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TimeformUS Race Analysis



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TimeformUS Analysis for October 28

TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona

TimeformUS Analysis for Racing at Belmont Park on Wednesday October 28th

Race 1: Morning line choice Quibbler (#2) is making her dirt debut while dropping to her lowest ever claiming tag off a two-and-a-half-month layoff. She’s not the kind of favorite we want to rely on. The top pick is SHE’S GIFTED (#5), who is anything but. Yet with limited options from which to choose, we’ll try to get her to wire the field. She is coming out of three straight races that featured fast paces (note all the red fractions and pace figures) and is predicted to be on a clear lead here. Mohawk Lily (#10) has run well enough on dirt and would appreciate some moisture in the track. Long shot Phocea (#3) may get overlooked in the wagering, but ran well enough last time to perhaps contend for a piece of the purse here.

Selections: 5 – 10 – 3 – 1


Race 2: There is a serious lack of pace in this race. It’s saying something that the horse projected to be on the lead, Devious Maddy, has not been within three lengths of the front at any point in her last three starts. Of the contenders, we believe that Corner Three (#1) may benefit most from a slow pace, since she’s been showing more initiative in recent races and her rider Javier Castellano usually takes advantage of these situations. However, we cannot resist making COURAGEISAMAJORITY (#2) the top pick. She won a live race at Saratoga three back before stepping up into a roughly run open-company allowance race. That was a tougher field than she meets today and she was hardly disgraced in finishing a troubled fifth. If John Velazquez can keep her relatively close early, her class may carry her to victory. 

Selections: 2 – 1 – 5 – 4 

Race 3: This is a very confusing race, with inexperienced horses coming from a multitude of directions. Our top pick is LITTLEBITADOMINIC (#1), who drops out of an even effort when breaking slowly against maiden special weight company. Linda Rice, a 55-rated debut trainer, gets a Trainer Rating of 99 with second-time starters, so this one figures to improve with that experience under his belt. We’ll also use Clear Surprise (#3), who does not have much turf pedigree and may be better suited to a dirt sprint against slightly softer competition. Text Me (#5) is a half-brother to debut winner Clockwork and goes out for solid first-out trainer George Weaver.

Selections: 1 – 3 – 5 – 7 

Race 4: This boils down to a two-horse affair between a couple of runners who showed a great deal of promise in their respective debuts. Luminary Flight (#1) put in the more eye-catching run. After getting away from the gate very awkwardly, costing himself a few lengths, he closed determinedly to just miss getting up to win. This horse obviously possesses a ton of natural ability. However, if he breaks slowly from the rail once again in a 12-horse field, he will have his work cut out for him. That’s why we’re giving the slight nod to SEYMOURDINI (#4). Considering that Linda Rice rarely has her first-time starters cranked up to win right off the bat (see the ratings listed above), this colt was very professional in his debut. King Kranz, whom he defeated, returned to validate the strength of that maiden heat with a strong second-place finish in the Futurity (G2) in his next start. A repeat of that effort will be tough for any of these to top.

Selections: 4 – 1 – 5 – 9 

Race 5: This race is projected to feature a fast pace, so we’re giving a look to a few closers that might go off at decent prices. The logical horse to beat is Forty Nine Watts (#11), who ran well in his second start for owner/trainer David Cannizzo. However, we’re making our top pick a horse that finished behind him last time. RAP D’ORO (#1) did not end up getting the fast pace that he required on a day when speed may have held a slight advantage on the main track (note Race Rating box shaded pink). However, he did run well enough to suggest that his prior two poor efforts were not true indicators of his current form. He may get a little lost in the wagering, yet we feel that he’s one of the more reliable options in a race where those are hard to come by. Chiseled (#6) is another that we want to use at a big price. This late runner is finally dropping to a realistic level after being entered in a series of overly ambitious spots by his low-profile connections.

