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TimeformUS Analysis for May 18

TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona

TimeformUS Analysis for Racing at Belmont Park on Wednesday May 18th

>>Go To TimeformUS Past Performances For These Races


Race 1: There's no denying that Swell (#5) has consistently run the fastest races heading into Wednesday's opener. Additionally, the Pace Projector is predicting that he will be on the lead in a situation favoring the frontrunner. The 7-day turnaround is of slight concern, but Michelle Nevin gets a decent enough 84 trainer rating with horses running back in this timeframe. We can certainly use him, but our top pick is WHEELS UP NOW (#2). This colt ran well when breaking his maiden last time, and we believe that this turnback in distance will really suit him. Furthermore, Tom Albertrani gets an encouraging 78 trainer rating with horses turning back in distance.

Selections: 2 – 5 – 1 – 3 

 

Race 2: First-time starters dominate this oversubscribed field of two-year-olds, so there is quite a bit of guesswork to be done. We will use both Todd Pletcher-trained runners, assuming the one stuck on the also-eligible list is able to draw into the field. Asscher (#6) is a half-brother to the talented Lord Nelson while Fiesta (#11) worked a furlong in 10 1/5 seconds at the Fasig-Tipton sale. Wesley Ward's MacCorleot (#4), a son of record-setting first-crop sire Uncle Mo, worked a furlong in 10 flat at the OBS Sale and must be used. All of these horses will be on our tickets, but we think the debut runner that may offer the best value is OLIVE BRANCH (#7), who is by top sire Speightstown and out of a dam who is a full-sister to $500,000 earner Wilburn. Rick Violette has been having a rough 2016, but he gets a superb 100 trainer rating with debuting two-year-old maidens.

Selections: 7 – 4 – 11 – 6 – 8 

 

Race 3: The two obvious choices on the morning line are both trained by Steve Asmussen. Familyofroses (#4) makes her first start off the claim while turning back to six and a half furlongs. Given the lack of pace in this race, we believe she may be up against it at a short price. Ducasa (#6) is fairly consistent, but she's had trouble getting to the winner's circle and typically finds a horse to beat her. We're instead interested in a couple of horses that should go off at larger prices. Live Love Laugh (#5) is projected to be the controlling speed in a situation likely to favor the frontrunner. While the layoff is a concern, she picks up the services of leading rider Jose Ortiz and has run races fast enough to beat this field in the past. She will be on our tickets, but we're just as interested in STONEHEARTEDLOVER (#1), who should go off at an even larger price. This mare's recent results may not look too encouraging on the surface, but the race ratings of her past efforts indicate that she has been facing tougher fields than the one she meets today. She has it in her to earn a competitive speed figure, and we like that Kendrick Carmouche, the best rider that's been on her back this year, stays aboard.

Selections: 1 – 5 – 6 – 4 

 

Race 4: Frostie Anne (#5) has to be considered the horse to beat as she makes her three-year-old debut while returning to turf, which appears to be her preferred surface. She nearly won a maiden special weight race sprinting on turf at Saratoga last summer and today marks her first start against claiming company, so she makes a lot of sense from a class perspective. The only negative is the trainer switch to Michelle Nevin, an 81-rated overall trainer who gets an abysmal 26 trainer rating in turf sprints. We prefer PLEASURE CRUISE (#11), who also returns from a layoff. She ran pretty well in her first start, which came at today's distance.  After regressing second time out, she returned to form when dropped to today's level at Aqueduct last fall, nearly overcoming a fast pace (color-coded in red) before fading in the last furlong.

Selections: 11 – 5 – 3 – 8 

 

Race 5: We want to spread a bit in this final leg of the Pick-5, since none of the contenders is wholly reliable. Our top pick by a slim margin is GALARDONADO (#8). His trainer, Steve Asmussen, gets a 92 trainer rating second off the claim and a 100 trainer rating with horses dropping in class by 50% or more. Richie's Rich (#5) has to be used as he makes his first start off the claim for Michelle Nevin, but the slight drop in class is mildly disconcerting. Both halves of the David Jacobson entry also merit consideration, and we could even use long shot Prince Zurs (#3), who drops into a more realistic spot and gets a rider upgrade.

