Race 1: #8 Captain Moss ran in a pair of very tough races to begin his career, and earned a TFUS Speed Figure of 85 the last time he raced on dirt, which was back in April. Has improved on turf since, but we wonder if he wasn't initially claimed for dirt, and he switches back now for hot trainer who is strong with the turf to dirt move (96 rating). #1 Alex the Terror took a game try on a fast pace (note Pace Figures/fractions shaded red) when switched from turf to dirt at Saratoga. TFUS Speed Figures of 103 and 99 for last two dirt sprint starts make him the horse to beat.
Race 2: #4 Oscar Mike has speed, but he had little chance to go with powerful winner Manhattan Dan, who came back to run a good 3rd in graded stakes company at Woodbine in his next start. May be able to make the lead in this spot. #3 Rappel ran into a traffic jam in unlucky debut, and he was always in behind front-running Ian Smith last time, before making a game late surge when finally clear. #5 Light the Night was off the pace when behind Rappel last time, but had a good finish of his own, and is eligible to improve quickly.
Race 3: #9 You Got It was away running from the rail in debut, but was forced to chase a heavily favored second-time starter from the Pletcher barn and tired in the stretch. Moves outside for trainer pulling 90 rating with second-time starters. #2 Governor Malibu chased wide in that same race, and finished gamely to be 2nd best. Clement also does well with second-time starters (96 rating). Pletcher firster #5 Mountain Music Man brought $450k earlier this year, and he is a half to the talented turf stakes winner Tourist. #1 Blugrascat's Smile is out of the prolific dam Serenity's Smile. An 11-time winner herself, she has so far dropped Johannesburg Smile (8 wins, $523k in earnings); Wildcat's Smile (4 wins, $420k in earnings); and Atlantic's Smile (5 wins, $290k in earnings).
Race 4: #2 Raffies Bay and #3 Jax Heritage are the only ones we really want in this race. Raffie's Bay wasn't at his best upstate, but he had been in improved form this year prior to heading up there, and he defeated Jax Heritage with a good late run here back in May. Jax Heritage is handier, and can get the jump, but he is also likely to be a much shorter price, and may not hold the kind of advantage to warrant a big discrepancy.
Race 5: #2 Wedding Toast looks tough in the Grade 1 Beldame following back-to-back convincing wins with TFUS Speed Figures of 116 and 119. Concerned that she has missed some important races during the summer, but she is tough with anything close to her best. 3yo #1 Curalina may pose the biggest threat as she cuts back to a more comfortable distance. She's talented, with more upside still, and she doesn't figure to be compromised by pace.
Race 6: Tough allowance for fillies and mares on the grass will have a fast pace, according to the TimeformUS Pace Projector. We'll hope that suits #2 Katama, who showed something to work on while closing down a fast pace in sprint debut. Seemed the type to improve from that effort, and we aren't holding stakes try on synthetic last time against her. #9 Robe broke through with easy maiden win for $75k upstate after disappointing one start prior down here. We didn't care for the field she beat last time, but at least she did it convincingly with a new top figure of 99. #7 Neck of the Moon is logical for Chad Brown after showing that she can route in her three starts this year.
Race 7: Grade 2 Gallant Bloom features the fleet and talented #2 La Verdad. She has earned a series of TFUS Speed Figures that make her faster than these horses, and she looms the controlling speed once again, so they may all be hoping that the final half-furlong does her in. #5 Street Story has been in improved form this year, and we thought she was most affected by the late scratch of La Verdad in the Ballerina, as she was forced to keep closer to the pace. Like her better making one run. #3 Room for Me contested the pace and was outfinished late in game Ballerina try. She's been quite a claim for Jacobson, and her dead game try vs. La Verdad in the Vagrancy back in May points her out as the main threat.
Race 8: #1 Ray's the Bar makes stateside debut for Chad Brown following promising debut at Ascot back in July, where he made a strong late run to track down a leader who wasn't stopping. According to our colleagues in London he seems the type to improve, as his prior trainer is not one notes for success first time out. #5 Isotherm prepped on dirt before switching to grass and dueling down an odds-on favorite with a TFUS Speed Figure of 93. Forward to go. #6 Eidmilaad has a big pedigree for a top trainer, and he finished his debut win off nicely with a strong late run. Lasix goes on for second start.
Race 9: Grade 1 Vosburgh goes through #7 Rock Fall. He is the shortest of prices on the ML as he looks for his seventh straight win, and second Grade 1 following a career-best performance to overcome a slow pace at Saratoga. #1 Palace has been unable to get any momentum going this year, following a stellar 2-14 campaign that saw him win two Grade 1s. Thought he ran well last time after a very awkward stumble at the start put him out of position, and his trainer does well second off the layoff (90 rating). #6 Salutos Amigos owns a best race that is on par with Palace, but he has been unable to get over the hump at this level.
Race 10: #5 Slumber has improved, belatedly, for Chad Brown, and he finally became a Grade 1 winner three starts back. Encountered trouble in each of his last two starts, and is a big threat here, assuming a clean trip. #3 Big Blue Kitten fires every time, is already a Grade 1 winner over this trip, and owns a powerful late kick, which is expected to be set up by his front-running stablemate, #7 Shining Copper. #1 Red Rifle is in career form right now for Todd Pletcher, having run the three best races of his life on the way in. He's had one perfect trip after another, but he gets this distance, and figures to pull another trip from his cozy inside post.
Race 11: #6 Fire Away rode the rail behind a fast pace set by #3 Macagone early in the Saratoga meet, and was outfinished late by closers who were out in the clear. On a nice improving pattern for trainer who brings them along like no one else. #8 Grey Wizard was outside and closing and closing along with everyone else in new top TFUS Speed Figure performance last time. Impressed in maiden win two starts back with a big finish into a stronger pace. #5 Ocean Telegraph isn't helped by the presence of Macagone, but he has looked good at times, and makes his first start as a gelding in this spot.