by TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona
Race 1: 6 - 2 - 3 - 1
Race 2: 2 - 6 - 9 - 4
Race 3: 5 - 4 - 1 - 6
Race 4: 9 - 5 - 8 - 2
Race 5: 1 - 3 - 2 - 4
Race 6: 5 - 6 - 1 - 8
Race 7: 2 - 3 - 5 - 4
Race 8: 2 - 6 - 4 - 7
Race 9: 4 - 6 - 9 - 3
RACE 2: MINUS TWO (#2)
It turns out that Artic Storm Cat, the rare white thoroughbred, can actually run a little bit. He’s steadily improved over the course of his last two starts, and did pretty well to get up for third last time despite making a wide run off the far turn. If he repeats that effort, he’s the most likely winner of this race, but he does not figure to offer much value this time. I suppose a horse like Brooklyn Speights can also win, but he’s had his chances. I want to get a little more creative in this wide-open race, so I’m taking a shot with Minus Two. I know his lone turf start at Saratoga looks terrible, since he was beaten almost 15 lengths by today’s favorite. However, I think you can make some major excuses. It was his first start in nearly eight months, and he did not get the greatest trip. It’s never easy to break from the outside post position in a 12-horse field, though he did manage to save a reasonable amount of ground on the turns. He was following Artic Storm Cat into the stretch, but Luis Reyes sent him inside of horses and he wound up running into a ton of traffic, getting stuck behind one of the stopping early leaders. He lost all of his momentum while in trouble for about an eighth of a mile, so the final margin of defeat is exaggerated. This horse has some turf pedigree, and has a right to take a real step forward this time.
Exacta Key Box: 2 with 4,6,8,9
Trifecta: 6,9 with 4,6,8,9 with 2
RACE 4: MASCARELLO (#9)
The two runners to fear in this spot are Hello Holiday and Escape Velocity. The former has disappointed in his last two starts against N1X allowance company, but now he’s getting a realistic drop in class. Escape Velocity has been tried on the dirt in each of his last two starts, but now gets back to what appears to be his preferred surface. He was facing better horses in his last grass start back in July, but he didn’t do that much running. I think both of these horses can be defeated at short prices. My top pick is Mascarello. I know that he’s not really a winning type at 1-for-21 lifetime, but only 7 of those starts have come on turf, which is obviously his best surface. He ran exceptionally well two back, making the first move into a fast pace that fell apart. Then last time, he was racing in tight quarters for much of the stretch drive and had no clear path until the final sixteenth of a mile. He would have finished much closer that day with an outside run. He appears to be in great form right now, and this distance is perfect for him.
Exacta Key Box: 9 with 2,5,8
Trifecta: 9 with 5,8 with ALL
RACE 5: SPECIAL DIVIDEND (#1)
Court Dancer is a deserving favorite as she drops out of a poor run against a much tougher group in the Union Avenue at Saratoga. Her prior form was fine, and she’s probably just getting back to the right level for the always dangerous Jason Servis. She can win at a short price, but I prefer Special Dividend, who may should offer more value. This filly really came alive over the inner track at Aqueduct last season, winning an allowance race before finishing third behind the talented Picco Uno, who would go on to win the Union Avenue that Court Dancer exits. Furthermore, Chris Englehart has fantastic numbers with horses switching from turf to dirt sprints. Over the past five years, he is 23 for 82 (29%, $2.71 ROI) with that move.
Exacta Key Box: 1 with 2,3,4
RACE 7: DANCETRACK (#2)
The two runners that figure to go off at the shortest prices are both dropping in class, and I think you have to respect them. Still Krz did not run particularly well last time, but he was contesting a reasonably fast pace (indicated by red color-coding in the PPs). He’s claimed out of that spot by Linda Rice, who has fantastic numbers off the claim. However, she gets him from Jason Servis, who is himself one of the best claiming trainers in the game, so I’m not sure this is a positive move. Bluegrass Singer is the other major contender. Chris Englehart picked him up out of a mediocre effort at the $50,000 level at Saratoga. Perhaps he didn’t care for the wet track that day, and now he gets some class relief. I’ll use them both, but I want to give a shot to first-time dirt horse Dance Track as my top selection. This is a bit of a guess, since you really don’t know if this horse can handle dirt. However, it is worth noting that David Jacobson is moving him up in class as he tries this surface for the first time. Over the past five years, Jacobson is an outstanding 14 for 43 (33%, $3.04 ROI) first off the claim with horses switching from turf to dirt sprints. Furthermore, Dancetrack actually has some pedigree for this surface and he figures to get a fair pace to close into.