Selections: 8 – 5 – 1/1A – 3

Race 6: The deserving favorite is Ack Naughty (#8), who ran only four times as a three-year-old but gave a strong account of herself on every occasion. After an impressive blowout win at Saratoga, she returned with two runner-up finishes at this level, earning speed figures of 105 and 106. Those efforts would make her awfully tough to beat here. While we respect her, she's likely to go off at a very short price and we believe others will offer better value. Our top selection is MAURA'S PASS (#7). She's also coming off a lengthy layoff, but Jason Servis does well with these types of runners. Additionally, we feel that she subtly was rouding into top form as last year came to a close. She ran better than it appears three back at Saratoga when she had an uncomfortable trip against a much tougher group. Two back she was buried inside and never in a position to win, and then last time she finished second against a pretty salty field at this level. The other horse we could throw in at a bit of a price is Flatware (#10), who overcome a slow pace (color-coded in blue) and may be improving at the right time.

Selections: 7 – 8 – 10 – 1 

 

Race 7: We don't have a very strong opinion in this race, but we are somewhat against Scuba Sue (#2) at a relatively short price. Despite the fact that the Pace Projector is placing her on the lead in a situation favoring the frontrunner, we get the sense that she's a run-off type that tends to quit in the late stages. While we're fans of Jeremiah Englehart, we're skeptical of any horses that ran their best races for the Jorge Navarro barn. Instead, we'll use KNOW IT ALL ANNA (#3), who is our tepid top pick, along with Nuffsaid Nuffsaid (#5) and California shipper Two Pump (#7). Even Distinctive Lady (#4) could get in there at a decent price if she handles the rise in class.

Selections: 3 – 5 – 7 – 4 

 

Race 8: Happyness (#4) figures to be a fairly short price in this spot, and we’re not quite convinced that she merits such strong favoritism. While she did earn a competitive 112 speed figure in her stateside debut, we're a little skeptical of the quality of that race. Furthermore, the second, third, and fifth-place finishers have all run back, recording significantly lower speed figures. She's in great hands and she can win, but we're playing against her. In our estimation, the horse to beat is Queen's Parade (#2), who consistently shows up with solid efforts and handles this distance. She's not exactly a winning type, but she has to be included on our tickets. We're going to take a shot with PROMOTIONAL (#5) as our top selection. This filly was quickly improving at the end of her three-year-old season and made a nice impression in her four-year-old debut at Tampa. She's handled longer distances in the past and we believe she can move forward with the stretch-out.

Selections: 5 – 2 – 1 – 6 

 

Race 9: If she draws into this race off the also-eligible list, SPA DUCHESS (#13) would be our top choice. She ran pretty well in her first couple of starts against maiden special weight company last year before tailing off. We believe she'll be well-suited to this seven furlong distance and the drop in class makes her very dangerous. The other runner that we have to use strongly is Broken Border (#1), who is also dropping out of maiden special weight races. She's been a little inconsistent in the past, but her best race will almost certainly beat the rest of the runners in the main body of this field.

Selections: 13 – 1 – 10 – 8 – 6

 

 

 

 

TimeformUS Analysis for May 15

TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona

TimeformUS Analysis for Racing at Belmont Park on Sunday May 15th

>>Go To TimeformUS Past Performances For These Races

 

Race 1: Many will probably view Pass the Dice (#4) as the horse to beat, but this claim by Mike Miceli is a minor negative and he must handle the slight rise in class. We're not way against him but feel there are more interesting options in this race. Day of Fury (#6) should be contesting the pace. He actually ran decently last time despite the alarming drop in class and Jason Servis is one of the best claiming trainers in the business (100 rating first off the claim). We'll use them to start off the Pick-5, but our top pick is SALTO DEL INDIO (#3). This horse has just been facing much tougher company in all of his U.S. starts. He didn't do any running last time, but the hope is that he needed that race and this drop in class will wake him up.

Selections: 3 – 6 – 4 – 2

 

Race 2: Of those with prior racing experience, Young Anna Lee (#1) has to be considered the horse to beat. However, her first race since the layoff was a regression and she needs to get back to the strength of her two-year-old efforts to beat this field. Empress Jingu (#3) figures to take plenty of action for Todd Pletcher, and is sired by good first-time-out sire Warrior's Reward. We want to take a small shot with second-time starter EIGHTH COMMANDMENT (#2), who made a minor middle move in her debut before flattening out late. David Donk gets just a 17 trainer rating with his debut runners and a 52 rating with second-time starters, so this one should show up with an improved performance here.