Selections: 1 – 6 – 11 – 5 

Race 6: Chiltern Street (#7) is a deserving favorite. After getting into trouble at multiple points in his debut, he stretched out to a mile at Kentucky Downs just 12 days later. While he got tired late, his jockey did sort of give up on him in the final sixteenth of a mile, perhaps exaggerating the margin of defeat. We will definitely use him to kick off the late Pick-4, but our top pick is TAKE COVER (#10). We feel that this horse has steadily improved with each turf start, which may not be readily apparent from a quick glance at his past performances. He’s not really suited to a two-turn mile, but still ran well despite a wide trip behind a slow pace two back. Then last time he may have run the best race of all after going very wide on the turn on a day when the rail was the place to be on Saratoga’s turf courses.

Selections: 10 – 7 – 9 – 4 

Race 7: Morning line favorite Baublette (#10) ran well in her visually impressive maiden win, but she benefited from sitting right up on a slow pace against a relatively weak field. She’s a contender, but may be an underlay this time. The alternative that we’re most interested in is SISTER MARGARET (#4). She may have disliked rallying through a tight hole along the rail two back, and her last start was actually a decent effort in a tough New York-bred stakes race. The Race Rating of that race (112) compared to the preliminary rating for today’s field suggests that this is a substantial drop in class. The rain in the forecast certainly would help her cause since she’s run two of her best races over wet tracks. Behind her, we’ll also use Mayla (#3), who just seems to always show up with an honest effort and can adapt her style to a variety of pace scenarios.

Selections: 4 – 3 – 10 – 7 

Race 8: The Pace Projector is predicting a slow early tempo set by Anchor Down. That advantage, coupled with his superior recent speed figures, suggests that he’s the horse to beat, but he has disappointed at short prices a few too many times for our liking. Perhaps today is the day to have him, but we prefer a couple of others. Vyjack (#6) is dangerous getting back on dirt. A flat mile has always been his best distance and he was still running competitive races on this surface this past spring. Vyjack does have some tactical speed, but the horse that is projected to be Anchor Down’s closest pursuer is STORMIN MONARCHO (#8), and he’s the one we want to bet. After a productive 2014 campaign, Stormin Monarcho started to tail off earlier this spring. David Jacobson gave him some time off, and he returned in a tough optional claimer sprinting at Saratoga. Jacobson has terrible numbers with horses coming off long layoffs and Stormin Monarcho lost all chance when he stumbled at the start. Rather than dropping this horse in class as he so often does off poor efforts or layoffs, Jacobson runs him back in another ambitious spot, this time at the right distance. This horse looks a little sneaky and he should be a healthy price.

Selections: 8 – 6 – 3 – 4 

Race 9: Favored Arabian Queen (#5) owns the best overall form, but a projected slow pace will not work in her favor. Our top pick is MAJESTIC BLOOM (#1), who drops in for a tag for the first time and may wire the field as she gets blinkers and breaks from the rail. Petticoat Day (#7) would benefit from a more aggressive ride after being unwisely rated last time.

Selections: 1 – 5 – 7 – 10


TimeformUS Analysis for October 25

TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona

TimeformUS Analysis for Racing at Belmont Park on Sunday October 25th

Race 1: The two likeliest winners of this race are Scat Away (#4) and LAKESIDE SUNSET (#7), but we believe that the latter is the horse you want to bet. Lakeside Sunset showed plenty of promise earlier this year when she contested a couple of New York-bred stakes. A couple of turf experiments didn’t work out, and she returned to sprinting last time with a performance that’s slightly better than it appears. She stumbled at the start, which prevented her from challenging Uncle Southern for the lead in a situation where that one was allowed to wire the field. This time she should sit a comfortable outside stalking trip, and the six furlong distance is perfect. Scat Away is a talented racehorse and is in good form, but she’s now finished second in five of her last seven starts without winning.

Selections: 7 – 4 – 1 – 3 

Race 2: DOWNGOESFRAZIER (#1) is not exactly the kind of horse we like to pick on top, being 1-for-20 lifetime, but his recent races quite simply make him the horse to beat. He usually does his best running at Belmont, and a repeat of either of his races at this track in 2015 would likely be good enough to get the job done here. Stardom (#2) is the other main player in this race. He returned from the long layoff earlier this year in reasonably good form, but now drops in class off a drubbing against New York-bred allowance horses. However, it must be noted that his effort in that race is not as bad as it looks. He actually broke at the back of the pack and rushed up past the entire field to contest the lead through fast opening fractions (note the half-mile colored red). He’s the horse to beat, but we believe our top selection is more trustworthy. 