Exacta Key Box: 2 with 3,4,5,7
RACE 9: SOUTHERN UNION (#4)
Little Schmo has run races that would put him in the winner's circle here, but his return from the layoff at Parx was awful, so I find him difficult to trust. Here and There and Thaddeus both won races at the N2L conditional claiming level last time, but did so against pretty weak fields. I’ll use them, but I want to try to beat those shorter prices with Southern Union. I don’t want to hold his last race against him because he just didn’t get the mile distance and is clearly better going shorter on the dirt. His race two back was pretty good, since he set a fast pace and earned a field-best 114 TimeformUS Speed Figure. A repeat of that performance would probably beat this field, and he’s going to be a decent price.
Exacta Key Box: 4 with 1,3,6,7,9
by TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona
Race 1: 4 - 1/1A - 3 - 2
Race 2: 2 - 5 - 3 - 1
Race 3: 4 - 2 - 1/1A - 6
Race 4: 10 - 1 - 3 - 9
Race 5: 2 - 6 - 5 - 7
Race 6: 6 - 3 - 5 - 1
Race 7: 7 - 2 - 1 - 3
Race 8: 1 - 3 - 8 - 4
Race 9: 8 - 1 - 7 - 4
RACE 3: FROST WISE (#4)
Tainted Angel is likely to go favored, but I don't think she has any kind of edge over this field. She was facing inferior competition in her last two starts at Finger Lakes, winning one of those at a very short price. Her prior starts at NYRA tracks certainly make her a contender here, but her closing style may not fit the flow of this race. The Pace Projector is predicting a situation that favors runners on or near the lead, which should work to the advantage of Frost Wise. There just isn't any other speed in this race, and she is predicted to be racing on a clear early lead. She has a tendency to get tired at the end of her races, but hopefully a more moderate pace will aid her finish. Michael Dilger has fantastic numbers with last-out maiden winners on dirt. Over the past five years, he is 10 for 27 (37 percent, $6.81 ROI) in such situations.
Exacta Key Box: 4 with 1,2,6
Trifecta: 4 with 1,2 with ALL
RACE 4: FUEL THE BERN (#10)
Herecomesyourman merely has to repeat his effort from a week ago to give himself a great chance to win this race. He's cutting back to a shorter distance, but he just isn't facing any proven rivals of the same quality as Brianbakescookies, who defeated him in that similar spot last week. That said, there are a couple of intriguing alternatives to the favorite who may have a right to improve here. One of those is Rule Yourself, who drops in class while making his second start back from an extended layoff. The 5 1/2-furlong distance of his last race was probably just too short for him, and now he's stretching out to a more appropriate distance. I'll certainly use him, but my top pick is Fuel the Bern. This runner made his career debut on turf last fall, closing greenly to be a solid third behind the subsequently stakes-placed Holiday Stone. He ran well enough on dirt in his second start for them to try it again in his first start back from the layoff. However, he's probably getting back to the right surface now since he's a half-brother to three turf winners. Over the past five years, Christophe Clement is an outstanding 8 for 14 (57 percent, $5.49 ROI) with horses switching from dirt to turf in maiden-claiming races.
Exacta Key Box: 10 with 1,3,8,9
RACE 7: ANDALUSITE (#7)
There appears to be a fair amount of speed in this race, with runners like Silver Dagger, Damage Control, and Tiznoble all having run their best recent races while running on or near the lead. I'm hoping that the pace is at least honest because I'm looking at a new face in this spot. Andalusite has been running at a variety of levels out of town, and it's usually fair to be suspicious of that form when these horses ship to New York. However, in race after race, he's been running against quality competition, and running rather well. His trainer has not had much success on this circuit, but that should only drive up the price on this viable contender. She does have success when pairing up with rider Nik Juarez, getting a 99 Trainer Rating in those situations.