Selections: 2 – 1 – 3 – 6 

 

Race 3: The Pace Projector is predicting a situation favoring horses on or near the lead, which should help our top pick, CLASSIC SALSA (#7). While some might say that he's taking a step in the wrong direction since the claim by David Cannizzo, we would argue that circumstances have been against him. He was involved in fairly swift paces last time and three back, and they experimented with making him a deep closer two back. He's run some of his best races at Belmont and we think he can wire the field. The obvious other horse to use is Scarly Charly (#2). It seems as if he's seen better days, but his tactical speed should put him in the right position. We could also use the New York-breds Escape to the Moon (#4) and Between the Lines (#5).

Selections: 7 – 2 – 5 – 4

 

Race 4: We don't have any strong feelings about this race and would use the likely favorite, ONE PENNY PIECE (#5), who does appear to be the most likely winner, along with layoff runner Bargaining Table (#7). On larger tickets we could also throw in Wildly Good Lookin (#6), who did run some races going back to last fall that would make her competitive here.

Selections: 5 – 7 – 6 – 9

 

Race 5: We're not trying to beat BROLIC (#9), who has simply run faster than these horses in his two dirt races. The reliable other option is Gunlock (#6), but he needs a little bit of help on the front end and we're not sure that he's going to get it. We'd focus on these two to close the Pick-5.

Selections: 9 – 6 – 8 – 3 

 

Race 6: Our top selection is REVVED UP (#7), who returned with his best race yet last month at Aqueduct. Getting Lasix for the first time, he lagged well back early and was the only horse to make a significant late impact. He got rolling too late, but continued to gallop out well into the turn. His dam was a Grade 1 winner at this distance, so stamina should not be an issue. The same goes for Manitoulin (#3), whose rider will wear the famous Darby Dan Farm colors. His dam, Soaring Softly, was a middle-distance specialist and this colt’s grinding style should be suited to the stretch out. Rediscover (#1) has already handled 1 7/16 miles two back at Gulfstream, even after getting involved in a fast pace. He’s been off for nearly three months since his last start, but merits consideration nonetheless.

Selections: 7 – 3 – 1 – 5 

 

Race 7: BRIMSTONE (#10) has simply been running faster speed figures than his competition and proved last time that he was perfectly capable of transferring that strong form to turf. At what should be a much larger price, we also want to consider the runner that finished right behind him last time, River Knight (#5). He might prefer the turf course at Aqueduct, but he has run well enough sprinting in the past to be considered here. Go Go Lucky (#1) must deal with a lengthy layoff as he returns for Mike Maker, who gets a healthy 94 trainer rating with runners coming off breaks of this type. He kept decent company in the maiden ranks last year but must prove that he’s taken a step forward at three. Bajan Summer (#3) ran well at this level last time, but seven furlongs may be a stretch for him.

Selections: 10 – 5 – 1 – 3 

 

Race 8: There’s quite a bit of guesswork to be done here as only Turco Bravo and Neck ‘n Neck have attempted marathon distances in the past, with mixed results. The latter is probably the horse to beat. He was no match for the in-form Eagle last time, but he has continued to consistently earn speed figures in the 110-116 range while handling a range of distances. We’re somewhat against favored Elnaawi (#6), who has run some of the fastest races going shorter, but has never attempted this distance on dirt. If we’re going to take a horse trying something for the first time, we’d rather go with a price. WINTER GAMES (#2) is the type of runner that gets pretty brave when he’s allowed to make the lead and he is projected to be clearly in front early. He has the pedigree to go this far as a son of A. P. Indy and he’s in the best form of his career at the moment. We’ll take a shot with him, and will also use Securitiz (#5), who has been rounding into form lately for Jimmy Jerkens, who hasn’t been afraid to try these marathon dirt races with his runners.

Selections: 2 – 3 – 5 – 6 

 

Race 9: Madame Barbarian (#8) is a deserving favorite as she drops in class out of a series of tougher races at Gulfstream. She showed improved tactical speed last time when Lasix was added, which should serve her well in a race where early position could be key. We’ll use her, but our top pick is EQHO (#5), who ran deceptively well at this level last time when making a strong late run into a slow pace (color-coded in blue). She gets Lasix for the first time and we’re hoping Jose Ortiz can keep her a bit closer to the pace in the early stages. The other runner that we want to throw in at a price is Ellie Girl (#9), who comes out of a terrible race but does have plenty of turf pedigree.