Selections: 1 – 2 – 3 – 8 


Race 3: Big Business (#5) is the most talented horse in this race. He tailed off towards the end of 2014, but some highlights of his campaign included a second place finish in the Grade 1 Forego and a fourth place finish—while racing against a rail-biased surface—in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile. If he were ready to display that kind of form, no one in this field would be able to beat him. However, he enters this race off a 251-day layoff, and David Jacobson has terrible numbers with this move. An 89-rated trainer, Jacobson get a 59 rating with horses coming off layoffs and just a 17 rating with horses coming off this type of lengthy layoff. Our top pick is ERIK THE RED (#1), who just appears to be in career form. The 113 TimeformUS Speed Figure that he earned last time is the highest he’s ever recorded, and he was extremely game that day to fight off challengers after dueling through fast fractions. His tactical speed should put him in good position once again.

Selections: 1 – 5 – 3 – 6 

Race 4: Swaggy (#10) is the right favorite as she drops in for a tag for the first time after two decent runner-up finishes at the maiden special weight level. She did disappoint at 1-5 odds last time, but that field may be better in retrospect than it appeared at the time. We have no major knocks against her, but we do think that our top selection FRENCH DRESSING (#7) may offer better value. French Dressing registered a decent second place finish at this level in her turf debut and then was stepped back up into some ambitious maiden special weight spots. She actually didn’t run as badly as it appears on July 31, when she was forced to race wide the entire way, and last time, a mile and a sixteenth was just too far. Now she returns to six furlongs against the right level of competition, and she should be a square price.

Selections: 7 – 10 – 11 – 8

Race 5: COLONEL JUANITA (#6) races first time off the claim by David Jacobson (a 95 Trainer Rating move) and is showing the best recent form of any of the runners in this race. We don’t see a good reason try to beat her. Keep Bustin (#5) should have won last time, but is a contender to get a piece once again. My Donna Jean (#2) or The Lost Tigress (#3) should round out the trifecta.

Selections: 6 – 5 – 2 – 3 

Race 6: If AWESOME DAME (#7) is able to replicate her last effort, she is probably not going to lose this race. After dueling through quick fractions (note the quarter-mile coded in red), she gamely held on for second behind eventual Grade 1 Spinaway winner Rachel’s Valentina. That effort earned her a 98 TimeformUS Speed Figure, which towers over this field. The horses that have run back out of that race have indicated that it’s a legitimate figure. Both third place Big World and fourth place Nickname won their next starts, improving their speed figures by 6 and 7 points, respectively. Shayna Lady (#8) should appreciate returning to a sprint distance, but she’s the favorite on the morning line even though she has yet to run a race that is nearly as fast as Awesome Dame’s last. 

Selections: 7 – 8 – 4 – 2 

Race 7: Nonna’s Boy (#4) is projected to be out on a clear early lead in this race. How fast he has to go depends on the tactics employed by the riders of High Noon Rider, Gallery, and A Lot. We should see a pace that is at least honest, which was not the case in the Better Talk Now Stakes at Saratoga. That day, High Noon Rider had everything his own way up front through ridiculously slow fractions (color-coded in blue) and was able to draw off for the win. Today, we want to take the horse that was most compromised by that pace, so our top pick is OFFERING PLAN (#1). He looks a little slow, but he showed in the Pilgrim last year that he’s not really out of his element against Grade 3 stakes types. He figures to offers some value in a very confusing race. A Lot (#9) is a true miler and has to be left in the mix, though we’re starting to tire of the second place finishes. Vision Perfect (#2) in some ways is the horse to beat off his last effort (121 Speed Figure), but we wonder if it was the soft turf course that moved him up.

Selections: 1 – 9 – 2 – 4 

Race 8: We wish we had a more interesting take on this race, but it seems futile to go against the grain. Every single one of STYLE DRIFT’s (#1) prior efforts would beat this field. If she merely holds her form and stays out of trouble, she won’t lose. Behind her we could use Smilingsundae (#5), Where’s the Risk (#8), and Daisy Cutter (#9).