Exacta Key Box: 7 with 1,2,3,6
RACE 9: CLONEDSIMMARD (#8)
I just don't trust any of the shorter prices in this race. Giant Rocks has run a few somewhat competitive speed figures, so I suppose he deserves to be the morning-line choice. There's just nothing about his overall form that really excites me, and I wouldn't be surprised to see someone take a step forward and beat him. The problem is finding that other horse. I don't particularly want Pio's Posse, who made his debut as a 6-year-old last year and now hasn't been seen for another full calendar year while dropping in class. Charlton Baker has a pair of second-time starters, and anything he sends out must be respected. I'll use them, but my top pick is longshot Clonedsimmard. This runner just isn't really a turf horse, and his first couple of starts on dirt actually weren't that bad. He ran a very competitive speed figure when closing late in his debut, and he had significant trouble in his second start after blowing the break. He's probably going to get overlooked here, and I think he's got a reasonable chance to pull off the upset.
Exacta Key Box: 8 with 1,4,7,10
by TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona
Race 1: 2 - 7 - 5 - 1
Race 2: 3 - 2 - 4 - 6
Race 3: 9 - 4 - 2 - 1
Race 4: 13 - 4 - 5 - 12
Race 5: 1 - 6 - 4 - 7
Race 6: 3 - 6 - 1 - 10
Race 7: 2 - 1A - 7 - 5
Race 8: 4 - 6 - 9 - 8
Race 9: 3 - 5 - 11 - 7
RACE 3: SPA TOWN PARADE (#9)
This race was a struggle to handicap. Horses like Kate Is a Ten and Milaya are probably the most likely winners, but I can't endorse betting them at short prices. Kate Is a Ten's last race was awful. She got a fast pace to close into and didn't show any kind of closing move while barely outrunning longshot Perina's Pride, who also is in this race. Milaya seemed to improve on turf recently, but her dirt form is nothing special. This feels like a race that could produce a wacky result, which is why I'm picking longshot Spa Town Parade. As with any massive longshot, the negatives are obvious. She goes out for low-percentage connections, is piloted by a rider who rarely wins on this circuit, and is coming off an extended layoff. However, there are some things to like. Before the layoff, she raced three consecutives time on wet tracks, which she strongly dislikes. She also was running very frequently at that point in time, so she may have just gotten burned out. Going back four or five starts in her PPs, she was actually running speed figures that would make her a contender here, and was doing so against tougher competition. This mare is inconsistent, but she has sprung improbable upsets before.
Exacta Key Box: 9 with 1,2,4,8
Trifecta: 1,2,4 with 1,2,4,8 with 9
RACE 6: CHASINDAMONEY (#3)
Rockin Jo led a maiden field for most of the way before just getting run down in the final strides here a month ago. He was setting a strong pace that day and did well to hang on for second. The only problem I have with him is that he appears to be facing a tougher group this time. Some of the strongest alternatives are exiting the Saratoga sprint run on Aug. 25. Barbarossa ran the best race of anyone coming out of that event, as he was spun wide coming off the far turn and closed well through the lane to be second. However, I prefer another runner that figures to go off at a more attractive price. Chasindamoney did little running after breaking slowly in his debut, but Linda Rice sometimes gives her horses a race first time out before getting serious. Over the past five years, she is 10 for 27 (37 percent, $3.12 ROI) when adding blinkers with second-time starting maidens. Furthermore, this colt is bred to be a runner since his dam is a half-sister to millionaire turfer Lubash.
Exacta Key Box: 3 with 1,4,6,4,10
RACE 7: LA MONEDA (#2)
Frosty Lady is clearly the horse to beat after showing marked improvement through her two starts at Saratoga. She stepped up to win a tight photo when surprisingly favored against a field of $25,000 claimers two back, and then elevated her game to a new level when finishing a strong second last time. That day, she was wide around both turns and was closing best of all in the late stages. If she repeats that performance, she'll almost certainly win this race, but I'm a little skeptical. I see two potential alternatives to the favorite. One is first-time turfer Land Mine. Like her half-sister Bar of Gold, she relished a sloppy track at Saratoga when winning her maiden going nine furlongs last time. However, she also has ample turf pedigree on the dam's side and looks like the kind of horse that should take to this surface. I'll definitely use her, but my top pick is La Moneda. I was impressed by this filly's maiden win, as she took over with authority at the top of the stretch and kicked clear easily while the race was falling apart behind her. She also ran better than it appears in her debut after chasing a fast pace. There's pedigree for her to be a nice New York-bred since she's a full sister to multiple turf winners Palace Dreams and Dream Doctor.