Selections: 5 – 8 – 9 – 4 

 

 

 

 

TimeformUS Analysis for May 14

TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona

TimeformUS Analysis for Racing at Belmont Park on Saturday May 14th

>>Go To TimeformUS Past Performances For These Races

 

Race 1: In the opener, we're not trying to beat the likely favorite, TAILOREDFORSUCCESS (#5), who faced a much better field in her debut. She didn't do that much running in that race, but she still earned one of the fastest speed figures in the race. Chad Brown has phenomenal numbers with his maiden special weight to maiden claiming dropdowns, getting a 100 trainer rating in that category. Crimson Cat (#7) finished an even fifth in her maiden claiming debut at Gulfstream after getting rank in the opening furlong. She was somewhat green that day and perhaps will do better here as she returns in a similar spot. Miss Aja Brown (#4) was the runner-up at this level at Aqueduct last time and will try to take these as far as she can on the lead.

Selections: 5 – 7 – 4 – 8 

 

Race 2: Giant Fox (#8) is the horse to beat as he drops in class to this bottom-level conditioned claimer. The seven furlong distance is perfect for him, but it is somewhat suspicious that his connections are giving up so quickly after a decent return to the races at the $35,000 level last time. There also is not much speed in this race and the Pace Projector is predicting a situation favoring horses on or near the lead. Two horses likely to attract support are Sunny Puzzle (#4) and Fleeting (#6), who finished second and third in a similar spot recently. Sunny Puzzle was with the flow last time, racing close up to a slow pace (color-coded in blue), but that could be the case again today. Given the expected dynamics, we're going to take a shot with MANHATTAN JOHNNIE (#3). This horse has not shown speed in his last few starts, but he was a frontrunner at one time. Given the lack of other speed rivals, we're hoping that an aggressive Luis Saez can hustle him to the front and wire this field. It's not our strongest opinion, but at least this horse will be a decent price. After all, Saez was aboard for his last win, as long ago as that was.

Selections: 3 – 8 – 4 – 6 

 

Race 3: Doctor Mounty (#6) is likely to go off at a very short price here. Last time he could not quite negotiate the extra furlong, just succumbing to Peter Pan entrant Lost Iron in the final strides of a nine-furlong maiden race at Aqueduct. Nevertheless he still earned a 98 speed figure, just bettering the number he earned for his strong effort against the promising Mo Power at Gulfstream two back. We're hardly against him, but we want to take a small shot with another runner at a much better price. TALE OF MIST (#1) looked as if he was on track to do some nice things after a solid third place finish behind subsequent graded stakes winner Shagaf in his second start. However, he completely fell apart at Gulfstream, failing to reach contention in any of his starts over that track. It's well documented that some horses just don't take to that surface, so we're willing to forgive those efforts. We still think we haven't yet seen the best of this half-brother to Tonalist.

Selections: 1 – 6 – 3 – 4 

 

Race 4: Our pick is the closer CLIFTON PLEASURE (#1), who almost certainly would have won his last race had he not been shut off when trying to rally between horses in deep stretch. As always, he needs a little bit of pace help, but he should get just enough of that to set up his late run here. The horse he has to run down is Proletariat (#3), who has run a series of superior speed figures in his recent starts, including a field-best 112 when he held off Clifton Pleasure two back. The mile and a sixteenth distance may be pushing him to his limit, but he's still dangerous. The wild card in the race is Hit It Once More (#9), who was impressive when breaking his maiden off the layoff last time. However, he was facing a much weaker field that day and has yet to run fast enough to suggest he can compete with these.

Selections: 1 – 3 – 9 – 7 

 

Race 5: Of those with experience, the two strongest contenders appear to be Gorelli (#2) and Brooklyn Major (#4). We slightly prefer the latter, since Gorelli has just had so many chances and is developing a history of merely picking up minor awards. Brooklyn Major may have spent a little too much time racing down on the rail taking mud in his face last time, considering that the race was dominated by horses that made wide moves. He's improved since getting Lasix and could find himself on or near the lead here. However, we're not enamored with either of these otpions, so we'll instead take a shot with first-time starter ROYAL EKATI (#1). Barclay Tagg has done excellent work his debut runners over the past year or so and this colt sold for a hefty sum as a yearling. He's been working very strongly for this initial start and has attracted the services of Javier Castellano. You're always guessing with horses like this, but there are a few arrows pointing in his direction.

