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New Format for TimeformUS Analysis

TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona

From the TimeformUS Handicapping Team:
 
We are excited to announce that starting Friday, July 8, our NYRA analyst David Aragona will be replacing his standard full card analysis with his TimeformUS Top Plays on each NYRA racecard. 
 
TimeformUS Top Plays will consist of in-depth analysis of approximately 4 to 6 races on each card, handpicked by David. His selections in these races will represent his strongest opinions on the card. In addition to this more detailed analysis, David will also indicate his wagering strategies for these selected races. TimeformUS Top Plays will replace only the full card analysis. We will continue to share David's daily Highlight Horses, Horses in Focus and NYRA Stakes Previews either on the TimeformUS blog or as part of TimeformUS PPs on New York racing's marquee days.
 
We are especially excited to make this announcement as we approach the start of the Saratoga meet. With six days of racing each week, an increased number of races per day, and plenty of full fields, this new format will allow David to give readers a better sense of how he will go about tackling each Saratoga card.
 
For those that are still interested in finding selections in every race, you may visit NYRA's Talking Horses page for full card selections by NYRA's expert team of analysts. You are also welcome to reach out to David Aragona via his Twitter handle, @HorseToWatch, if you are curious about his opinions in any races that are not covered in his daily Top Plays.
 

TimeformUS Analysis for July 4

TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona

TimeformUS Analysis for Racing at Belmont Park on Monday July 4

>>Go To TimeformUS Past Performances For These Races

Race 1: There’s not that much turf pedigree to go on in this race among those that have run. The one with experience that’s best bred for the surface is The Great Samurai (#7), who is a half-brother to turf winner Ziggy the Great and is by a decent turf sire in First Samurai. David Donk typically does a little better second time out (60 trainer rating). Jegos Fire (#5) doesn’t have that much turf pedigree (Posse is decent as a turf sprint sire), but he has run the fastest race and at least has some speed to offer. However, our top pick is first-time starter BENNY BIG BOY (#4), who is a half-brother to three turf winners and goes out for Dominick Schettino, who gets a 79 trainer rating with 2YO maiden first-time starters.

Selections: 4 – 7 – 5 – 9

 

Race 2: Gunlock (#8) is a deserving favorite, having almost won at the tougher starter allowance level last time, earning a 101 speed figure, which is easily the highest last-out number in the race. Mike Maker gets a 100 trainer rating second off the claim, and does especially well with his turf runners in those situations. We’re certainly not against him, but we want to take a shot with FEROCIOUS TIGER (#6). This horse got a ridiculous trip last time, steadying sharply when the early leader bore out. Thereafter, Kent Desormeaux had him four-wide losing ground all the way around the turn. He was understandably spent by the top of the stretch. Now he’s making his second start off the layoff for Wesley Ward, who gets a 94 trainer rating in these situations. He’s run some nice races in the past and would be playable at around 7/2 odds.

Selections: 6 – 8 – 1 – 5

 

Race 3: This race marks the return of Bustin It (#5), who showed a ton of promise as a two-year-old, impressively winning his second start before getting run down by Upstart in August. It’s hard to trust any horse coming off a two-year layoff, but he figures to be the controlling speed and has at least been working sharply for his return. Since we don’t completely trust him, we went with MIND YOUR BISCUITS (#6), who is dropping in class out of the Mike Lee. He’s earned three straight speed figures ranging from 98 to 100, which are supposed to beat this field if Bustin It does not show up. Our crazy idea at a much bigger price is Sharpie’s Dream (#4). This gelding ran very well when he broke his maiden, earning a 94 speed figure. Then he was off slowly two back and lost the rider when he stumbled at the start last time. We’re concerned that he may have gate issues, but he has some ability if he gets out early.

Selections: 6 – 5 – 4 – 3

 

Race 4: We’re not trying to beat TOUCHOFSTARQUALITY (#1), who returned in style last time, taking the lead early and never looking back while drawing off to an easy victory. The 124 speed figure that he was assigned for the effort is the highest last-out number in the field by 10 points. If he can repeat that effort here, he’s not going to lose. Comfort (#3) is the other horse that’s going to take money here, but we feel that he beat a much weaker field last time. He got an absolutely perfect trip that day and still only earned a 114 speed figure, which is not quite good enough to take down this stakes. At a bigger price, perhaps Elnaawi (#6) can complete the exacta. He didn’t run badly in the Brooklyn last time and has some fast races going shorter distances that would make him competitive here if he can get back to them.