Exacta Box: 1,2,7
RACE 8: BOURBON EMPIRE (#4)
I'm a little concerned about the fact that Bourbon Empire has needed so much time between his last few starts, but I cannot deny that this gelding has run very well in his last two dirt races. On April 8, he was one of the few runners that effectively closed from off the pace on a day when the main track was favoring speed, and then last time at Saratoga he did well to overcome a slow pace (indicated by blue color-coding in the PPs). If you ignore those two turf experiments, he's just been in fantastic form and is clearly the horse to beat in this spot. The only issue with him is that he's a closer in a race that once again does not feature much pace. I'm hoping that Jose Lezcano can keep him a bit closer to the early pace since he did show the ability to stalk earlier in his career.
Exacta Key Box: 4 with 6,8,9
RACE 9: SARDONYX (#3)
Almost all of the major contenders in this finale are exiting the maiden race run at Belmont on September 22, which was won impressively, and in fast time, by Jody's Song. Of the also-rans, Purely Lucky and Carrera Cat ran the best races. However, the former is going to be a short price and has had a few chances at this point, and the latter is stuck on the also-eligible list. I wan to look at some more creative options out of that race since a few horses had trips. In my opinion, the runner that stands to take the biggest step forward is Sardonyx. This filly broke about a length slowly, and John Velazquez immediately motivated her to try to get her into the race. However, in doing so, she became rank down the backstretch and ended up making a mild premature move while racing wide without cover. She continued to advance wide into the turn and eventually flattend out late. Overall, it was a good education, and she figures to improve in her second start.
Exacta Key Box: 3 with 4,5,7,10,11,15
by TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona
Race 1: 1 - 6 - 8 - 4
Race 2: 9 - 8 - 1 - 7
Race 3: 3 - 5 - 2 - 1
Race 4: 9 - 7 - 2 - 5
Race 5: 5 - 10 - 9 - 1
Race 6: 13 - 5 - 7 - 10
Race 7: 11 - 7 - 6 - 2
Race 8: 1 - 3 - 6 - 2
Race 9: 10 - 5 - 12 - 2
RACE 1: BRIMSTONE (#1)
Morning-line favorite Marriedtothemusic is the horse to beat, but I don’t want to take an especially short price on him. He was allowed to set a slow pace last time (indicated by blue color-coding in the PPs) and may face some pressure from runners to his inside. I’m trying to beat him with Brimstone, who is getting significant class relief after meeting much tougher fields recently. He had initially run very well off the claim by David Jacobson, and he’s had minor excuses in his last two efforts. They chose to rate him two back, which just didn’t work out, and then last time, he had to back up out of position early when outrun to the lead. He figures to be a more attractive price, and he’s talented enough to take down the favorite. I also have to use the closer West Hills Giant somewhere. He never wins, but he may work out a great trip here.
Exacta Box: 1,6,8
RACE 5: HOLLYWOOD CAT (#5)
Reckless Humor and Avery Maeve both make some sense here since they’ve previously run well at this level and are coming into this race off solid efforts. I’ll use them somewhere, but I’d rather take a new face at this level. Hollywood Cat improved significantly over the summer. She ran well to be third in a stakes at Saratoga behind the talented Lover’s Key and then stepped up to face older horses last time. That day, she became rank in the early going and ran up to duel between horses down the backstretch. She had a right to get tired late, and we saw third-place finisher Munchkin Money exit a similar trip to win turning back at Belmont. I think Hollywood Cat was meeting a tougher group last time and should be able to handle this shorter trip.
Exacta Key Box: 5 with 1,9,10,11
RACE 6: DIG THAT MINE (#5)
With also-eligible entrant Smokin Platinum drawing into the field, he clearly becomes the horse to beat. I have no illusions that he is not a very likely winner of this race, but at a much bigger price, I also want to use Dig That Mine, who ships in from Parx. This colt’s debut was not quite as bad as it looks. He actually broke well and was up close early before losing his action and dropping back abruptly on the backstretch. Steve Klesaris has good numbers with second-time starters in dirt sprints, and this horse worked a good-looking furlong in 10 3/5 seconds at the Fasig-Tipton sale. He makes his first start against New York-breds here.
