Top Plays for Sunday January 22nd
by TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona
RACE 3: RESOLVE (#4)
There is a lot going on in this race. Snow Fighter is probably the horse to beat, but his last start was dull and his one towering speed figure seems a little suspect. That Makes Sense also figures to take plenty of action off the claim by Rudy Rodriguez, but I didn’t like how sluggish he was in the early going last time, and the published running line makes it seem like he finished up better than he actually did. I’m far more afraid of the speedy Two Down One to Go, who ran extremely well last time – a race in which he moved to the lead early and forced the pace to collapse. I will use him, but my top selection at a huge price is Resolve. I know this horse’s recent form looks pretty discouraging, but he was facing much tougher fields in those dirt races. His last start is actually not nearly as bad as it seems since he was in contention until the stretch and he may have been hindered by racing on the dead rail at Laurel. His previous starts around two turns on the inner are not terrible, and he figures to sit a good stalking trip here.
Trifecta Key Box: 2,4 with 2,4 with 1,5,6,7,8,10
RACE 5: STONE CRAB (#11)
Shadow Rider is obviously the horse to beat, and I have no strong argument against anyone who concedes that he is a very likely winner at a short price. However, I don’t love betting Gary Contessa with these kinds of favorites, and I would prefer to have at least one solid alternative. That horse would be Stone Crab, who needs to draw in off the also-eligible list. I can’t fault Kendrick Carmouche for his ride last time since he was trying to win the race. There was not much speed in there, and he thought he could enhance his chances by riding this plodding closer more aggressively. Ultimately, the early exertions probably took something away from his finish. This horse should revert to closing tactics here, and the TimeformUS Pace Projector is predicting that he will get a fast pace to close into.
Exacta Key Box: 11 with 1,5,8
RACE 6: SOL THE FREUD (#10)
I don’t know what Sol the Freud’s rider was thinking on Dec. 31. For whatever reason he decided to rate from an outside post position in a race where he should have been the speed. All things considered, the horse actually ran a remarkable race to even be fourth, considering that he was wide throughout against a pronounced rail bias. Now the connections switch back to Rajiv Maragh, who rode this horse properly two back. If he can repeat that effort here, I think he can win at a square price. Obviously, he has to beat the favorite, Possilicious, but I don’t completely trust him as he drops in class. Both of these should benefit from a scenario that is predicted to benefit front-runners.
Exacta Key Box: 10 with 1,3,7,8,9
RACE 7: JAMES LANE (#1)
There are two ways to look at James Lane’s last race: 1) He couldn’t make up ground in the stretch because he just didn’t handle the two turns. Or 2) His late run was muted when his rider was forced to angle him off the gold rail in the stretch. I tend to gravitate towards that second school of thought and believe that James Lane was also compromised by dynamics last time. Furthermore, this horse had previously run his two best races when he was ridden more aggressively. I certainly don’t mind the rider switch to Kendrick Carmouche since he figures to use this horse’s speed from his inside post position. I will key on him and use him with the two other major players, Papa Shot and Danebury.
Exacta Key Box: 1 with 7,10
Trifecta: 1 with 7,10 with 1,5,6,7,9,10
RACE 8: MISS HOLLYWOOD (#1)
Maybe this is just a match race between Hot City Girl and Clothes Fall Off, but both have some questions to answer in this race. According to Linda Rice, Hot City Girl has to prove that she shouldn’t be bound for the breeding shed after a loss as the odds-on favorite last time. Clothes Fall Off got a great trip to win the Correction here last year, but is she ready to produce her best effort off a long layoff? I want someone else and believe that Miss Hollywood is an intriguing new face. This mare always had the pedigree to be a good one and it seems like she finally put it all together in Florida this past summer. She did lose as the favorite when last seen, but the two fillies that beat her are certainly talented. Gustavo Delgado can win off layoffs and has connected with some prices on this circuit.
Exacta Key Box: 1 with 2,4,6,7