Selections: 1 – 5 – 8 – 9 

Race 9: First and foremost, race shape needs to be discussed. The Pace Projector is predicting a fast early tempo with a lot of separation between the leaders and the late closers. While we believe that one-dimensional frontrunner Madison Blues (#11) is the most talented filly in this race, we just can’t take her given the likely pace scenario. Normally we’d be against horses like Belief (#10) and Sweet Advance (#13), who were able to close into fast fractions last time in a race that ultimately collapsed late, but that could be the case again today. However, we’re going to a bit of a price for our top pick. PLEASURE CRUISE (#3) exits what we believe to be an unusually strong New York-bred maiden turf sprint. She was a little green and ridden somewhat conservatively, as if they were using that race as a prep. By Pleasantly Perfect out of a dam that has produced primarily route winners, she figures to improve with added distance. The 94 Speed Figure she earned in her debut puts her in the conversation, and, if she moves forward off that effort, she could make some noise here at a big price.

Selections: 3 – 10 – 11 – 13







TimeformUS Analysis for October 24

TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona

TimeformUS Analysis for Racing at Belmont Park on Saturday October 24th

Race 1: We won’t go against the two logical contenders, though we do prefer morning line favorite TIZ A CHANCE (#10), who has run fairly well in both of his turf sprints and appears to have landed in a relatively soft spot. Grand Sky (#6) turns back to six furlongs after mixed results in recent route tries. His lone turf sprint was his best race ever, but all of the layoffs since that effort are of slight concern. At a bigger price, Pop the Hood (#5) might be worth throwing into exactas and trifectas. He was done in by a wide trip in his only turf start and may appreciate the turnback since his dam was a stakes-quality sprinter on turf and synthetic surfaces.

Selections: 10 – 6 – 5 – 8 


Race 2: Morning line choice GET JETS (#4) is an exceptionally talented New York-bred and a deserving favorite here. Though beaten by Sudden Surprise (#6) last time, Get Jets undoubtedly ran the better race after getting caught behind slow fractions (note pace color-coded in blue) while stuck down on the rail. The race essentially turned into a sprint to the wire, and Get Jets came with a furious rally up the rail to just miss. The extra distance figures to help, and the pace scenario projects to be more favorable this time, which is why we have downgraded the speedy Sudden Surprise. The horse we are interested in using to try and complete the exacta is Forever in Love (#1), who actually ran better in the Pilgrim than his finish would suggest. He has shown ability on turf, but Linda Rice does well with this turf-to-dirt move (86 rating) and his pedigree indicates that he should be able to handle the switch.

Selections: 4 – 1 – 3 – 6 


Race 3: If the connections of PALACE (#9) end up choosing this spot over the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, he will go off as a justifiably heavy favorite and we will not try to beat him. Palace gave every indication that he had gotten back on track last time with a tremendous performance in the Vosburgh—perhaps even better than his effort in that same race last year. He’d be a legitimate contender in the Breeders’ Cup and he’s the horse to beat here. If he scratches, our top pick becomes Noble Cornerstone (#7), who finally gets back on a dry track after subpar performances over wet tracks that he does not care for at Saratoga. While not projected to be fast, the pace should be contested and we expect to see an honestly-run race. Captain Serious (#2) is the other primary contender. He was in excellent form earlier this year, putting in three of the best efforts of his career (speed figures of 116, 119, 115), but he hasn’t been seen since May and will have to deal with the speed of Ostrolenka and Weekend Hideaway.

Selections: 9 – 7 – 2 – 1 


Race 4: As was the case in the Hollie Hughes, Linda Rice’s impending decision about where to run LA VERDAD (#9) will have a major impact on this race. If they decide to skip the Breeders’ Cup and run here, she becomes the horse to beat. She has enjoyed her best season ever on the racetrack, going undefeated through five starts while picking up four graded stakes victories along the way. She has easily handled fields of New York-breds in the past, and we expect her to notch her 16th lifetime victory if she starts here. However, that’s not to say that there aren’t some nice horses in this race. Tricky Zippy (#8) has gotten very good lately and appears most likely to give La Verdad a scare. Willet (#5) may not be the horse she once was, but she should still be able to run well enough to get a piece of this, especially if some pace develops. Even La Verdad’s half-sister, Hot City Girl (#7), is far from out of this.