Selections: 1 – 6 – 3 – 5

 

Race 5: Scarlet Goddess (#3) is the horse to beat as she steps up against winners for the first time following an impressive maiden score in which she earned an 88 speed figure, easily the highest number earned by any runner in this race. The only potential drawback is that she does have other speed to deal with in this spot, and is likely to face pressure from Bustin Hearts and Gregg’s Beauty to her outside. Accordingly, the Pace Projector is predicting a fast pace. We’re hoping that BOLD PRINT (#2) can settle just behind the frontrunners early and prove superior to these. She’s taking a huge drop in class dropping out of NY-bred allowance company. At one time, she would have buried this field, but she may still be good enough to handle them even in her current form. The runner likely to benefit most from the projected pace scenario is Ragazza Piu’ Bella (#5), who hung badly last time, but does appear to be in relatively good form.

Selections: 2 – 3 – 5 – 10

 

Race 6: Spring to the Sky (#6) has struggled with inconsistency in the past, but he’s been in great form since returning for Bruce Brown earlier this year. He was a strong second in two out-of-town stakes and now gets back to six furlongs at Belmont, which is arguably his best distance. We’ll certainly use him, but we also have to give strong consideration to the two coming out of the Jaipur on Belmont Stakes day. Neither Mosler nor Summation Time had ideal trips that day, but MOSLER (#8) is the one we prefer today. His tactical speed should have him well-positioned just off Spring to the Sky early. Last time he was just very wide all the way around the turn and really never gave up through the stretch. With a better trip, we think he can beat this field. Summation Time had some traffic trouble in the Jaipur and lost momentum when stuck behind horses coming to the eighth pole. He had some run when he got out, but we don’t think he would have finished better than third.

Selections: 8 – 6 – 9 – 5

Race 7: The only horse with positive racing experience is Encrypt (#5), who has finished in the money in all three of his starts while earning respectable speed figures. He’s clearly the horse to beat, but he’s been well-backed before and is starting to run out of chances. His habit of breaking a step slowly has also worked against him on a few occasions. All of the other contenders are first-time starters. The one that we’ll take a shot with is SCHOTT (#6), who goes out for capable debut trainer John Kimmel. This son of Unbridled’s Song is out of Amen Hallelujah, a $600,000-earner that won a couple of Grade 2 stakes during her career. He worked a furlong in 10 2/5 seconds at the Fasig-Tipton sale last year and shows some swift workouts for his debut. We could also use Shore Leave (#4), who is a three-quarter brother to Kentucky Derby winner Orb. Shug McGaughey is better known for his work with older horses, but he has decent enough numbers with debuting three-year-olds in sprints.

Selections: 6 – 4 – 5 – 8

 

Race 8: An unclear pace scenario could work against a few of the top contenders. Hello Don Julio (#4), Snake Oil Charlie (#5), and Harpoon (#9) are all predicted to be contesting the pace, but none of them are exactly frontrunners. Since we find it difficult to foresee how the trips will play out, we will stick with the horse that we think is currently in the best form.MANITOULIN (#6) took a while to graduate out of maiden company, but he did so in style last time over a deep field. He’s relished the stretch-out in distance and should have no issues negotiating today’s 10 furlongs. His speed figures are on the slow side compared to a few others, but improving three-year-olds are often dangerous in races like this. We also find it difficult to trust the others. Roccia d’Oro (#1) and Birchwood Road (#3) come out of similar races, but have struggled with consistency. One of the more intriguing entrants is Tiz Town (#2), who has a bit of tactical speed and ran well when stretched out to marathon distances in Kentucky.

