Enlightened Trails update: Evangeline Downs

Evangeline Downs is the next track on set for my mythical Enlightened Trails.  First of 2 races are for the colts. it’s the Evangeline Downs for colts/gelding, a 60k event at 6 furlongs.  Top 3 are Whoajoey, Envoyer and US Officer. Whoajoey and Thegreatcollection are overlays.
Whoajoey won his maiden debut here on 5/20, then was 7th in a statesbred (LA) stakes event, 4th in another. Track speed of 79 in his debut is best of these. Turn time of 23, with .8 second gain, is outstanding here.
Envoyer has 25 points from his Prairie Gold Juvenile 3rd place finish.
In the Evangeline Downs Princess, this race is for top 2YO fillies, 60k, 6 furlongs. Top 3: Para Vivir,  Madelyn’s Tune, and Madame Begue.
The latter 2 are overlays.
Para Vivir should surprise at minimal value. 5th vs 50k maidens in her debut, then won vs fillies same level on 6/30, 5 furlongs, 73 Brisnet.  Bounced down again to 49, finishing 5th in the Prairie Gold Lassie. Only filly to win while moving up in class…and she does not have Bute this time around.
In terms of EOT points, Country Candy has 50 points for being 2nd in the Prairie Gold Lassie.

Analyzing the Travers Day card…

Lots to get to with Travers Day in focus. I’ll list my top 3 for each race on the card, along with overlays.  I will update this post upon scratches and changes, which should be around 7am. Overlays stated below were decided based on original morning line.  Revised overlays will be tracked and communicated on Twitter at @idealisticstats
Race 1 is for 2YO maidens at the 93k level, going 6 furlongs. Top 3 are Reckling, Factor of War, and Your Secret’s Safe.
Reckling was 2nd in her debut here vs 83k maidens, with best distance and track speed figure of this field, an 83. I like how she gained some on the leader between the first 2 call points.
Race 2 is for 93k maidens also (3YO+), 9 furlongs on the turf, 93k purse also. Top 3 are the favored Sport, then Nseventeen, then Brianbakescookies.  Sport as a deep closer hasn’t yet reached top 3 at most call points in 4 races. All have been turf routes. Best distance speed rating with a 67, in his proper debut. Followed up with scores of 84 to 90 since, a strong pattern. Improved slightly at 2nd call last time out, first race following a 7 week layoff. Also gained 1.5 lengths on leader at 2nd call.
Race 3 is an optional claiming event, 62.5k, non winners of 3, 6.5 furlongs. Top 3: Jimbo Fallon, Tiz Shea D, and Cerro (no longer coupled entry).
 Race 4: Back to the turf, 8.5 furlongs for fillies/mares 3YO+, nonwinners of 2, 95k.   Top 3 are Mighty Souper, Wedding Dress and Stella Rose.
Mighty Souper’s 93 speed rating 3 races ago is best for track and distance. Best pace numbers of the field in general, and a pattern of low 90’s scores. Improved on leader last time out by 4.5 lengths, and gained 19 points between last 2 races.
Race 5: is an optional claimer for 3YO+, 11 furlongs on the inner turf, 25k, non winners of 2. Top 3 are the favored Revved Up, then Havana Moon, then Bingo Kitten.
Revved Up broke maiden status last time, following an 8 week layoff. 7 weeks later and 4 great local works, here he is again, ready to score.
Race 6 is the Grade 1, 750k Personal Ensign, 9 furlong race for fillies/mares 3YO +.  Top 3 in this field of 5 are Forever Unbridled, I’m A Chatterbox, and Cavorting.  Likely to be the chalkiest of races today.  Forever Unbridled won the Apple Blossom, the Houston Ladies Classic and the Comely as far as Graded races go. Daughter of Unbridled and Lemons Forever, herself sired by Lemon Drop Kid. 103 score is best for distance of these (last year’s Comely). Good pattern of speed figures around 100.  Best workouts of the field here too.
Race 7 is the Grade 1 Ballerina Stakes for fillies/mares 3YO+, 500k purse, 7 furlongs.  Top 3: Birdatthewire, Spelling Again, and By The Moon. Top 2 are also my two overlays.
A competitive record but no wins since the La Brea last December, Birdatthewire comes out of a sloppy route in the Molly Pitcher. Generally running in the 90s, strong pattern compared to others. Dale Romans has her for 4th race since reclaim, and removes blinkers.
Race 8 is the King’s Bishop Stakes, Grade 1, 500k  for top 3YOs, at 7 furlongs. Top 3: Tom’s Ready, Fish Trappe Road, and Mind Your Biscuits.   Value galore in this one.
Tom’s Ready very competitive in his career, comes out a win in the Woody Stephens, plus an 11 week layoff. Track bias is being kind to early-pressers (39% winners) and outside posts.   Turn time of 22.6 between last 2 races, a 1.6 gain.
Race 9 is the Grade 1 Forego Stakes, for 3YO+, going 7 furlongs, 700k purse.   Top 3 are The Truth Or Else, Ready for Rye, and AP Indian.
 The Truth Or Else might be 30-1 but I like him. One of 2 horses to have recent small top over last year’s best. 2 races back he scored a 102 at 6 muddy furlongs at Belmont. Only deep closer in the field. Turn time of 21.8 plus downturn in speed figure last out in the Tale of The Cat Stakes reveals he’s got more in the tank today.
Race 10 is the Sword Dancer Stakes for 3YO+, 12 furlongs on the inner turf, for $1 million.  Top 3 are Twilight Eclipse, Inordinate and the heavily favored Flintshire.
Twilight Eclipse as a 7YO has 8 lifetime wins, most recently a 90k allowance race at Belmont on 7/8.  Best current pace numbers of the field, with pace pattern around 100.  Made contact with the gate last time out in the Bowling Green on 7/30, yet still posted a sharp 101 score for 11 furlongs.   Only early closer in the field.
Next is the marquee race, the Travers Stakes, for top 3YO going 10 furlongs, and for a 1.25 million purse.  Top 3 horses are My Man Sam, Governor Malibu and Destin.
My Man Sam won his 2nd maiden race (first at route), then 2nd in an 80k optional claimer, 2nd in the Blue Grass, 11th in the KY Derby, and 2nd in an 85k allowance here on 7/23.  Gained 1 length on leader by 2nd call last time, and increased speed figure by 3 points, his first race since the Run for The Roses.
12th Race is the Ballston Spa, Grade 2, 8.5 furlongs on the turf for fillies/mares 3YO+, 400k purse. Top 3 are Strike Charmer, Excilly, and Sentiero Italia. Top 2 are overlays.
Strike Charmer is a 6YO with 5 wins in 20. Last win was the Beaugay at Belmont on 5/14.  That race produced a 100 Brisnet, best for the distance of this field. Seems to have the best pace numbers, running with a pattern in the high 90s. Last time out here in the Diana, she posted a 99 while running 3 wide late.
Finally the 13th race, an 85k allowance for 3YO+, statebred nonwinners of 2, 8.5 furlongs on the inner turf.   Top 3 are Kerjillion, Lucky Town and Space Oddity.
Kerjillion is strongly favored. 4 for 4 in the money, racing vs statebred only. 87 speed figure in 2014 is still best for track, distance and surface. 80 last time out 3 weeks ago. had some traffic trouble tho still finished 3rd. Slight gain in speed figure last time out plus 2 length gain on winner by 2nd call.
An exciting day of racing for sure, with the King’s Bishop and the Travers promising to deliver the most value.  The all-Graded Pick 4, with a guaranteed $1 million payout, yours at .50 per combo, looks most inviting.