Selections: 9 – 8 – 5 – 7 


Race 5: One would think, based on the running styles of the contenders, that this race’s pace scenario will look markedly different from the slow paces we saw in both the Saginaw and Evan Shipman. Saratoga Snacks (#3) was right up on those paces, and, while we have respect for this hard-trying six-year-old, he seems like a horse that you’re supposed to bet against here. Empire Dreams (#8) was pace-compromised in both of those races, but we wonder if he’ll be able to produce his best effort at a mile and an eighth. Royal Posse (#5) has gotten very good lately, but we actually are more interested in his stablemate, the three-year-old GOOD LUCK GUS (#4). Good Luck Gus has plenty of things going for him in this Empire Classic. He does his best work as a grinding closer in a race that figures to feature an honest pace. He has been lightly raced this year, not starting his campaign until late May and having made only three starts. He improved with racing and additional distance as a two-year-old and has shown the same pattern this year, stepping forward in each subsequent start. We admit that Good Luck Gus is slow in terms of speed figures, but you only need to glance across to Royal Posse’s past performances to see just how quickly a young horse can improve when it’s doing well and gaining confidence. This could be the right time to have Good Luck Gus at a price.

Selections: 4 – 8 – 5 – 3 


Race 6: Our top pick is ROSSEZZA (#10), who was off slowly in her lone start on dirt back in June, but put in a mildly encouraging run to pass half the field. This expensive yearling purchase is a half-sister to three turf winners, including Derby Kitten. All were by Kitten’s Joy, though this filly’s sire, Medaglia d’Oro, a fellow son of El Prado, is a strong turf sire in his own right. If Rossezza takes a step forward moving to the right surface, she’ll have a chance, but there are a lot of unknown factors at play in this race. Of the first-time starters, Ancient Secret (#9) and Tough Temper (#7) figure to attract some support after impressive works at the two-year-old sales. We’re also interested in long shot Eloweasel (#15) if she happens to draw in off the also-eligible list. She contested a very fast pace in her only turf start, an effort that is much better than it appears.

Selections: 10 – 9 – 15 – 7 


Race 7: Kharafa (#3) easily handled LUBASH (#6) last time as the latter put in a rare subpar performance. Previously, Lubash had not finished out of the money since the summer of 2013. Given his overall consistency and the oddly slow pace of the Ashley T. Cole, we’re going to excuse Lubash’s poor effort. Lubash has always been best when he’s able to get some cover early in his races. That was not the way the Ashley T. Cole played out. Once Jose Ortiz and Iron Power did not try for the lead, Lubash was forced to race freely up on the pace, which is not his preferred style. This time, Iron Power, Notacatbutallama, and possibly even Orino should go out to the front early, allowing Lubash to slip in behind them. He’s going to need his best effort to contend with Kharafa, but at a much better price, he’s the one we want to bet today.

Selections: 6 – 3 – 2 – 1 

Race 8: The horse we’re most interested in is MISS MATZOBALL (#1), who gets back on turf after a surprisingly strong performance in her off-the-turf return last time. Miss Matzoball battled for the lead through fast fractions (note the half-mile color-coded in red) and still nearly hung on for the victory. She took a significant step forward when switched to turf as a two-year-old and may prove too tough for these if able to show similar improvement getting on grass here. The Pace Projector is forecasting a fast pace, so we also want to use closing sprinter C d’Cat (#2), who has tried longer races in her last two efforts, but may be best going six furlongs. Animal Appeal (#10) also merits consideration off her impressive 107 TimeformUS Speed Figure maiden win, but she does not figure to be done any favors by a potentially contested pace. 

Selections: 1 – 2 – 10 – 4 


Race 9: She’s All Ready (#10) is the filly to beat off a good effort when setting a fast pace as the favorite in the Grade 1 Frizette against open company. However, she must prove that she can get a mile while dealing with a projected fast pace once again. Our top pick is the lightly raced TRAPPE PLAY (#1), who was very impressive in her only start, a race in which the mediocre final time does not do the performance justice. She contested a fast pace, was passed to her outside on the far turn, and battled back gamely along the rail to win going away late. Her pace-adjusted 90 TimeformUS Speed Figure makes her one of the top contenders, and Kiaran McLaughlin’s runners often improve in their second career starts. Of the few closers in the race, Trulamo (#6) and Flatware (#12) may come running late to get a piece of the purse, but neither appears to be quite as talented as the two aforementioned fillies.

