Friday, June 20, 2014
TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer
TimeformUS Analysis for Saturday June 21st
Race 1: #8 Spanish Armada could do no better than 3rd on debut behind a pair of Wesley Ward runners, including the impressive Sunset Glow, who goes next at Royal Ascot; Pletcher much better with maidens on turf in their second start. He will face five first-time starters, so watching the board may help, and another pair from Ward, including the speedy #2 Lamontagne.
Race 2: #3 Aesthetique made a nice progression last year at 2, improving her figures with each start, culminating with an impressive 5+ length win over maidens; 3yo debut appeared to be nothing but a prep, as she stayed inside and was allowed to finish on her own power after stumbling at the start. #1 As Well also rates to improve while making her second start of the year; just needs some pace to set her up.
Race 3: #7 Paddle Board has the top last speed figure in the field by a clear margin, and projects for the right trip up on the pace in a race shape that favors front-runners. #1 Alpaca Fina has run several races in the past that can compete here, and she was badly compromised by the track bias on January 12 (on a dead rail) and March 15 (away from a strong rail); forget about turf try last week. #5 Money Game had improved her speed figures in every start through the maiden win back in March, which makes it a little disconcerting that she was switched to turf for her first start out of Pletcher's barn.
Race 4: #6 Lutheran Miss was against a strong rail in her debut back at Aqueduct, and had no chance with stakes repeater Isabelle after having her turf debut rained off to the main track last month; trainer get perfect 100 rating with turf sprinters.
#5 Jennys Creek will be competitive here with her best effort, but that's been the story of her life through 15 career starts. #7 The Lady's Cruisen debuts for the white-hot Linda Rice and is a half to the four-time turf winner Safari Artie.
Race 5: #8 Jimmy Soul was an unlucky loser of his turf debut after getting the best of a fast duel with a rival who faded to last, only to be run down late by a perfect-trip closer; doesn't figure to get hooked up again, and the trainer is going well at this meet.
#3 Giant Slayer makes debut for Christophe Clement, who is one of the very few who wins with these horses consistently, and #5 Uptown Joe rates to have developed further from pair of solid 2yo races over this course last October.
Race 6: #7 Love to Run is off the layoff, which is a concern, but he was consistently running races that would be very tough on this field last year, and he has enough speed to stay close to the leaders. Consistent and hard-hitting #4 Frazil may be the one to beat, and he projects to be on the lead early in a race that favors that running style. #5 St Moose has been going well recently, and he turns back a bit off the claim.
Race 7: #5 Sweet Acclaim is the horse to beat in the $100k Wild Applause stakes for 3yo fillies, as she is well-connected and has run the top TimeformUS Speed Figures in the field, each time for runner-up finishes vs. stakes company. She was second-best both times, but behind talented runners, and she was game to the finish in each of those starts. We think she is beatable in this race, and are going to attempt to beat her, but we want to use her in the Pick 4. #3 Walk Close hasn't been the flashiest of winners in her two career starts to date, but win she has, and, to us, she has displayed some attributes that are much more important than flash: She has been professional and she has been genuine at crunch time, both indicators of class, as well as ability. She is 2-for-2 to start her career, and both times she was able to maintain her position going forward while in traffic, and both times she was there for jockey Irad Ortiz when she finally worked her way into the clear. We want her on top in this race, and will key on her in our Pick 4 play. There are two imports to consider down inside for trainer Rick Mettee, and while either, or both, may turn out to be OK, we could only use them as backups. #1 My Jolie has been going longer in France this year in group company, and will add blinkers for her stateside debut, while #2 Nisharora hasn't run in over a year and will stretch out beyond six furlongs for the first time, but has attracted a top rider and will be adding lasix.
Race 8: Field of 11 claiming fillies and mares set to sprint on turf, a surface over which they have combined to win just 6 races from a collective 79 starts. To complicate things further, Pace Projector indicates that a fast pace is on tap.
ML favorite #3 Love to Score has kept the best company, has run some of the fastest races, and is dropping in class. But she also projects to be involved in that fast pace for a trainer who has won with just 2 of his last 45 starters dating back to last month. We are happy to try to beat her assuming the field stays intact and she does indeed go postward at a relatively short price. We will try to get through the sequence using #2 Happy Recap (who is by Big Brown, a relatively new sire whose foals are a remarkable 11-for-46 in turf sprints as of this writing), #6 Kilnockagain, who made her turf debut vs. a much better group last time, and ran well without a perfect trip, #7 My Bella Beauty, who was given a break by an excellent trainer after going off form, and class-dropping #11 Lumineuse.