Exacta Box: 5,13
Trifecta: 13 with 3,6,7,10 with 5
RACE 7: LORD OF LOVE (#11)
Air Vice Marshal is obviously the deserving favorite off his runner-up effort behind Lucullun, who returned to finish a good second in the Grade 3 Hill Prince in his next start. Prior to that, he had run well at this distance behind another next-out stakes winner, White Flag. Air Vice Marshal is clearly talented, but he just hasn’t been able to get to the winner’s circle. I’ll certainly use him, but I can’t pick him on top. Portando ran well last time, dueling through swift early fractions and hanging on gamely late. However, now he must stretch out to seven furlongs and deal with the speedy Hardened early. I’m hoping the pace is at least honest because I think Lord of Love finds himself in a favorable spot. I know this 8-year-old gelding rarely wins, but he has always appreciated these late-season turf courses at Belmont and Aqueduct, which aren’t quite as firm as those he encounters in late spring and summer. After briefly having to alter course at the top of the stretch last time, he was really flying late. Seven furlongs is certainly within his scope, and he’s going to be an attractive price.
Exacta Key Box: 11 with 1,2,6,7
Trifecta: 2,6,7 with 1,2,6,7 with 11
RACE 8: GIANTINTHEMOONLITE (#1)
Mr. Buff is going to be tough to handle if he runs back to his return effort last month. He wasted no time getting right back to the same high level of performance that he had displayed in the spring at Aqueduct. He dueled through solid fractions last time and was very game, hanging on until the last jump. The Pace Projector is predicting that there isn’t much early speed in this race, which will work to Mr. Buff’s advantage. One horse whom I’m hoping is closer to that pace here is Giantinthemoonlite, who got a peculiar ride last time. He was not aggressively ridden early and was allowed to drop too far back early. He actually launched a solid rally but had to steady when going for a position between horses at the top of the stretch. Despite all that, he was actually finishing fastest of all across the wire. He ran very well two back at Saratoga, and it seems like Charlton Baker has this runner in top form.
Exacta Key Box: 1 with 2,3,4,6
Trifecta: 1 with 3,6 with 2,3,4,6,7
by TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona
Race 1: 6 - 3 - 5 - 2
Race 2: 6 - 2 - 7 - 8
Race 3: 1 - 2 - 3 - 6
Race 4: 9 - 2 - 5 - 6
Race 5: 7 - 8 - 3 - 9
Race 6: 1 - 8 - 11 - 6
Race 7: 6 - 11 - 5 - 1A
Race 8: 6 - 4 - 3 - 1
Race 9: 2 - 4 - 7 - 3
Race 10: 1 - 9 - 5 - 7
RACE 2: KULIN ROCK (#6)
I certainly respect Now in a Drive, who has run well enough to win races at this level, but seems to come up just a little short most of the time. He finished ahead of today's rival Kulin Rock last time, but I think that runner has an excellent chance to turn the tables here. Kulin Rock was making his debut in that race, and I thought he ran well despite racing a bit greenly. He had to alter course in midstretch when looking for room and was finishing with good interest through the wire. Barclay Tagg can win with a first-time starter on the turf from time to time, but he has much better numbers with second-time starters on this surface. Over the past five years, he is 7 for 35 (20 percent, $2.48 ROI) with maidens making their second starts on the grass.
Exacta Key Box: 6 with 2,7,8
Trifecta: 6 with 2,7,8 with 1,2,4,7,8
RACE 3: TOTAL CONTROL (#1)
The two runners likely to attract the most play in this spot are Tiz the Light and Expensive Taste. The former hasn't run badly in any of her races, and will benefit from getting some class relief against this somewhat weak maiden field. However, she's still been a bit of a disappointment given her pedigree, as a half-sister to By the Moon. Expensive Taste ran well as a 2-year-old at Del Mar last summer. The winner of that race has run fine in her subsequent starts, but there just wasn't much quality behind her that day. I'm always afraid of Jason Servis, but I want to take a shot against both of those fillies with Total Control. She ran better than it might appear in a few of her starts at Aqueduct last winter. She made a premature move two back on January 15, and then was wide against a strong rail bias on February 4. I think she might appreciate this turnback in distance, and Brian Lynch has great numbers in this situation. Over the past five years, he is 7 for 28 (25 percent, $4.68 ROI) with runners coming off a trainer switch and layoffs of 180 days or more.
