Picks & Plays for Monday, September 4
by TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona
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Race 1: 8 - 1 - 5 - 2
Race 2: 6 - 14 - 3 - 15
Race 3: 5 - 2 - 6 - 3
Race 4: 7 - 3 - 2 - 5
Race 5: 15 - 14 - 3 - 10
Race 6: 2 - 9 - 4 - 5
Race 7: 2 - 1 - 9 - 6
Race 8: 11 - 1 - 7 - 6
Race 9: 7 - 8 - 6 - 3
Race 10: 1 - 2 - 15 - 3
RACE 3: DRIVING ME CRAZY (#5)
I’m not getting too creative here, but I just think Driving Me Crazy is a very likely winner of this race as the favorite. When Jason Servis gets these cheaper claimers in form, they tend to keep running well. Over the past five years, he is 20 for 47 (43%, $2.48 ROI) with last-out winners running for a tag of $20,000 or less on the dirt. I like that this horse is drawn outside of the other speeds. I’ll primarily use him with No Hiding Place, who is getting some needed class relief. These types of drastic dropdowns are somewhat concerning, but I like that this horse showed some signs of life in his last start, staying in contention until the late stages against a much tougher field. Some may think that this race will come apart and set up for Sir Bond, but I’m skeptical of his current form. His last race is somewhat phony since he was closing up a very good rail.
RACE 6: IMPACT PLAYER (#2)
Engage is likely to go off as your favorite in this race following his solid runner-up finish in his debut last month. That day, he battled through fast fractions before just getting worn down by Hopeful entrant National Flag in the late stages. He clearly deserves respect, but I think there’s at least one other high quality runner in this field. I’m not usually one to pick first-time starters, especially in a race that features an experienced foe like Engage, but I think Impact Player is a colt with a very bright future. He put in a very impressive 9 4/5 second breeze when going a furlong at the OBS sale in April, and sold for $350,000. He’s got a somewhat unusual pedigree, being by City Zip out of a Halo Sunshine mare, but the dam is a half-sister to the undefeated superstar Candy Ride. It’s taken him a little while to get to the races, but he’s certainly been working well during this meet, even outrunning Pletcher’s debut winner Coltandmississippi in a work earlier this August. Other runners to consider here are Wellwest, who has been working with Ralph Nicks’s Sunday debut winner Caledonia Road, and He’s Bankable, a half-brother to graded stakes-winning sprinter Awesome Slew.
RACE 7: TAKEOVER TARGET (#2)
Heart to Heart is the horse to beat, and the one they all have to catch. He’s raced sparingly in 2017, but he’s run well in all of his starts. He nearly held on to win the Grade 1 Makers 46 Mile despite having to rate in the early going, and then he was done in by a fast pace in the Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita last time. Brian Lynch has said that this race is a prep for the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland in the fall, but I’m sure they’d love to pick up a win here regardless. He’s definitely in my play, but I think he could prove vulnerable here. My top pick is Takeover Target, who figures to have benefitted from his return effort in the Lure last time. He got a great trip that day, but just seemed to flatten out late after working his way into the clear in the stretch. He’s worked well since that effort, and there is some rain in the forecast on Sunday. If the turf comes up “good” or worse, he will be very dangerous since he likes a turf course with some give.
RACE 8: B ROCKETT (#11) / FREE N CLEAR (#1)
I could be falling into a trap here, but I just can’t get past the class edge that B Rockett appears to have in this race. I know that she’s not exactly a win machine, but she’s run pretty well against fields that are much tougher than the one she faces today. The recent addition of blinkers seems to have really woken her up, as she’s shown improved tactical speed in her races. If she runs back to either of her last two efforts at Indiana Downs, I don’t think anyone in this race can beat her. That said, they still have to run the race, and she didn’t draw a great post position for this distance. At a bigger price, I have to use longshot Free N Clear as a backup. I know that her 2017 form looks terrible, but she’s had excuse after excuse in her races, culminating in the ridiculous trip she worked out last time when making a premature move. She finally draws a good post position and has back races that make her competitive.
RACE 9: GIVEMEAMINIT (#7)
There is a lot going on in this extremely deep running of the Hopeful. The likely favorite is Mojovation, who was a well-bet debut winner of a maiden race in late July, out of which Bourbon Resolution won his next start. However, he was racing on a strong rail that day and may not have run quite as well as it appears. He’s going to be under the gun from the start, as Oskar Blues, Psychoanalyze, and Sporting Chance all have speed to his outside. Sanford winner Firenze Fire also deserves a look given the strong meet that Jason Servis enjoying, but I like Free Drop Billy out of that race. He’s an improving colt for Dale Romans who is bred to get better with distance and this race may really fit his closing style. I’ll definitely be using him, but my top selection is actually the maiden, Givemeaminit. I know that today’s rival Sporting Chance beat him easily that day, but Givemeaminit was the only horse making a late run in that race and was really running on strongly through the lane after going wide on the turn. He’s bred to get better with distance and Dallas Stewart gets a 100 Trainer Rating when teaming up with Joel Rosario. I think this horse has a bright future and would not be surprised if he springs the upset here.