Stakes/Race analysis (multiple tracks)

Today I cover for you 8 stakes races, the only Graded stakes races in the country,
First we go to Del Mar for 3 of them:
The Del Mar Oaks is 9 furlongs on the turf course for leading 3YO fillies.  My top 3 here are Cheekaboo, Lynne’s Legacy and Decked Out.
Cheekaboo is 8 of 9 in the money lifetime, with a win in the Honeymoon Stakes at Santa Anita 2 races, and the Campanile at Golden Gate in May.  Shares in best distance and turf speed figure (Honeymoon was 98, her best lifetime effort). Bounced to a 90 in the Sandy Blue last time out at Del Mar on 7/17. Had some traffic trouble early in that race; I feel she can bounce back from that figure and have a better run here.  Best works of the field too, with 3 fast local ones.
Overlay pick: Lynne’s Legacy 6 of 9 in the money, took 8 tries to break maiden, did so 2 races back at Santa Anita on 5/29, going at today’s distance. Followed up with a 65k allowance race win on 7/21.  Forged new top in that race, tho leaves her as a bounce risk. Also ran much better at 2nd call than in previous.

Next is the Del Mar Handicap, 9.5 furlongs on the turf course for 3YOs+.  My top 3 are Ashleyluvssugar, Flamboyant and Metaboss…which are also the top 3 per morning-line as well. Can’t expect this race to be all profitable.
Ashleyluvssugar has 6 wins in 15 races, including the Charlie Wittingham and the San Luis Rey.  Best speed figure for distance (103 in last year’s United Nations) and turf (108 in last year’s San Luis Rey). 97 last time out in the Eddie Read, finishing with a 4-wide move.  Solid high 90s numbers last 3 races.