Selections: 6 – 2 – 3 – 1 

 

Race 9: This is an incredibly difficult handicapping puzzle in which you could make solid cases for any of the seven runners. The Paradise Creek was an oddly run race in which they let Too Discreet dictate terms through incredibly slow early fractions (color-coded in blue). He’s obviously a talented horses, but he’s not going to get that easy lead again with Giant Run (#2) in the race. Giant Run is a very dangerous horse as he ships back to New York. He’s earned some of the fastest turf speed figures in the race and has never run a bad race on turf. Of those exiting the Paradise Creek, the most interesting horse might be Rappel (#4), who was against the pace that day and had to steady briefly when he almost clipped heels at the top of the stretch. He’s had three poor trips in a row and is due for some luck. We’ll use him, but our top pick is STRIKE MIDNIGHT (#8). We’ve been fans of this horse since he broke his maiden so impressively here last fall. He obviously loves this one-turn-mile distance and he beat a very strong allowance field when he won in his return last month. That 111 speed figure puts him right on par with Giant Run, and we may not have seen his best yet.

Selections: 8 – 2 – 4 – 1 

 

Race 10: We’re interested in a couple of maiden special weight droppers in the finale. CHATEAU LAFITE (#11) took a bit of money in her debut in late April, but nothing went right for her once the gates opened. She was bumped at the start, and off last. She moved up into contention around the far turn, but was in traffic throughout the stretch drive, and only got free after the eighth pole when it was too late. She figures to do better than that here and Linda Rice does exceptional work with her second-time starters (100 trainer rating). The other horse that we want to use is Katie Ice (#7). She ran well in her turf debut back in April when she chased a fast pace, but then was taken too far off the pace in her second start and couldn’t make up the ground late. Those efforts make her the horse to beat. Finally, Sea Pebble (#8) showed some signs of life last time and she actually has plenty of turf pedigree. She’s one to include at a price.

Selections: 11 – 7 – 8 – 10  

 

 

 

 

TimeformUS Analysis for July 3

TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona

TimeformUS Analysis for Racing at Belmont Park on Sunday July 3

>>Go To TimeformUS Past Performances For These Races

 


Race 1: Malibu Princess (#4) is the one they’re going to have to run down. She flashed her speed last time and led until deep stretch before just succumbing to the late run of Malibu Stacy. She earned a 104 speed figure for that effort, which would easily win most maiden races like this. However, can she repeat that effort second off the layoff, and can she withstand early pressure from Theatric (#1A)? This filly, out of champion Ashado, flashed good speed in her Saratoga debut last summer, but hasn’t been seen since. She gets Lasix for the first time today, but is unfortunately coupled with a stablemate that we don’t like. Our top pick is first-time starter MADCAP HEIRESS (#2). We don’t love to pick horses making their debuts, but Brad Cox gets a 90 trainer rating in this category. This filly is by top sire Speightstown and is out of a dam that won a few stakes as a precocious two-year-old. She figures to be quick.

Selections: 2 – 4 – 1A – 5 

 

Race 2: We see three main players in this race. Iron Mizz (#2) was a little wide around the turn in her debut and finished up decently through the stretch. She finished about a length behind her stablemate Bahama Halo, who returned to win next time out. This filly figures to appreciate extra ground as a full-sister to Iron Power, and Todd Pletcher does well second time out (100 trainer rating). Christophe Clement, who gets a 92 trainer rating with first-time starters, sends out the well-bred Summer Sweet (#11). This filly is by turf influence More Than Ready and is a half-sister to five turf winners. We’ll use both of them, but our top pick is LADY JOAN (#5), who may offer the best value of the three. She was slow into stride in her debut and made a mild late run along the rail. However, we think that now she’s getting on the right surface, since Courageous Cat is a turf influence and her dam, Ladywell Court, was also a turf horse.

Selections: 5 – 11 – 2 – 10 

 

Race 3: Aripeka (#1) is clearly the horse to beat even as he steps up slightly in class. However, we’re not in love with this barn change, since, unlike Danny Gargan, David Jacobson has struggled with his turf runners (53 overall trainer rating on that surface). He is the controlling speed and the Pace Projector predicts that the race flow will favor him, but we don’t want to take a very short price on this horse. Finding alternatives is not easy, but we’re mildly interested in TALE OF THE HEART (#3). Charlton Baker does very well off lengthy layoffs like this (93 trainer rating) and this horse ran pretty well against some decent fields at Gulfstream before being put on the shelf. He’s hardly the easiest horse to trust and his running style may not be suited to this race, but at least the price should be square.

