Wednesday, May 07, 2014
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Holiday 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.