No overlays in this race, which seems wise to avoid.

Next is the TVG Pacific Classic as Del Mar welcomes back champion horse and home-bred California Chrome.   Top 3 are Dortmund, Hoppertunity and Imperative.

Media is really focusing on Beholder vs Chrome, but I have Dortmund as that other favorite to prevail.  8 wins in 11 races, 2nd start of 2016, winner of the Los Alamitos Futurity, RB Lewis, San Felipe, Santa Anita Derby, the Big Bear, and the Native Diver 2 races back here on 11/28. Forged and set up new speed figure record of 108. Made the most of a game effort last out in the San Diego as he drifted in the stretch, losing to Chrome in the San DIego.  Turn time looks good compared to others.  Pattern of triple digits in last 3 races.
Overlays:  Win The Space hasn’t won yet in Graded company but his race pace numbers should cause serious looks.  103 lifetime best in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita, then 2nd here in the San Diego. Possibility of bounce from that number.  Turn time gain plus lower speed figure suggests he has more coming.
Imperative has poor 14 of 32 races in the money record, and no wins in the last 18 months.  I like that he gained 2.25 lengths on the leader last time out in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita, and also has the best works of the field, 6 works here, 2 bullets.
Now I shift to Monmouth for the Monmouth Oaks, Grade 3 100k event at 8.5 furlongs for top 3YO fillies.  Top 3 are pretty much the morning-line selections: Unbridled Mo, Mo d’Amour and Tejana.
Unbridled Mo broke maiden in 2nd start here on 5/29 (36k level), then won an 20k optional claimer race at same distance of 1 mile and 70 yards.  Waiting since early July to stretch out. Top AWD numbers in the field (sire Uncle Mo, dam Unbridled Waters, out of Unbridled).  Forged and matched lifetime best of 86 in both wins.  4 works at Monmouth since last, 3 of the 4 very fast.
Overlay: In a race with favorites up front, there’s a small chance that Hi Holiday might be overlooked. Best pace form of the field, setting small new top of 85 last time out in a 30k optional claimer on 7/23.
UPDATE: Hi Holiday a scratch, so no overlay in this race now, no change in the order. 
Up we go north of the 48 to Northlands and the Grade 3 Canadian Derby.  This race is for top 3YOs, 150k, 9.5 furlongs.  My top 3 are Hold That Giant, Access This, and Ruck.
Hold That Giant is one of 2 overlays I see here and a longshot pick for me.  Winner of the Edmonton Juvenile in 2nd start.  2016 campaign sees a positive change in speed figures, all in the 80s.   Might be fastest of these horses by run style if any of the also-eligibles don’t run.  Trainer Tim Rycroft (21 % winners here) has done the most of any trainer for his horse (class, distance change). Waiting since 7/16 to stretch from 8.5 furlongs.  Impresses with 1 second turn time gain between last 2 races. 2 bullet works since last race.
The other overlay here may be The Accuser. Set small new tops of 74, then 79, then big gain to 86 last time out in a 50k ungraded stakes event here 7/16. 3 works since then, all at NP, 1 very fast.
UPDATE: Scratches to two of the also-eligibles change my order a bit: Hold That Giant, Ruck, Access This my solid top 3, with an upset looming. 

Next is the Spa, and the Fourstardave Handicap, a race rescheduled from last week.