Selections: 1 – 4 – 2 – 5 

 

Race 6: OFFERING PLAN (#7) is likely to go off at a very short price, and we have no knocks against him. Chad Brown just routinely wins with horses coming off these types of layoffs, especially in turf routes. This colt got very good towards the end of last season, impressively taking a minor stakes at Belmont before running deceptively well in a loaded Hollywood Derby to close out his season. There figures to be enough pace in this race with the speedy Integrity leading the way early, but it may not matter, since he just appears to be superior to this group. Western Reserve (#6) appears to be the most obvious alternative, but we're somewhat concerned about moisture in the turf course, since he seemed to really improve over a very hard course at Gulfstream last time. He'll still be on our tickets, but we think Weekend Express (#5) may offer better value. He did not get the most clever ride last time, chasing three-wide most of the way, and today he gets a positive rider switch to Joe Bravo. He's run well enough on occasion to contend for a minor award at a big price.

Selections: 7 – 5 – 6 – 3 

Race 7: Let's kick off this all-stakes Pick-4 with a price.  Carrumba (#6) figures to go off as the short-priced favorite. While we were encouraged to see her return in good form, we're a little skeptical of the "question mark" 120 speed figure assigned to her last race, since it seems pretty high for many of the runners involved. If Carrumba repeats that figure, she will probably win, but we believe she doesn't have that great of an edge on this field. Many will regard Cavorting (#1) as her main rival. One could argue that she had excuses in her two tries at today's one-mile distance, but we are also concerned about her current form. She just doesn't appear to possess the same spark that she had last summer. Given these questions, we want to take a shot with SPELLING AGAIN (#3). She had been in great form through last fall and we feel she has been compromised in her two most recent starts. She raced towards the inside on November 27, a day at Aqueduct that was strongly favoring horses that avoided the rail. Then, in the Grade 1 Madison last time out, she had a valid excuse, since she was steadied hard around the far turn. Bad Cox, who gets a decent enough 75 trainer rating with runners coming off layoffs, gets a 100 trainer rating when those horses make their second starts back from a break.

Selections: 3 – 6 – 4 – 1 

 

Race 8: We're not trying to get nearly as creative in the Beaugay. MY MISS SOPHIA (#8) routinely ran well against the best fillies and mares in the country last summer and fall. If she can regain that form off the lengthy layoff, she is supposed to win this race. Furthermore, while she doesn't necessarily need the lead, she is almost assuredly going to get it, according to the Pace Projector, in a situation favoring horses on or near the lead. Recepta (#1) is her main challenger and she has drawn well down on the inside. Yet even at her best, we believe she's a slight cut below the good My Miss Sophia. The only other runner we could use is Strike Charmer (#6), who put in a very strong late rally in her return at Aqueduct last time. 

Selections: 8 – 1 – 6 – 3 

 

Race 9: Unified (#7) is likely to go off as the heavy favorite. He easily bested a field of sprinters in the Grade 3 Bay Shore, earning a lofty 121 speed figure. If he repeats a number like that, he’s probably going to win this race. However, we have some doubts. That race was contested over a muddy track, which he clearly relished. Additionally, the horse that finished closest to him, King Kranz, earned a speed figure of 117 in finishing second, 15 points higher than he had ever run before. King Kranz is a fairy consistent horse, and sure enough, he ran last week and regressed 15 points, returning to his typical 102 speed figure while winning a minor stakes. It’s no small feat to stretch out from seven furlongs to a mile and an eighth for the first time. We strongly prefer Unified’s chief rival, ADVENTIST (#3). This colt has been plagued by greenness throughout his brief career, but he finally appeared to be putting it all together in the Gotham, where he was slightly against the track bias, and the Wood Memorial, in which he was moving best of all late after a wide trip. This nine-furlong distance suits him perfectly, as should the one-turn distance at Belmont. He’s a significant overlay at anything over 5/2.