Race 9: The Grade 3 Bed O' Roses drew a competitive field of 11 fillies and mares and, lacking a standout favorite in the field, may well be determined by who gets the seven furlongs most effectively (only four of the entrants have posted a prior win over this trip, and one of those, Flattering Bea (#3, 10-1), has done it only at Charles Town, where the seven-furlong races are contested around two-turns) and, more specifically, by the pace of the race.
Pace Projector indicates that the likeliest runners to be up front early on are #2 Five Star Momma, #4 Ultimate Shopper, and #11 Lion D N A, and indeed, they are all speed-types who do their best running up on the pace, though Lion D N A appears more versatile than the other two and benefits from her outside draw. She actually exits a stakes win at Pimlico last month in which she was able to sit back in a perfect tracking trip as Flattering Bea got herself involved in a race-long duel. Still, she'll want to be forwardly placed in here, as will Flattering Bea, who emerges from her two most recent tries sporting a pair of new top speed figures, both earned with a new front-running style. It's hard to believe that her connections would be looking to revert to her closing ways of the past, considering recent results, so we'll expect her to show speed once again. #9 Classic Point is another who could add fuel to the early fire, as she has won, or even run reasonably well, only when able to be part of the pace, and she turns back after showing the way early in that strong edition of the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps.
With that group of horses all, perhaps, looking to be involved early, we think that there is a good chance that a strong pace develops in the Bed O' Roses, and for that reason, we are looking for off-the-pace types in this race. The first closer to catch the eye is #10 Street Girl, who just finished second in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff behind the talented Midnight Lucky. Street Girl also ran quite well to be a close 4th in the Grade 1 Ballerina last summer, and did so as a 3yo against older fillies & mares. She doesn't sprint very often, but she has run some of the best races in the field over this distance and is difficult to leave out. We can't say we love her, especially if she winds up favored, as the ML suggests she might be, but we'll leave her in our mix.
The horse we are most interested in having our money on in this race is #1 Table Three Ten. Table Three Ten figures to be one of the biggest prices in the field, and, while we can understand why when looking at her running lines, we think she may have more to offer than the bare form indicates. Clearly, as a 5yo mare with only eight career starts to this point, she has had some problems. But she began her career as a highly promising prospect, posted back-to-back impressive wins sprinting, and was purchased privately by Team Valor International after her blowout debut win (note that she put up a 104 TimeformUS Speed Figure for that effort, as a 2yo). Since those two wins, Table Three Ten has sprinted on dirt only three times. She won in the Parx mud in her return from a long layoff last September, and then ran much better than it may appear when trying to rally over a speed-favoring track down at Gulfstream in the Hollywood Beach Stakes. Take the short comment in the chart for that race, "passed tired ones," with a grain of salt, as she did much more running than that through the stretch, and just missed getting up for 3rd while against the track in there. In her last start, she tried to come wide after a front-running winner back at Parx and could only be second best. The rail draw shouldn't be a huge obstacle for her to overcome, as we think she will be letting the speed go in front of her anyway, and if she can catch some pace to run into over a fair track, we think she may be good enough to get a big piece of this race, and to perhaps spring the upset.
We are also interested in using a little of #7 Calistoga in this race, as she is another who has flashed potential. She has some legitimate excuses for not having accomplished more to this point. She will need to break through with a top effort in order to contend in here, but she is versatile enough to pull the right trip and is a square number on the morning line, as well.
Race 10: Tough race to close out the sequence, as nine evenly matched NY-breds will line up to travel 1 1/16 miles. Our Pace Projector for this race indicates that the running will favor horses on or near the early lead, and that is expected to play to the advantage of #6 Ultimate Empire. That view of the race makes sense to us, so we will use that horse, despite our not being big fans of his. The other horses for us are #1 The Brothers Rap, #5 Quiet Power, and #8 Sir Leslie. We have been doing some chasing of #9 Effinex, so will use him as a backup while recognizing that he may be up against the pace dynamics.