Exacta Key Box: 1 with 2,3,6
RACE 5: TWO DOWN ONE TO GO (#7)
If Bancroft Hall runs back to his effort at Aqueduct on April 8, he’ll almost certainly win this race. I know he disappointed in his only subsequent dirt start, but that race at Monmouth wasn’t nearly as bad as it looks. That sloppy track was favoring speed on July 14, and Bancroft just didn’t appear to be handling the track as he struggled to keep up from the outset. Now he gets a rider switch to Kendrick Carmouche, who will take advantage of his early speed. I think he’s the horse to beat, but I want to get take a small shot against him with Two Down One To Go. This horse has been campaigned primarily on turf in recent starts, but I think he might actually appreciate this switch back to the main track. After all, he’s finishing in the money just twice in 11 grass starts, and has hit the board in 6 of 7 starts on dry dirt tracks. With the lone exception of his effort on June 8, which came against a particularly tough field, all of his dirt races from this past winter give him a shot here. He has to prove he can handle the turnback in distance, but Dave Cannizzo has good numbers with this move. Over the past five years, he is 6 for 25 (24 percent, $4.31 ROI) with runners going from turf routes to dirt sprints.
Exacta Key Box: 7 with 1,3,6,8,9
RACE 6: ROYAL POWER (#1) / O SHEA CAN U SEE (#8)
There's a lot going on in this race, so I think it will be important to pay attention to the tote board, noting which horses are offering significant value. One horse around whom I want to tread lightly is Sea Foam. On the surface of things, he looks like a deserving favorite, having run fast races in his two dirt starts, and possessing a pedigree that suggests turf might be his preferred surface. However, I think it's often a mistake to bet horses like this switching surfaces off strong dirt form, since they tend to be underlays. I'm more interested in some of the unproven options. First-time starter Dr. Baskin is half-brother to turf stakes performer Hothersal. O Shea Can U See is a half-brother to a turf winner and goes out for a trainer who has great numbers going turf to dirt with second-time starters. Over the past five years, he is 8 for 25 (32 percent, $2.65 ROI) with that move. I’ll use him, but my top selection is Royal Power. This horse hasn't done much running in his two starts, but he's bred to take a significant step forward on the turf. He's by Orb, who is proving to be a capable grass sire, and is out of a dam that won four times on the turf, including a stakes overseas.
Exacta Key Box: 1,8 with 1,6,8,9,11,12
RACE 7: GRAND SKY (#6)
I’m generally not one to settle on short prices in seemingly wide-open races, but Grand Sky just looks like the right horse here, even as he’s stepping up in class. Horses don’t win 5 1/2 furlong turf sprints by nearly 3 lengths unless they’re dominating their competition, and that’s exactly what Grand Sky did up at Saratoga. He showed newfound early speed with the addition of blinkers, and still came with that effective late run on both occasions. Furthermore, the runner-up in his last effort returned to win at the same level, increasing his TimeformUS Speed Figure significantly. Jason Servis is the best in the business with turf sprinters, and he knows how to keep them in form. Over the past five years, he is 26 for 75 (35 percent, $2.71 ROI) with horses coming off wins in turf sprints.
Exacta Key Box: 6 with 1,3,5,11
Trifecta: 6 with 1,5,11 with 1,2,3,5,11
by TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona
Race 1: 1 - 5 - 8 - 6
Race 2: 5 - 3 - 4 - 7
Race 3: 2 - 4 - 5 - 3
Race 4: 6 - 12 - 9 - 4
Race 5: 4 - 9 - 7 - 3
Race 6: 3 - 2 - 6 - 1
Race 7: 1 - 5 - 11 - 8
Race 8: 4 - 6 - 2 - 3
Race 9: 10 - 6 - 2 - 1
RACE 2: GLOBAL POSITIONING (#5)
The morning-line favorite is Pedro Cerrano, who makes his first start for David Jacobson. It appears that this horse must have been a private purchase after his last start, since the claim put in on him before his last race at Del Mar was voided by the vet. He's run some competitive speed figures and may be able to compete at this level, but I prefer another. Global Positioning seems like the kind of runner that might be able to really turn his form around off the claim. Rudy Rodriguez gets a 100 Trainer Rating with his new claiming acquisitions, and this barn switch could be especially significant for this horse. With the lone exception of one race for Jeremiah Englehart – which he won – this horse has been in stables that don't win at a particularly high rate for the past year or so. Now he gets into a spot where the Pace Projector is predicting that he could be one of the controlling speeds, and I think he can get back to the winner's circle.