Selections: 3 – 1 – 6 – 2 

 

Race 4: She has some questions to answer as she makes her first start since February, but we’re not trying to beat HOT CITY GIRL (#4). While we have some knocks against her, the fact of the matter is that she doesn’t need to run her very best race in order to beat this field. Furthermore, she’s drawn well outside of the other speed types, so Luis Saez will have some options with her. Her main rival is Haveyougoneaway (#6), who ran very well in her debut against New York-bred company, earning a 112 speed figure while finishing a strong second to the talented Bar of Gold. Now she turns back to six furlongs, which appears to suit her better than the one-turn mile. We’ll include her, but we also want to give consideration to a longer price. Perfect Freud (#1) may not win the race, but we think she deserves a look for exactas and trifecta placings. This filly has handled sprint distances in the past, and got pretty good over the winter, earning some of the fastest speed figures not earned by Hot City Girl. If she can remember how to negotiate the shorter distance, she could sneak in there at a price.

Selections: 4 – 1 – 6 – 5 

 

Race 5: Stormy Victoria (#5) is a deserving favorite, having run well in both of her North American starts. Two back she beat Neck of the Moon and Rumble Doll, who have both come back to place against stakes company, and then last time she may have left herself with too much to do while trying to negotiate a mile up at Woodbine. This cutback to seven furlongs suits her, but she will have to overcome dynamics that may not be in her favor. Of those exiting the Intercontinental, the one that interests us most is the last place finisher DISTORTED BEAUTY (#2). She may have needed the race off the layoff, but we would also contend that the performance is not quite as bad as it looks. She was shuffled back and pinned down towards the rail,  and really was never put in a position to make an impact in a race that was dominated by horses that moved outside. She’s shown some tactical speed in the past and was running too well last year for us to let her beat us at a big price today.

Selections: 2 – 5 – 6 – 3

 

Race 6: The last time they met, Ducasa (#1) got the better of Buckskin Doll, but the latter may have run the better race that day. Ducasa was racing up close to a slow pace (color-coded in blue) and had no excuse to finish so poorly. Meanwhile, Buckskin Doll was shuffled back on the turn and had to close into fast closing fractions through the stretch. Since then, BUCKSKIN DOLL (#4) has changed hands a couple of times, but now lands in the barn of Jason Servis. He gets a stellar 100 trainer rating first off the claim and does well with runners coming off layoffs of this type. She moves up in class slightly and appears to be the horse to beat. We’re skeptical of many of the speed types in this race and could see long shot Love You Babe (#5) running along late to be part of the exacta or trifecta. She won against weaker company two back but appears to be steadily improving for Emron Ibrahim. Stone Supplier (#8) has run fast enough to win this race on a few occasions, but the two-month layoff and lack of workouts since her last start, combined with the fact that she was a vet scratch in mid-May, make us leery of her chances to bounce back.

Selections: 4 – 5 – 1 – 8 

 

Race 7: Horses like Wild Chatter (#3) and Carta Regia (#4) have to be considered major players in this race, but we’re not in love with the idea of putting either one on top. Wild Chatter did have some trouble last time, having to wait for room past the eighth pole before angling out. She did close well through the final sixteenth, but she appeared to hang a bit right at the wire, which has been a bad habit of hers. We could say the same of Carta Regia, who got within striking distance in each of her last two starts and just did not display much finishing power. We want someone else and have landed on the dropdown ROYAL TEMPTRESS (#2). We don’t want to be too hard on her for her last race because she might not be a six furlong horse. If she repeats her effort two back, in which she set a fast pace (color-coded in red) before succumbing to some horses that are far superior to these, she could be a threat. The Pace Projector is predicting that she will be on the lead early in a situation favoring the frontrunner.

