit unlucky with a tough trip in his last start on the main track.
 
Selections:  7-4-3-5-9
 
 
Race 7:  Biggest question surrounding this race may be what #2 Edison can do here, as he makes his first start away from Gulfstream Park for Pletcher, and first start vs. winners after an all-around impressive maiden score.  He contested a fast pace every yard that day, and managed to keep it up all the way to the finish.  There is other speed in this race, and it is not always a given that this barn's runners will reproduce their Florida form, but Edison is the horse to beat here.  We are interested to see what #6 Stableford can do here as he makes his stateside debut. 
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He may need one off the bench, but he earned some solid marks overseas last season, and will likely appreciate any pace that develops in front of him.  We also don't think that the NY-bred #7 Make a Decision  is out of this.  He improved toward the end of last year once learning to relax a little, and could use his new-found rating ability to good effect in this spot. 
 
Selections:  6-2-7-4-9
 
 
Race 8:  #8 Eastwood made an impressive start to his career last summer, winning a pair of sprints over this track, with solid figures, prior to being sold and turned over to Todd Pletcher.  He could manage only 3rd in his first start for his new connections, but Eastwood lost nothing in defeat that day, as he was forced to contest a very strong pace and only succumbed to closers late after exchanging a couple of bumps in the stretch.  Pace Projector envisions no such early battles for Eastwood in this race, and places him in front early in a race-shape that favors horses on or near the early lead. 
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We think the main danger to Eastwood could be #5 Don Tito, who has won 3 of 4 starts off the claim for Rudy Rodriguez, and has earned competitive speed figures for all three of those wins while managing to overcome some modest paces.  #10 Confrontation could be a player here as well, as there may still be some upside with him, and he won each of his first three starts convincingly before heading south and running into Evolution Rocks, who hung up a 117 speed figure in that race. 
 
Selections:  8-5-10-4-1A
 
 
Race 9: 
 
We believe #4 Tonalist  to be the Peter Pan entrant with the most scope for improvement, and we think he is the horse to beat.  However, if ever there is a time to take a stand against a horse at a short price, it is when that horse enters the gate with questions surrounding his current form.  Tonalist was looking very good down in Florida over the winter, first overpowering maidens over nine-furlongs despite a wide trip, and then finishing a solid second to the undefeated Constitution despite being taken out of his game while forced to chase that rival over a speed-favoring track.  Those efforts spurred talk of Tonalist being a legit Kentucky Derby contender, and he was supposed to get his chance to make that race by competing in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial in April at Aqueduct.  Unfortunately, Tonalist came down with a lung infection, which caused him to miss that race and lose any hope of running in the Derby.  He has also reportedly been training in bar shoes lately to help alleviate some issues with his feet.  Neither of those things means that Tonalist can't or won't win the Peter Pan.  But it does make taking a short price on him a little more difficult to do.
Our Pace Projector for the Peter Pan indicates that Fabulous Kid, a speedy son of Congrats newly settled into trainer Jimmy Toner's barn, will be on a clear early lead, with that being the preferred running style for the race.  We think that the extra furlong here is going to prove too much for Fabulous Kid, but we like the projected trip for our selection in the race, #6 Our Caravan, who should be tracking right in behind that lone pace-setter.  Our Caravan was asked to run in a couple of difficult spots at Gulfstream after winning first time out at a big price, and that didn't work out.  But he looked good defeating Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby winner Ring Weekend at Calder with new blinkers last time, and he earned a solid 97 TimeformUS speed figure for that effort, which puts him on par with Tonalist.  
 
Selections:  6-4-1-2-7
 
 
Race 10:  Very interesting maiden event on the grass to close it out, one that will bear watching down the line no matter who comes out on top today, but we are very interested in taking a shot with #5 Brilliant Command in this race.  Brilliant Command made a highly promising debut at Saratoga last summer, racing wide throughout and coming with a good stretch run to battle for the lead and ultimately falling just short.  He then had a no-chance trip behind a wire-to-wire winner on a slow pace in his second start, and was not put all-in by his rider when it was apparent that he had no chance.  He's likely to need a little pace to develop for him to have his best shot, but with 12 entered, including the stretch-out sprinter #11 Lunar Tales, that shouldn't be an issue.  We are also interested in #12 Knight of Valor (a half to the multiple graded stakes winner Mr. Commons), who was green and outrun early before putting in a run in his Gulfstream debut. 
 
Selections:  5-12-2-3-7
 
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Belmont Analysis for Friday May 9

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

Race 1:  Both #1 Magsamelia and #6 Will Do are logical horses in this race, and so it is no surprise to see them favored on the ML.  Magsamelia drops down for the first time and will be looking to get back to something more like her debut effort, where she got an easy trip, kicked out to a clear stretch lead, and was run down late.  Will Do, meanwhile, could be viewed as a horse who hasn't had a fair chance yet.  She caught sloppy tracks, and was back off of moderate paces, in each of her first two starts, and then was run off her feet by a blowout drop-down winner over a speed-favoring track last time. 2014-05-09_07-14-55r1
We'll see if one of them can break through here, but we are going to take a small shot against them with first-time starter #7 Quality LegendBy Elusive Quality and out of a multiple stakes-winning dam, Quality Legend scores a strong 93 pedigree rating, and her trainer's rating with maiden claimers on today's circuit (96, as compared to his 74 overall rating) sticks out. 
 