My top 3 here are Grand Arch, Tourist and Ring Weekend. I’m reversing my top 2 in so doing, going with a value horse over 2 favorites.
Grand Arch has an impressive 21 of 26 in the money, with wins in last year’s version of this race as well as the Shadwell. Drops 6 lbs for this race. Won the last 2 times he’s dropped significant pounds. First race after reclaim by Bryan Lynch. Best workouts of the field, with 6 in all, 2 very fast.
King Kressa remains the overlay of the field.  108 Brisnet is lifetime best as well as best for the Spa, the distance and turf course.  Moved from 93 to 100 last time out wining the Forbidden Apple at Belmont, hanging on to win by a nose.
UPDATE: With scratches to 3 horses, my new top 3 are Tourist, then Grand Arch (back to my original top two then), and A Lot.   King Kressa still an overlay.   Tourist is an early-presser type, whose style has won 5 of 10 races during the meet at the mile, and 11% for the range of posts starting from the 4th out. Fastest overall speed figures and rather consistent ones too 
Also at the Spa is the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes, 10 furlongs for top 3YOs, 600k.  Songbird is the big lone favorite, and I’m taking a firm stand against her. My top 3 are Go Maggie Go, Going For Broke, and Weep No More. It’s a logical 3 that might not be much value but plenty for sure between them.
Go Maggie Go comes off layoff for the first time…don’t expect any rust here; after all, she did win her first career start….then wins in the Gulfstream Park Oaks and the Black Eyed Susans. Ships from Belmont, following layoff and a 4th place finish in the Acorn. Best works in the field, 4 in all, 3 at Saratoga, 1 bullet. Turn time is easily the best of the field.
Overlays: Weep No More bounced to 87 last time out in the Coaching Club American Oaks here in July. Only deep closer threat in the field, generally on a somewhat quickening pace as the race takes shape. Did gain a bit on the leader and winner Songbird last out by the 2nd call. It was also her first race since layoff, and she improved slightly at the 2nd call as measured by speed figure.
Flora Dora recovers in pace, with a 93 last time out in the CCAO, setting slight new top in the process. Took a 3-wide path while finishing a distant 3rd. The recovery angle suggests she can improve even more from the 93. Just after layoff to start her 3YO campaign, she had an 88 but did not improve on that since then.
Finally we go back north to Woodbine and the Play the King Stakes, a Grade 2 event for 3YOs+ going 7 furlongs on the turf.  My top 3 are Tower of Texas, a longshot play, over 2 pre-favorites, Ami’s Flatter and Green Mask.
Tower Of Texas, in fact is my lone overlay.
13 of 17 in the money, with his last win in the King Edward Stakes (grade 2) here in June 2015. Was nosed out of a win in last year’s version of the Play The King.  99 speed figure is best for the distance and Woodbine of this field. 21.8 turn time from his last 2 races and .6 second gain is the best mark of the field.
UPDATE: Green Mask a morning scratch. I’m inserting Dimension as 3rd choice in a race with a fair amount of value attached. 

New closed Facebook group

As much as I like my presence on this page, I feel that the experience should be more interactive, and it’s not very interactive at all.  Therefore, since many I know are on Facebook, I’ve built a closed Facebook page for those fans. I will repost here my social interactions from here plus some exclusive updates involving predictions and quick insight.
Here’s the page.   If you want to join, please email me or send PM in Facebook or Twitter.  Thanks!

Stakes analysis, picks (Arlington Park, Albuquerque, Saratoga)

Today I cover 7 races for you, 5 consecutive at Arlington Park, 1 at Arapahoe Park, and 1 at Albuquerque for the Enlightened Trails.   Not much time before they race at AP, so I’ll post just my top 3 and detailed analysis of my top pick only, and any possible overlays based on morning-line.
At AP first, race 5 is the BRUCE D MEMORIAL, 75k for 3YOs going 1 mile on the all-weather track.  Top 3 are Yo Carm, Runningfromthefeds, and Michael J.   No favorites in the top 3 so I’d key it for playing against favorites.
Yo Carm is 9-2-2-0 lifetime, returning to his home track yet has never run on the AW track here. Winner of an optional claimer in January, he’s failed to place in Graded events. Best mile speed figure for the field, achieved in that OC race. Only horse to win fresh off layoff. Slight bounce risk as he gained 9 points in last race on 6/18. Best workouts of the field, with 5 at AP, 2 very fast.
Overlays: Yo Carm.

Next at AP is the 1-11/16 mile American St. Leger, which I supposed is patterned distance-wise against its comparable race in the UK. Indeed there’s quite the European presence here. This is run on the turf course, a G3 event for 300k, 3YO+. Top 3 are Da Big Hoss, Montclaire and Tobias.
Da Big Hoss is actually the big favorite here with no real competition. 10 wins in 19 lifetime including the KY Turf Cup, the JB Conley, the Elkhorn and the Belmont Gold Cup at the Graded level. Last time out he scored a mighty 106 in the latter race, best turf speed of the field. Unquestionably he is the speed horse. I also like his works, 7 in all, with 2 bullets. Only horse with prior win while moving up in class in the field.
Overlays: My 2nd choice, Montclair is best of the rest for value. After racing at the top level in France, he’s raced rather competitively in the US, with an optional claimer win at Gulfstream, and a 2nd place finish in an ungraded stakes event last summer at Delaware. He and Da Big Hoss have best turn times of the field, and I like his progression against the leader last time out, prior to reclaim.

The SECRETARIAT STAKES is a Grade 1 event for 3YOs going 10 furlongs on the AP turf course, for 400k.   Top 3 are longshot Cordon, Surgical Strike and Beach Patrol.
Cordon with a win and 2nd lifetime in 2 starts, winning at the 32k maiden level here at 9 furlongs on turf. He won that race after 4 months away, and improved by 10 points at the 2nd call, 9 overall. 2 works since here, 1 a bullet.   He is the lone overlay of the field, in a race where I can remove the favorites out of the top 2.