Selections: 1 – 10 – 6 – 12 


Race 10: This is essentially a two-horse race between the runners dropping out of Grade 1 stakes races: Hot Stones (#8) and WONDER GAL (#9). The latter is our top pick. The 108 Speed Figures that Wonder Gal earned in the Acorn and Mother Goose make her competitive with Hot Stones, and she should appreciate the return to a route after a failed sprint try in the Test. Whereas Wonder Gal has consistently performed quite admirably against Grade 1 company, Hot Stones basically fell apart when stepped up in class in the Beldame, and we wonder if she’s starting to head in the wrong direction after getting so good over the summer.

Selections: 9 – 8 – 4 – 1 


Race 11: Discreet Marq (#5) is deserving of respect after having run well at the highest level of the game for three straight seasons. However, it’s hard to trust her off an unusually dull performance in the Yaddo. Our top pick is the vastly improved OLD HARBOR (#12). We’ve always been fans of this filly, and she has finally put it all together late her in four year-old season. She does her best running around Belmont’s sweeping turns, and a repeat of her John Hettinger performance may be too much for today’s rivals to handle. The other filly that we want to use is Distorted Beauty (#1). She was overmatched over a soft course in the Flower Bowl, but had previously run well in a pair of very tough open-company allowance races at Saratoga. Either of those efforts might be good enough to win this race. The Tea Cups (#10) took advantage of Old Harbor’s vulnerability around two turns at Saratoga but may not be able to beat her at Belmont.

Selections: 12 – 1 – 5 – 10


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TimeformUS Analysis for October 23

TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona

TimeformUS Analysis for Racing at Belmont Park on Friday October 23rd

Race 1: Of those that have a race under their belts, Voluntario (#7) appears to have the most upside after racing wide around the turn and into the stretch in his turf-sprint debut at Saratoga. Rudy Rodriguez does well second time out, and this horse really has more of a dirt-sprint pedigree. That said, we’re slightly more interested in first-time starters in this race, and our top pick is TOM’S GIFT (#5). Lisa Lewis does well first time out, and this runner brings the best pedigree to the table. By hot first-crop sire Girolamo and out of a dam that won multiple NY-bred stakes sprinting on dirt, he’s cut out to have some ability. It’s also worth noting that the reason for his relatively slow work at the two-year-old sale in May (a furlong in 11 2/5 seconds) was that he lugged in and hit the rail coming off the turn, losing most of his momentum.

Selections: 5 – 7 – 4 – 1/1A


Race 2: Our top pick is morning line second choice RIVIERE DU LOUP (#1). His last effort is better than it appears on paper, since he got stuck in traffic in upper stretch and showed good acceleration when guided to daylight. He may have won with a clean trip that day, beating Skill Not Luck (#7), who got a clear run and just was not good enough. Americas Guest (#4) has been getting outrun early in recent sprints on dirt but has previously shown speed in his turf route tries. He’s worth using underneath, as is Defining Product (#2), who was blocked in the stretch last time.

Selections: 1 – 4 – 2 – 7 

Race 3: Regia Marina (#1), Elated (#2), and Pretty and Sweet (#3) have made a total of 17 starts without winning, but have finished second or third a combined 14 times. These fillies have had chances, so we’re inclined to gravitate towards a more lightly raced runner. SCREWGIE (#5) is bred to be a pretty nice horse, by Smart Strike out of Roshani, who won multiple graded turf stakes during her career. While we don’t love the fact that Christophe Clement was running her out of town to start her career, she actually faced a pretty good field at Delaware last time. The winner, My Senses, was best in a maiden race at Saratoga in her prior start and is a pretty nice racehorse. Regia Marina (#1) would be mildly interesting if she hadn’t been showing such an aversion to winning, since she actually does have some pedigree to take to the turf.