Selections:  7-1-6-3
 
 
Race 2:   #5 Partly Mocha owns the best turf sprint form in the field, and is handy enough to pull any kind of trip in a race, depending upon the pace scenario.  The question for him will be, can he run his best race off the layoff?  It took him a couple of starts last year to hit his best stride off the bench, and his trainer does not have a strong rating with horse starting back off a break (65 vs. an overall rating of 74).  If he needs one, #4 Bluegrass Springs, off of a layoff of his own, could be the right one here.  Bluegrass Springs won both of his turf starts over this trip last year, and he was up against it when last seen, rating back off of a moderate pace while facing a strong field for the level.  There appears to be plenty of pace signed in here, assuming the field stays intact, and that would benefit Bluegrass Springs most, as he sports the fields top Late Pace Rating (92) by a wide margin.
 
Selections:  4-5-1-9-10
 
 
Race 3:  
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Pace Projector for this race favors horses on or near the early lead, and of the three horses expected to be part of the pace, we prefer #7 Bio Pro. Bio Pro has been holding graded-stakes quality form in Southern California since last summer, and he will get the right turn-back in distance here while making his first start since being purchased privately and being turned over to Bill Mott.  
The other West Coast invader, #1 Slim Shadey, would be dangerous if re-finding his best form, but he's been at his best over longer distances since arriving stateside way back in early 2012 (all four U.S. wins are at 1 1/4 miles). 
 
Selections:  7-1-9-10-4
 
 
Race 4:  #1 Moon Back More has earned a couple of recent layover figures, and has been installed as a short-priced ML favorite in this low-level claimer for older horses.  With alternatives difficult to come by, we will just point out that Pace Projector for this race favors horses racing up close and indicates that #9 Privatize could be loose on the lead here.  Whether that's enough of an advantage for Privatize, who is 1-for-14 lifetime and has managed to disappoint in a likely spot more than once, remains to be seen, but we will use him in the Pick 5, just in case.
 
Selections:  1-9-2-7-8
 
 
Race 5:  This appears to be the right spot for #5 Joking to get back into the winner's circle, after running well in each of his last three starts while coming up short.  He is consistently running the fastest races of this group recently, and will just have to keep himself in range early, as this race does not figure to feature a big pace.  Pace Projector favors the early leaders, and indicates that #4 Make a Fortune will make the front in here, in his first start off the Jacobson claim.  We have seen these horses be plenty dangerous in the past, so, if nothing else, it may pay to keep an eye on the board before finalizing your wagers. 
 
Selections:  5-4-2-1
 
 
Race 6:  #11 Annie Walker has proven a handful through three turf starts so far, breaking slowly and fighting her rider each time, while costing herself a fair chance.  Wonder if they'll just turn her loose early in here as she cuts back to a sprint. #5 Saucon Valley is a first-time starter by City Zip and debuts with Lasix for Chad Brown, and it would be no surprise if she came out running.  #3 Laurenmychanelgirl doesn't have a ton of turf in her pedigree, but is a second-time starter for Linda Rice (92 rating), and she was outrun early over a speed-favoring track in her debut. 
 
Selections:  11-5-3-1-8
 
 
Race 7: This is a very good allowance race, one that has a chance to produce a stakes runner or two down the line.  #7 Fingers Crossed didn't do well in Florida over the winter, but she ran a pair of strong races here last October, including a 100 TimeformUS speed figure effort to break her maiden.  She will have Lasix for the second time here, projects for a nice tracking trip in this race, and will be a price, so we are happy to give her a chance in this solid-looking allowance field.
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We're starting to get a little tired of #1A Tokyo Time, who clearly has ability and has been very unlucky on more than one occasion, but has also disappointed without apparent excuse in the past and did not run well when last seen at Gulfstream back in January.  She's a must-use for us in the late Pick 4, however.  #6 Wholelottashakin isn't exactly a winning type, with just three career victories from 20 starts, but she is very consistent, and handy enough to get any kind of trip.  Chad Brown will send out the uncoupled pair of #4 Balashkova, a first-time import from France with a 1-for-7 career mark, and #9 Fizzy Pink, who looked good breaking her maiden in her first stateside start at Aqueduct.  
 
Selections:  7-1A-4-6-9
 
 
Race 8:  Field of only 5 set to contest this one-turn mile, but any one of them could win it without surprising.  While Pace Projector favors the early leaders, and places #1 Piquant alone on the pace, we will attempt to defy that scenario by taking the very sharp #4 Start Jumping on top.  This is a tact we would be unlikely to take were Start Jumping a short price in this race, but seeing that he is the fourth choice on the ML, and considering the form this horse has been in recently, makes us more willing to take a chance.  #5 Irsaal is the ML favorite, and it is worth pointing, given the forecast for the area this week, that he likes a wet track, but he got a perfect trip in that win last out, and every horse in this field has run a faster race than he has so far proven capable of.  
 
Selections:  4-1-5-3-2
 
 
Race 9:  #9 Bella Kateri figures to be a solid favorite here off her Keeneland debut run, where she rallied gamely through the stretch to just miss 2nd (albeit with a perfect trip). We get her appeal, but want to try #8 Honeychild in this spot, as she returns from a layoff to make her 3yo debut. Honeychild made a nice turf debut at Saratoga, finishing a game second-best after a tough trip, and then disappointed a bit in her next two starts.  She returns here with a trainer change to George Weaver, who gets a perfect 100 Trainer Rating with horses making their first start out of his barn.  #11 Lutheran Miss also deserves a look as she switches to turf for start number two after chasing a wire-to-wire winner over a speed-favoring track in her debut.  
 
Selections:  8-9-11-1-6
 
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