Selections: 2 – 3 – 4 – 8 

 

Race 8: This race could easily be a Grade 3 stakes. There are just so many talented runners signed on to participate. Almasty (#8) has to be considered one of the top contenders after his encouraging return effort last time. He’s a bit better going a mile, but he handled the seven furlongs last time while only losing to a very talented runner in Full Mast. He’s proven capable of rating, which should serve him well as he faces off against the speedy Macagone. That one set a very fast pace in the Kingston last time, which should have set things up for Kharafa (#5), who failed to capitalize. We felt Kharafa should have been second that day and we wonder if he’s losing a step at age 7. Our top pick is BLACKTYPE (#3). He’s coming out of a similarly deep allowance race, and he ran well that day despite getting rank under Irad Ortiz down the backstretch and around the turn. He’s been a little keen in his recent starts, so it’s probably a good move by Christophe Clement to take the blinkers off. This one-mile distance should be perfect for him. At a huge price, we also could throw in High Noon Rider (#11). He has been a little inconsistent, but he was part of a pace that collapsed in his 2015 finale and has run some of his best races at a mile.

Selections: 3 – 8 – 11 – 5 

 

Race 9: Jet Black (#6) should be tough to beat if he merely repeats his maiden score, in which he defeated a strong field of 13 runners, earning a field-best 105 speed figure. He’s spent most of his career sprinting, but he did handle a mile two back, while being involved in a solid pace the entire way. The extra sixteenth is a minor concern, but he has to be on your tickets. That said, we’re going to take a small shot against him with CHARMING INDY (#7). We’ll just assume that this last race sprinting was a prep for this stretch-out in distance. He ran well enough going two turns at Aqueduct, so this one-turn route should be right up his alley. We’ve always felt that this horse was a little unfocused, running in spots in many of his races, so the blinkers may prove to be a valuable addition.

Selections: 7 – 6 – 2 – 5 

 

Race 10: The fifth race on June 12 is worth watching, since two horses had serious trouble. Flying K C (#5) left the gate about a second after the rest of the field, spotting them all some 8 to 10 lengths, while Satin Frost (#2) was squeezed back at the start. Flying K C ultimately ran the stronger race, finishing some six lengths ahead of Satin Frost. However, they’re both coming out of a very weak race and we don’t want either one here. We prefer Jennifer’s Legacy (#8), who ran well in her turf debut after making a wide move on the far turn, and did so against a stronger field. The winner, Baronet, returned to run admirably against stakes company. We’ll use her, but our top pick is HYDE PARK EXPRESS (#1). This filly only ran on turf once, at five furlongs against open company. Many horses have come back out of that race to significantly improve their speed figures, and she didn’t have a fair chance after a wide trip. She has a ton of turf pedigree as a daughter of Hat Trick, and is out of a dam that has produced four turf winners.

Selections: 1 – 8 – 5 – 10

 

 

 

 

 

TimeformUS Analysis for July 2

TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona

TimeformUS Analysis for Racing at Belmont Park on Saturday July 2

>>Go To TimeformUS Past Performances For These Races

Race 1: The only horse with positive racing experience is Golden Mischief (#1) and she clearly has some talent. She was a very game second in her debut and then was immediately stepped up into stakes company in the Astoria last month. That was admittedly not the toughest juvenile stakes we’ve ever seen, but Golden Mischief has nevertheless earned speed figures that would win most early season maiden races, and has to be considered the horse to beat. There are plenty of appealing pedigrees in this race, and the first-time starter that intrigues us most is LIBBY’S TAIL (#3), a daughter of excellent debut sire Tiz Wonderful. This $375,000 two-year-old purchase worked a furlong in 9 4/5 seconds at the OBS sales. Rudy Rodriguez has been struggling at this meet, but he does very well with his first-time starters, earning an 85 trainer rating with two-year-old maiden debut runners. We prefer him slightly to Rudy’s other firster, In It for the Gold (#4), who also sports a pedigree that suggests he should be quick.