Selections: 5 – 1 – 3 – 2 

Race 4: One of these maiden special weight to maiden claiming dropdowns will probably win. We guessed with KELLYESQUE (#8), who actually ran pretty well chasing a fast pace in her debut, but was mildly disappointing as the favorite last time. Of the others, Sing for Beauty (#5), Bubbe Zena (#3), Paradise Peak (#2), and possibly even Movie Starlet (#9) would not surprise if able to find the winner’s circle today.

Selections: 8 – 5 – 3 – 2 

Race 5: Street Shark (#3) is predicted to be on or near the lead in a situation favoring horses up front, but is hard to trust off the four-month layoff. The horse to beat is Upgrade (#5), who is finally getting turned back to his preferred sprint distances off the claim by Rudy Rodriguez after running in longer races all summer. However, our top pick is Rudy’s other runner, MCILROY (#6), who comes off a somewhat troubled trip at this distance and was undoubtedly best last time. He was checked badly at the start, putting him farther back than he ideally would have been. Then after advancing into contention on the far turn, he found himself behind a wall of horses in the stretch and just got clear too late to catch the winner. His efforts up at Saratoga were not quite as bad as they look, and he has run races in the past that would give Upgrade a scare. 

Selections: 6 – 5 – 3 – 2 

Race 6: PRIVATELY SPEAKING (#1) takes a significant, but not wholly illogical, drop in class. With the New York turf sprint season coming to a close, this filly does not figure to be of too much use to Linda Rice on the main track, so it makes sense that she’s placing her aggressively. There is not a ton of speed in this race, and the Pace Projector favors Privately Speaking, who should be up front early. Jennys Creek (#6) is not exactly a winning type, at 2-for-27 lifetime, but this is the lowest tag she’s ever started for, and she may be at her best going this six-furlong distance. Perfect Fit (#10) is a little interesting getting on the turf. Her dam was stakes-placed on grass, and Majesticperfection has had some success as a turf sire, but this move would feel more enticing if she weren’t dropping steeply at the same time.

Selections: 1 – 6 – 10 – 3 

Race 7: There is quite a bit of speed signed on in this race, and the Pace Projector reflects that. David Rocks, Indiana Stones, and Little Popsie are predicted to be involved in a three-way battle for the lead through fast fractions. Despite a potentially unfavorable pace scenario, David Rocks (#1) still must be considered the horse to beat. Nevertheless, we went to a late runner as our top pick. JAI ALAI (#3) has not had the best luck since breaking his maiden. Two back he was shut off in mid-stretch, costing him a placing, and last time he was trying to close into a moderate pace on a speed-friendly surface (note Racing Rating box shaded red). We prefer him to the other closers in the race. Underneath, we’ll also use True Bet (#9), who is always knocking on the door, and Saint Joseph (#2), who returns as a three-year-old for Jeremiah Englehart.

Selections: 3 – 9 – 1 – 2 

Race 8: Fire Away (#7) ran very well when defeating a few of today’s rivals last time. He was forced to make the first run into a relatively quick pace (note pace color-coded in red) and may have struck the front a little early. He’s the horse to beat today, but you won’t get anything close to the 7/1 odds he went off at last time. Instead, we’ll take a horse that’s not coming out of that September 26 allowance affair. GOOD RESPONSE (#6) really put things together at Saratoga. He was awesome two back making a run from well back in the pack, and last time he was probably best after getting caught behind a slow pace. He was defeated by Fire Away at Belmont in July, but we feel that he’s improved since then. 

Selections: 6 – 7 – 3 – 5 

Race 9: Laquesta (#6) finished ahead of a couple of today’s runners in her last start, but she did work out a pretty comfortable trip that day, riding the rail before finding a hole in upper stretch. We feel that the horse you really want out of that race is AMAZE ME GRACE (#1), who was off a length slowly, rated at the back of the pack, and then was never quite clear in the stretch. Javier Castellano appeared to have some trouble angling her out and eventually just gave up, wrapping up on her through the final sixteenth. We expect to see a much better effort this time. Chad Brown’s other runner, first-time starter Pay the Kitten (#9), is a full-sister to Big Blue Kitten and should not be ignored. The well-bred Light the Sky (#10) ran well at Delaware first time out, but needs to do a bit better to contend here.

Selections: 1 – 9 – 6 – 10