Selections: 3 – 7 – 5 – 6 

 

Race 10: Pace and trips figure to have a major influence in this race, given the lack of confirmed frontrunners. The closest we get is Go Around (#5), who has been in great form at age four and wired an optional claiming field two back. Though he was beaten by Money Multiplier in the Saranac last year, Go Around ran the much stronger race, launching a wide bid from the back of the pack before flattening out in the final furlong. We doubt we’ll get as high as his morning line price of 10/1, but he is a very logical contender for top honors. We'll use him, but we slightly prefer Mott's other runner, CLOSING BELL (#4). We felt that he ran better than it looks in the Hollywood Derby last fall, chasing a fast pace (color-coded in red) before coming up empty in the stretch. He also ran well behind World Approval last time at Fair Grounds, and that one returned with a huge effort on Kentucky Derby day. Let’s hope the blinkers will have him placed closer to the pace. Kaigun (#7) is the other horse we would use, but despite being in some of the best form of his career, he's prone to picking up minor awards.

Selections: 4 – 5 – 7 – 6

Race 11: Ancient Secret (#4) displayed an impressive turn of foot in her maiden-breaking score last year, rallying from just off the pace to win by a comfortable margin. The 88 speed figure that she earned, even as a two-year-old, would put her in the mix here. While we acknowledge that she's the horse to beat off the layoff, we slightly prefer AMAZING ANNE (#11). As a three-year-old last year, she put in a spectacular effort against colts at Saratoga, making up a ton of ground into a slow pace (color-coded in blue). She was entered back just three days later and could not reproduce that same effort. Unfortunately, that quick turnaround may have knocked her out for the year, since she was uncharacteristically dull in one final start in September. Her return at Aqueduct last month was encouraging and she has every right to move forward off that effort here. Pace players Hillaryinthehouse (#8) and Majestic Bloom (#5) are ones to consider using on larger backup tickets.

Selections: 11 – 4 – 8 – 5

 

 

 

 

 

TimeformUS Analysis for May 13

TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona

TimeformUS Analysis for Racing at Belmont Park on Friday May 13th

>>Go To TimeformUS Past Performances For These Races

Race 1: The two runners with positive dirt route experience are Wine Not (#5) and Daves Gone Bananas (#6). We'll use both of them to start out the Pick-5, but our top selection is long shot SKY CHAPARRAL (#7). This horse's debut looks a lot worse in the published running line than it actually was. He showed good speed out of the gate before reacting badly to racing in tight quarters a furlong into the race. He was shuffled all the way out to the back of the pack, but actually re-rallied mildly once straightened away in the stretch. He is a half-brother to a few horses that were successful routing on dirt and we expect him to show more speed this time. We prefer these runners to the stretching-out sprinter Jet Black (#1), who got a strong pace to close into last time and has yet to prove that he possesses the stamina to get this trip.

Selections: 7 – 5 – 6 – 1 

 

Race 2: We don't have a very strong opinion in this race but acknowledge that AFLEET MARTINI (#4) is the strongest contender. His recent speed figures are just slightly faster than his competition and the overall lack of speed in this race should have him placed closer to the pace than usual. We can also use logical players Congrats Kid (#2) and Strong Dude (#6), though neither is really a winning type. Turnback runner Japhir (#5) could also wake up at a decent price.

Selections: 4 – 5 – 6 – 2 

 

Race 3: Fast Retailing (#4) is the most talented filly in this race, but questions abound after her surprising non-effort in her first start back from the layoff. In fairness, she did need a race when returning from a layoff last spring as well, but we still would have liked to have seen some more run out of her that day. We're similarly concerned about the current form of Beating Heart Baby (#5), who was curiously entered on turf last time, an odd move for Michelle Nevin, who has very poor numbers with her turf runners. While she did win two back, her speed figures have been regressing. Given this uncertainty, we'll instead take a shot with the reliable PUSHME PULLYOU (#2). This filly just always seems to show up no matter the competition or conditions. We would consider her to be a cut below the top contenders if this were your typical N1X allowance race, but this field came up fairly weak and race ratings indicate this is not actually a step up in class for her at all.

Selections: 2 – 4 – 5 – 3 

 

Race 4: Son of Oahu (#1) is the horse to beat as he drops out of tougher maiden special weight races, but we don't love the way he's finished off his last two races and feel there are more appealing alternatives at better prices. Our top selection is HURRICANE RAMIRO (#5), who was never given a fair chance in his turf debut last time after being sent up to make a four-wide premature move around the far turn. All things considered, he actually stayed on well to only be beaten just over three lengths. We could also use Chad Brown's pair of runners: first-time starter Stretch Four (#12), who has some pedigree to take to grass, and Money Illusion (#7), who was well-backed in his debut and goes out for a trainer who does exceptionally well with horses dropping into maiden claiming company.