Selections: 3 – 1 – 4 – 7 

 

Race 2: Los Borrachos (#3) is not a horse that loves to win races, but we cannot deny that he’s the horse to beat as he takes a logical drop in class off the layoff. He’s making his first start for a tag after a long string of allowance attempts and Bill Mott actually gets a 92 trainer rating with horses coming off layoffs of this type. However, he has no early speed and is unproven at this distance of six furlongs. We’re not opposed to one turn for this horse, but turf turnbacks don’t usually pan out in the long run. We don’t really want the horses out of the race at this level won by Romans Paradise, so we’re looking for new faces. Our top pick is LATIGO TRAIL (#7), who may play out as the speed of the speed and has a real chance to wire this field. He’s run well off layoffs in the past and has earned a few speed figures that make him a threat for the top spot. After a long dry spell, Bruce Brown’s runners have been performing better in recent weeks. We could also use Zoom (#1), whose only turf start was a disaster. Typically a speed horse, he was outrun for the lead and then reacted badly when a horse ahead of him bore out heading into the turn, eliminating him from the race. He’s bred for turf and may have more to offer today.

Selections: 7 – 3 – 1 – 6 

Dirt Selections: 8 – 3 – 4 – 2 

 

Race 3: We’re not trying to beat the morning line favorite NORM THE GIANT (#6), who rallied enthusiastically through the stretch last time after being reserved well off the pace in the early stages. He briefly had to wait for room in traffic approaching the stretch that day and may have an easier time of it in this smaller field. That said, the one hurdle he has to overcome is the lack of a strong pace this time. Miroc (#2) figures to be the main speed from the inside, but we don’t quite trust him after he faded so badly in the late stages last time. Il Fratello (#3) ran decently after a wide trip last time and could sneak into the trifecta once again.

Selections: 6 – 3 – 2 – 5 

 

Race 4: The Claiborne Farm/Adele Dilschneider entry of Commend (#1) and Seize (#1A) figures to go off at a very short price here. While we’re not in love with turf turnbacks, we cannot deny that Commend has talent. He almost defeated American Patriot in his first turf start, and that one has gone on to do some nice things, including an impressive allowance score here last week. Meanwhile, Seize has already proven his capacity to handle this distance in his debut last fall and Christophe Clement gets a 100 trainer rating with runners coming off layoffs of this type. They’re the most likely winners, but we can’t resist taking a shot against them with one of the first-time turfers, who is likely to go off at a much larger price. VIRGA (#3) has finished last in both of his dirt starts, but, in fairiness, he did show some good speed in his debut last summer and then made a little middle move into contention before fading at Gulfstream last time. However, the reason that we’re giving him a shot here is because he has plenty of turf pedigree. His dam won three times on turf, and was best as a turf sprinter. Additionally, she has already produced a turf winner, and Street Boss is an excellent turf sire. We could say similar things about Art Boss (#7), who has actually shown some ability on dirt, earning a field-best 107 speed figure in his debut. David Cannizzo does not have strong numbers with this move, but the pedigree is there.

Selections: 3 – 1/1A – 7 – 5

 

Race 5: We’re not in love with the runners that are short prices on the morning line. River Dancer (#9) is dropping in class but is hard to trust, especially in a race that is predicted to favor horses on or near the lead. Man of Wiregrass had everything go his way on the front end last time and is actually landing in a tougher spot here despite the apparent drop in class. The horse to beat is probably Completely Bonkers (#5), who did well to overcome an unfavorable pace scenario last time (note the pace color-coded in blue), closing into the margin of loose-on-the-lead winner Cort. This horse has yet to run a bad race on turf and gets a positive rider switch to Jose Ortiz. However, we spot a horse that could get ignored on the board and offer significant value. DREAM BREAKER (#7) beat a weak field when he broke his maiden at Aqueduct last fall. That race is not quite good enough to win against this level of competition. However, he showed more in his first start off the layoff last time. He was put into an uncomfortable position around the far turn that day and was shuffled back while pinned down towards the inside. Jackie Davis had trouble maneuvering him around horses, but he actually finished up decently once clear. Now he gets a rider upgrade to Angel Arroyo and should be fitter for his second start off the layoff.

