Thursday, October 09, 2014
TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer
Race 1: #7 Box Office won first off the claim for current connections, and has since settled for second-best in four of his six starts. Cuts back in distance and drops in class for this after racing outside all the way against an inside-speed-favoring track at Saratoga, and he has the speed to be in the game from the start. #1 M J Plus also drops in class, and he has been compromised in each of his last two starts (behind a slow pace last time; chased outside on an inside-speed-favoring track two back). #2 Apex is competitive with his best race, and he has enough speed to keep up early.
Race 2: #1 Go Olivia Go drops off the claim, but that's not always a bad sign with these connections, and we like her current form best of these. Was rated back early and stayed off the rail on a day when inside speed was dominant, and her prior two races make her tough in here. #5 Discreet Force would be a major factor in here if up to her best, but that has to be a big question mark for her after another layoff, and she was a vet scratch on September 18. #3 Wild Kay is projected to be the clear speed in a race favoring runners on or near the lead, and she likes to win races, but she had the best of it early last time and was no match at crunch time. Re-claimed by connections who have done well with her in the past.
Race 3: Realize that #1 Grandpa Len is tough to take on top at 1-for-23 and counting, but he is clearly fast enough to win and may be overlaid on the board due to his new connections. Ran a better race (in our opinion) than likely favorite #6 Goodnewsisnonews when they met at Saratoga on opening day. Goodnewsisnonews drops back down to the level of the claim three starts back and switches from turf to dirt after failing to impact in his two starts for this barn. Obviously a good fit in this race. #5 Alcolite is third off the layoff and has shown improved speed since returning. Class drop figures to help his chances. #7 Cosmic Coincidence gets a slightly shorter distance to work with here, which may help his cause, and he has enough speed to be a factor from start to finish in this spot.
Race 4: Tough 4th race for 2yo maidens on the grass and sporting little in the way of competitive form. #7 Hail Cornell and #11 Birkenhead are logical as the two ML favorites, but neither has done so much running that we will happily take short prices on them. Instead we'll try #5 Matty's Wondergirl, who has some turf in her pedigree (76 Breeding Rating for turf routes; dam won on the grass) and put in a run through the stretch in her main-track debut. #8 Atrous apparently didn't care for the sloppy track and trailed throughout her debut, but she's eligible to improve quickly on turf (84 Breeding Rating; dam was a stakes winner on grass). #10 Kibble sat a perfect trip when switched to turf last time but delivered no kick in the stretch. That was likely a better field than this one, so we'll give her the benefit of the doubt.
Race 5: #2 What the Frost got a short break after being claimed for $40k at Saratoga, so not thrilled to see her dropped in for $20k so quickly, but she took the worst of it when forced to chase 4-to-5-wide last time, and she is a two-time winner over this 7-furlong distance. #6 E Z Passer is clearly the one to beat as she makes her first start off the claim while looking for her 5th straight win. She also handles this distance well, and we have no argument with anyone sticking with her. #9 Matching Skies gave E Z Passer a race last time, and did so despite having to go wide as E Z Passer slipped through toward the inside. Wonder about the added distance for her, but she's value at her ML odds.
Race 6: 7yo #11 Mr. Vegas has won just once over the last two years (only 11 starts), but he's a perfect example of why horses cutting back to short turf sprints are at a big disadvantage. Turned back to 5.5 furlongs for his last start, he was immediately outpaced to the back of the field by quicker horses, and was never a factor. He's better going longer, and one of his better races makes him a handful in this field. #1A Depeche Chat settled back in last and then powered through the stretch to close down frontrunning Thomas Hill first off the claim. Similar performance makes him a threat but must draw in. #3 Hard Enough was second-best without threat in restricted stakes company off the claim. This is a better spot. #10 McIlroy has been in solid form since claimed by Chad Brown back in February, and he will appreciate the class relief he sees here after getting buried in a tougher spot last time.
Race 7: #2 Official has run well in both turf starts to date, and she rallied gamely through traffic when sprinting last time. We didn't care for the unaggressive ride given to #10 Aesthetique last time, but we've also grown tired of making excuses for this horse, whom we've championed right from the start. She's becoming expensive for us to follow, but we will use her somewhere in this race. #3 Given Fire is the horse to beat off of her last two. She has speed and will benefit from the slightly shorter distance of this race.
Race 8: One more try for #8 Isn'tlovejustgrand, who continues to go well this year while failing to catch the right situation. Can be more aggressively ridden if necessary, and he was dead-game through the stretch once again when chasing a frontrunning winner last time. #6 Strong Impact hasn't panned out since being claimed for $80k earlier this year, but he's faced tougher right along and is supposed to be tough on these horses. #5 Asset Inflation is not likely to cruise along on a loose lead as he did last time, but he's versatile enough for that not to be an excuse, and he is one tough trip away from being an undefeated turf sprinter.
Race 9: #1 Congress Park was unlucky to run into a powerful firster from Chad Brown's barn on debut, but she ran a big race in her own right and is going to be tough to defeat here if running something close to that right back. #11 Courageisamajority got in a sprint prep, and now stretches out for second career start. More distance figures to work for her, as her dam was a multiple graded stakes winner going long on grass. #10 Truly Posseble is a half to a pair of turf winners, including Infinite Magic, who won the Grade 3 American Derby on turf as a 3yo. #12 Fourstar Crook debuts for Chad Brown, who has been virtually unbeatable with his 2yo first-time starters on turf over the past few months.