Exacta Key Box: 5 with 3,4,7
RACE 4: THE TWO NANCY’S (#6) / SKYLER’S LIL CUTIE (#12)
Youth Gone Wild is the tepid morning-line favorite off the strength of her third-place finish at this level last month. That may have been a slightly tougher field than the one she's meeting here, so I get that she's a contender. However, she's not terribly consistent and her overall body of work doesn't inspire confidence. Given the overall lack of pace in this race, the horse that scares me most is The Two Nancy's. I know she's a bit of a quitter, but this six-furlong distance should be more to her liking than the seven furlongs she was asked to handle last time. The pace of that race was fast (indicated by red color-coding in the PPs) and she had a right to get tired late. She’s my top pick, but I also want to try a new face here. Skyler's Lil Cutie doesn't have overwhelming turf pedigree, but she is a half-sister to multiple turf winner Cloud Control. She did take a small step forward last time in her first start for Michelle Nevin, and subsequent improvement with this surface switch could make her a player at a price.
Exacta Key Box: 6,12 with 1,4,6,9,10,12
RACE 7: FOR GREATER GLORY (#1)
This might be the most confusing race on the entire card. At first glance, this race looks similar to the $25,000 claimer that was run Sept. 20, but I'm expecting a different result this time. Likely favorite Altar Boy won that day in an impressive effort, but he was claimed out of the race – away from top turf trainer Mike Maker – and transferred to Gregory DiPrima, who gets just a 45 Trainer Rating first off the claim. Lewis Vale tried to take the field wire to wire last time, but he figures to face mroe pace pressure today and I don't trust him to replicate the effort. Instead, I prefer runners coming out of the race won by Abiding Star. Souperfast put in an even effort to be third after chasing the pace, but I'm most interested in For Greater Glory, who was compromised by a moderate pace that held together. Furthermore, I really think a mile was too short for him and he's going to appreciate stretching out to this nine-furlong distance. Even though he's never won on turf, he's run some competitive races on this surface, and he figures to get more pace to close into this time.
Exacta Key Box: 1 with 4,5,6,8,11
RACE 8: FIRE AWAY (#4)
The Chad Brown duo of Tombelaine and A Lot figure to take the majority of the play here, but I have some minor issues with both. Tombelaine is obviously pretty talented, but he's really at his best going seven furlongs and I think anything past this distance is stretching him. He may be able to win going a mile here because he's just that good, but I'm skeptical at a short price. I have similar distance concerns about A Lot, especially as he returns from this 11-month layoff. This runner has obviously had some setbacks that have kept him away from the races for this long, and I don't have full confidence that he can get back to the form that carried him to victory in last year's Elusive Quality. Given these reservations with the favorites, I want to take a shot with Fire Away. I had always thought of this horse as one that wants to go longer distances, but recent evidence suggests that the opposite may actually be true. He's run his best races this year at 1 1/16 miles, finishing second in May before closing to be a strong fourth in the Lure Stakes behind Zennor at Saratoga. His two most recent efforts have been dull, but I think he's really going to appreciate this turnback. There appears to be an ample amount of speed in this race for him to close into.