Selections: 7 – 5 – 9 – 4 

Dirt Selections: 4 – 3 – 1 – 8 

 

Race 6: GALILEO’S SONG (#5) ran a lot better than it looks in her first try against winners last time. Irad Ortiz was never able to find any cover for her and he had no choice but to let her run up to the lead on the backstretch as she resented restraint while racing in the clear. Despite being forced to move too soon, she held on well late and was only run down by a late charge from proven stakes performer Achnaha. This time, there is other speed for her to track and we believe she’ll assert her superiority. The horse that she has to run down is Taralena (#3), who exits two races against Time and Motion, one of the favorites in next week’s Belmont Oaks. Bel Citron (#1) was disappointing last time, but had shown some potential in her prior two starts and deserves one more chance to break into the trifecta.

Selections: 5 – 3 – 1 – 6 

Race 7: The Pace Projector is predicting a situation that favors horses on or near the lead. Given the unpredictable tactics that Classic Salsa’s connections have been using lately, the pace scenario is most likely to benefit Proven Commodity (#3). He won each of his two starts last season in wire-to-wire fashion, setting legitimate paces on each occasion. Tom Albertrani gets a decent 89 trainer rating with a small sample of horses coming off layoffs of this type. He’s dangerous, but he still has some questions to answer. Classic Salsa (#6) has been keeping good company and comes off a win at this level in which he was actually able to rally from off the pace. He should work out a great stalking trip under Joel Rosario and six furlongs suits him. While we’re afraid of the speed runners, we want to take a shot with LIFE IN SHAMBLES (#1). This horse has been a hard read for his connections, but one of the best races that he’s run was his first-off-the-claim when he was a better-than-it-looks fourth after a terrible trip. He should be getting back on a drier track today. His last race proves that he’s in good form and he’s more of a dirt horse. Steve Asmussen gets an 85 trainer rating going turf to dirt.

Selections: 1 – 6 – 3 – 2 

 

Race 8: There is a lot going on in this race, but we cannot get past the likely favorite, ONUS (#8), as our top selection. This filly has run four times over firm turf courses and has won those races by a combined 28 lengths—quite a feat racing on grass. In her first start off the layoff this spring she easily beat a field of allowance company by over five lengths, breaking the course record while hardly being asked for her best. This one-mile distance is perfect for her and her tactical speed should put her in a great position in a race lacking confirmed frontrunners. The runner that is likely to offer the best value is My Sweet Girl (#6), who ran very well last time, setting a fast pace (color-coded in red), while leading until the final three-sixteenths of a mile. She’s been more aggressive with blinkers and had to run hard to make the lead last time in a race that featured other speed. There won’t be as much competition for the front end today and she could find herself with a pace advantage. Out of the local prep, the Intercontinental, we could also use Notte d’Oro (#3), who was pace-compromised that day, and Mississippi Delta (#7), who was never fully clear in the stretch last time.

Selections: 8 – 6 – 3 – 7 

 

Race 9: Rachel’s Valentina (#6) clearly regressed off her strong return in the Ashland, in which she battled back to beat Cathryn Sophia after getting passed by that one in midstretch. We’re not sure what to expect as she tries to get back on track here. Lewis Bay (#5) ran a fine race in the Oaks after getting a good trip. She makes plenty of sense here, but we just think a couple of others will offer better value. Off the Tracks (#2) showed a great deal of talent as a juvenile and may not have cared for a sloppy track in her first route attempt this year. She bounced back nicely in the Acorn last time and finished up like a filly that should have no problem with the distance. LIGHSTREAM (#7) is the most interesting horse in the race. She ran fast races in her first two career starts, and then put in a remarkable effort to win her turf debut last time. She was off a couple of lengths slowly and put in a wide, sweeping move to catapult to the lead past midstretch that day. If she can transfer her strong turn of foot going shorter to this route distance, we think she has a great chance to pull off the minor upset. 

Selections: 7 – 2 – 5 – 6 

 

Race 10: We don’t have any major knocks against Irish Prayer (#3), who has twice run well at this level and makes plenty of sense here. Of those with turf experience, Potentially (#2) appears to be the primary rival, having earned competitive speed figures while running against tougher maiden special weight company. We’ll use both of them, but want to take a small shot with first-time turfer SKY CHAPARRAL (#8). This colt’s dam was stakes-placed on turf, and she has produced three turf winners. He gets a positive rider switch for this race and may get ignored in the wagering.

Selections: 8 – 3 – 2 – 10