Selections: 5 – 12 – 1 – 7 

 

Race 5: There is a plethora of speed types in this race, so it's no surprise that the Pace Projector is predicting a fast and contested pace. Given the expected race shape and the fact that many of the faster frontrunners are coming off layoffs, we want to focus on a few of the more reliable late runners. Our top pick is COLLIN'S SMILE (#13). He did not draw a great post position, but at least he usually shows up with a competitive effort and has shown the ability to make a run from mid-pack. His last race looks worse than it was, since he was compromised by being taken too far off a slow pace (color-coded in blue). We also want to use Castaway (#10), who doesn't often find the winner's circle but is one of the more honest runners in this race. Rapid Rouge (#5) could be dangerous first off the claim for Michelle Nevin, who gets a 95 trainer rating in that category, but he has to avoid getting burned up on the pace. Even In the Beat (#3) has to be considered, though we're not crazy about the fact that he's been off for nearly three months since being claimed.

Selections: 13 – 10 – 5 – 3 

Race 6: Two of the main players in this field exit the same race, won by the talented Gioia Stella last time. Conquest Lucknlove (#2) set a solid pace that day and proved inferior to the winner in the final eighth of a mile. While she did hold on for third, we actually prefer the horse that finished just behind her. CHURCH SOCIAL (#11) was taken far off the pace in the early going and had to do quite a bit of running to even get herself into a contending position by the time the field straightened away into the stretch. Most horses would have flattened out at that point, but she continued to accelerate and nearly got up for second with a flying finish. Shug McGaughey, a 46-rated debut trainer, gets an 84 rating with his second-time starters. We could also use a pair of Christophe Clement runners. Quant (#8) appears to be well-meant first time out for this trainer, who gets a 90 rating with horses making their debuts in turf routes. Her dam earned almost $450,000 on turf, so she’s bred to have a future. Charlote’s Star (#10) was flat in her Gulfstream debut, but that race was run over a course that was closer to yielding than firm, so perhaps she deserves a pass.

Selections: 11 – 8 – 2 – 10 

 

Race 7: Sympathy (#1) is clearly the horse to beat. She’s been unlucky to lose both of her races in this country—first caught behind a slow pace two back and then on the wrong end of a headbob last time. Given the lack of speed in this race, the Pace Projector is predicting she’ll be on the lead in the early going and such a pace advantage could make her awfully difficult to overtake. While we respect her, we believe the runner that will offer better value is a filly that actually finished behind her last time. BEL CITRON (#8) was sixth in that April 9 Keeneland race, but we  feel that her rider prevented her from having any chance to make an impact. Leparoux showed no urgency coming off the far turn and allowed Bel Citron to get shuffled all the way back to last at a critical point in the running. She actually finished up strongly once clear but had too much left to do. Let’s hope Irad Ortiz can work out a trip this time because we believe she’s closer to Sympathy in terms of ability than the published form would suggest.

Selections: 8 – 1 – 4 – 5 

 

Race 8: Despite the fact that there are a decent number of horses with early speed signed on for this race, the Pace Projector is still predicting a situation that favors the frontrunners. We believe UNCHARTED COURSE (#1) will be awfully tough to beat in this spot. His recent speed figures, ranging from 115 to 117, are among the highest in the race and he is versatile enough to win from a stalking position if others are intent on making the lead outside of him. He could not quite get seven furlongs last time, but this distance should be more to his liking. We have no knocks against him. Swell (#6) steps up to this level after easily taking a N1X allowance last time, but he has been facing weaker fields recently. True Bet (#11) had legitimate trouble two back when he was squeezed back at the start, but he was disappointing without any serious trouble last time. That said, seven furlongs may have been too far for him and this distance could be more to his liking.

Selections: 1 – 6 – 11 – 9 

 

Race 9: We'll close out this Pick-4 by focusing primarily on the heavy favorite, ARIPEKA (#6). Just over a year ago this gelding was finishing second in the Grade 1 Maker's Mark Mile. His form has deteriorated since then and he has been plagued by layoffs, but his recent speed figures are still significantly faster than his competitors'. Danny Gargan is better known for success on dirt, but he certainly knows how to win with his turf runners. Dream Man (#12), Coturnix (#11), and Midnight Notes (#7) are the only backups we would use.

Selections: 6 – 12 – 11 – 7