Exacta Key Box: 4 with 2,3,6
Trifecta: 4 with 2,6 with ALL
by TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona
Race 1: 5 - 2 - 7 - 6
Race 2: 8 - 7 - 6 - 4
Race 3: 1 - 9 - 4 - 8
Race 4: 9 - 6 - 4 - 2
Race 5: 2 - 8 - 12 - 9
Race 6: 12 - 4 - 9 - 11
Race 7: 2 - 1 - 8 - 5
Race 8: 2 - 9 - 1 - 5
Race 9: 6 - 5 - 9 - 2
RACE 4: GOLDEN SEAL (#9)
This race is frustrating in the sense that some of the key players are stuck on the also-eligible list. Rockin Jo and Now a Factor both ran quite well in a reasonably fast maiden race last time out and would be major factors in this spot. However, they will only draw into the body of the field if there are a few scratches. Even if they get into the race, my top pick is the first-time turfer Golden Seal. Brad Cox has awesome numbers in a variety of situations, and he gets a 100 Trainer Rating with horses switching to grass for the first time. This colt actually did some running in his debut, closing mildly late in a decent Saratoga maiden race. He's certainly bred to move up with this surface switch since he's a half-brother to four turf winners, including multiple stakes-placed runner Ack Naughty.
Exacta Key Box: 9 with 2,4,6
RACE 6: THENAMEESCAPESME (#12) / O CAPTAINMYCAPTAIN (#4)
Alexander David was installed as the morning-line favorite, but this is not the kind of runner I want to bet at a short price. He hasn't made a start since January, when he was trained by Lisa Lewis, and I'm not even sure that the races he was running at Gulfstream make him all that formidable here. He's one whom you have to use, but I think there are more attractive options at better prices. One runner worth including is O Captainmycaptain, who turns back in distance after getting rank and running off in the early stages of his last race at Saratoga. The pace of that race was extremely fast, and he actually hung on reasonably well considering the circumstances. Prior to that, he had been overmatched against open company, and he's just finally landing in a more realistic spot. I'll use him, but at a similarly large price, my top pick is Tom Albertrani's other runner, Thenameescapesme. Albertrani rarely has his first-time starters ready to fire, so I expect this horse to improve on his start two back, which was the last time he competed at a sprint distance. He probably doesn't want to go two turns, but I thought he ran reasonably well last time at Saratoga despite breaking from the outside post and getting hung wide around both turns. I believe we haven't yet seen the best of this one.
Exacta Key Box: 4,12 with 4,8,9,10,11,12
RACE 7: CLEVER ROYAL (#2)
The horse to beat in this spot is clearly Touchofstarquality, whose top races would make him awfully tough for this group to handle. The only question he has to answer is whether or not he can rebound from his uncharacteristically dull effort in the State Dinner back in July. Obviously, he's one you have to use. I'm less sure what to do with Economic Model as he attempts to rebound from a poor performance at Saratoga. The main track was favoring inside runners that day, and he was wide for his entire trip. That said, so was his stablemate Threefiveindia, and he was no match for that foe in an uncharacteristically dull performance. I've never been this runner's biggest fan, and I think he's going to get overbet here. The Pace Projector is predicting a situation that favors runners on or near the lead since there really isn't much early speed signed on. Ocean Knight figures to lead the way early, but I'm concerned that he might not be good enough to win. Instead, I'm taking a shot with Clever Royal. This horse was claimed out of his last race at Del Mar in July and now makes his first start for the Robertino Diodoro barn. He gets a 93 Trainer Rating first off the claim, and I like that they're showing the confidence to move him up in class. When last seen, this horse was in the best form of his career, finishing just behind seasoned graded stakes performers Collected, Accelerate, and Danzing Candy in his last two starts at this distance. He has the ability to sit closer to the pace, and he figures to be a square price.
Exacta Key Box: 2 with 1,5,8
Trifecta: 2 with 1,5,8 with 1,4,5,7,8
RACE 8: WEEKEND EXPRESS (#2)
Snap Decision is the clear-cut favorite on the morning line, and he's certainly one of the top contenders as he drops out of stakes company. His race in the Hall of Fame two back was fine, and all of the runners who finished ahead of him that day would be formidable in this spot. However, I was somewhat disappointed with his last effort. He got plenty of pace to close into, and he was supposed to be able to beat those horses with that setup. There are some seasoned older runners in this spot who won't exactly be pushovers for the less-experienced 3-year-old. The one who interests me most is Weekend Express. He didn't get the right setup two back when defeated by a top-class field that included next-out Knickerbocker winner Blacktype. Last time at Parx, he got a terrible trip, as he made a four- to five-wide run around the far turn as the winner saved ground. He's capable of running well enough to win at this level when he's on his game.
Exacta Key Box: 2 with 1,5,6,9
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