The BEVERLY D Stakes is for fillies and mares 3YO+ going 1-3/16 miles on the turf. This is a 700k race at the Grade 1 level. Top 3 are Al’s Gal, Fauflier and Coolmore.  Another race with no favorites, and absolutely ripe for value.
Al’s Gal is 23-6-7-3 lifetime, winning the Keertana at Churchill 2 races back in late May. Prior to that she scored matching triple-figure Brisnet speed figures, running 2nd in the Bewitch at Keeneland. This mare does her fastest running on the backstretch and seems to have the best speed figures if measured that way.  Bumped against the eventual winner last time out in the Modesty here in July while still running a 92 score.

Overlays: Al’s Gold plus these:
Lots o’Lex has 5 wins in 14 lifetime tho no stakes wins yet. She hasn’t raced since October at Hawthorne, and is stretching out from 8.5 furlongs. Best works of the field, with 3 bullets in the 10 month layoff.

Personal Diary has had mixed blessings in her runs. She ran very close to the lead last time out in the Ellis Park Turf on July 9 with a slight gain on leader midway through the race. I’m banking on the idea that she can improve further.

Zipessa, my 2nd choice overall has 4 wins in 7, including the Grade 3 Dr James Penny Memorial at Parx last time out.  That race was actually a downtick in her speed figure to 89. Best turn time gain of the field.

The Arlington Million is the featured event, 1 million dollars at stake for 3YO+, a 10 furlong distance on the AP turf course.  Top 3 are Dubai Sky, Pumpkin Rumble and The Pizza Man, last year’s winner of this event.
This race is another where there will likely be no real value in the top 3 and is one to shell out more dollars.
Dubai Sky is 6-4-1-1, with wins in the Kitten’s Joy at Gulfstream last year and also the Spiral Stakes (Grade 3). The big difference for me is turn time, where he’s the only horse to gain out of the field and also doing so while lowering his speed figure (down from 103 to 93). William Mott is 10-3-1-2 for the meet and has done a good job with this horse. Gaining 4 lbs for this race, a move which gave Dubai Sky the Spiral win, plus a switch back to his jockey for that win, Jose Lezcano. Not to mention, but I will mention, his works are best of the field, with 5 at Churchill in prep, last 2 were breezing and very fast for 4 furlongs.
I also like these as overlays: Pumpkin Rumble is 19-4-3-4, whose last stakes win came last summer at Canterbury. Only horse in the field with improving pace form: Small new top to 96 running 3rd in the Stars and Stripes here on 7/9. He made a late wide move to stay in the money in that race, and I really think he fired too late. He’s also the only horse racing under reclaim (4th race under Gary Scherer).

As for The Pizza Man, since last year’s Million, this 16-time winner was 5th in the Breeders Cup Turf, won a Grade 2 event at Del Mar, then 5th in the Gulfstream Park Turf, 4th in the Wise Dan, then 4th in the Stars and Stripes. Best lifetime turf score of 111, plus best track speed of 103. He’s 10 of 14 at AP.
Shifting gears a bit as we go to Albuquerque Downs for the next race in my Enlightened Derby Trail series. The big race is the 50k Manzano for leading 2YOs, going 6 furlongs . Top 3 are General Council, Ranger Rod and Stem The Tide, removing the favorites from the top 2 here.
General Council won here at this distance last month against 15k maidens, taking the lead at the top of the stretch.  His 61 figure is best for the distance of the field, and is the only horse who does his best running on the backstretch. Turn time of 22.4 also leads here. He is the lone overlay of the field.
Last up for today is the Fourstardave Handicap, a Grade 1 event at Saratoga, 1 mile on the inner turf course, for 500k.  Top 3 are Tourist, Grand Arch and Blacktype.
Tourist is 15-4-3-3, with his last wins coming in the More Than Ready at Kentucky Downs last year, and the Sir Cat on this track. Best overall pace of the field, running with a high 90s pattern. 3-wide trip last time out running 2nd in the Shoemaker Mile, at Santa Anita in June.
Overlays: King Kreesa won the Forbidden Apple at Belmont last time with big gain in speed figure to 100. Owns the best figures for distance and the Spa along with turf. Could bounce from the 100 number. I project him to be fastest along the backstretch where he does his best running.

A fine day of wagering should be had at Arlington, especially with the Beverly D and the Million.

Later today I’ll give my thoughts on the Longacres Mile at Emerald.