Lots happening Saturday with major stakes races involving the Derby and Oaks Trails as well as my own versions of the Trails. The third pool of the Derby Future Wager is also in focus, plus the lone Oaks future pool.
But first, analysis of 8 Laurel Park races for Saturday as part of The Racing Biz’s semi-monthly free handicapping contest. One selection per race, win and place cashes only.
Laurel Park race 2: 6 furlongs, 21k purse, 11k claimers for 4YO+. Top 3 are 1-4-3…Phil’s Cocktail, Sam Sparkle, and Hey Willie. No overlay in this race.
Race 3: 25k maidens, 3YO fillies, 1 mile. Top 3 are 5-1-4: Be Humble, Rein Supreme (overlay), and Pictura.
Rein Supreme is a sprinter who has great 1st call numbers, showing strong tactical speed. Despite this, he’s never led at any call in his 3 lifetime races. He is, however, running his 1st race under reclaim by Ferris Allen. Sprinters at a mile during the meet are winning 34% of the time. Rail horses are winning 21%.
Race 4: 5.5 furlongs, 6.5k claimers for fillies/mares 4YO+, non winnners in the last 6 months. Top 3 are Fly and Flutter, Our Gabrielle, Greely’s Striker. I didn’t have ready past performances for this race, so I relied on the combined win% of jockey and trainer. Capuano has 31% as trainer.
Race 5: 1 mile for 3YOs, 25k claimers. Top 3: 7-9-5….Wonder How (overlay) ahead of 2 favorites in Bannon and Oldfashioned Club.
Wonder How scored 2 new small top in his last 2 races, both of him were his first route races. Both races were outside trips, 75 BRIS last time out. One fast work here at Laurel since then, 5 furlongs at 1:01:2, 4th fastest of the day.
Other overlays in this wide open race: Edify, running 2nd start after claim. Following a 7 week layoff upon claim and maiden win, he improved in both 1st and 2nd call in a 50k optional-claimer, a muddy track at that.
Raphael’s Promise with best AWD numbers in the field (Include/Code Name Cassie, out of Partner’s Hero). Pace surged to 75, then 73, then 72 in last 3 races. Gained 3 lengths on leader at 2nd call last out.
Port Louis won his maiden debut with a 70 BRIS, then switched to a route at 50k claim level, dropped to 52, then went back to a sprint at the 25k claim level on a sloppy Laurel Park track, finishing 4th with a 69 score. Only late closer in the field.
Race 6: 42k purse, non-winners of 2 races. 8.5 furlong race for 4YO+. Top 3 are 2-3-6….Brighton Lane, Royal Hussar, Dreamliner (overlay)…. Dreamliner ran his lifetime best of 78 3 races back, his debut at 4. Reclaimed by Jennifer Shannon, he would finally break maiden after 10 races, then ran 4th in a 42k allowance race. Gets 7-pound allowance, running at 113 lbs.
Race 7: 16k claimers, 4YO+, non-winners of 3 races; 6 furlongs. No past performances to draw from this, either. Top 3 are Worth His Salt (8-1), Far From Aweome (9-2), Off Road (8-1). Albeit a small sample of races, Vargas has 3 wins in 5, and Ness 2 wins in 5 in this meet.
Race 8: Optional-claimers, 7 furlongs, 16k purse, 4YO+. Top 3 are Hurricane Bear (overlay), Chargin Storm and My Train.
Hurricane Bear with last 4 races 82 to 87 BRIS. Adds blinkers for the first time.
Race 9 pits 16k maiden claimers running 6 furlongs, fillies/mares 3YO+. Top 3: 8-4-5….Presenter (overlay), Soft Landing, Fortunate Queen.
Presenter is a first time starter, first time for a tag of course. Best workouts of the field, with 2 fast ones in prep.
The Honeybee Stakes at Oaklawn Park promises to be a great collection of filly talent. 200k, 8.5 furlongs is the distance for this Grade 3 event. My top 3 are Amy’s Challenge, Red Ruby, and Stronger Than Ever.
Stronger Than Ever may prove to the only real price play. Winner of her maiden debut, and a 67k allowance race, fell to 7th in the Grade 2 Golden Rod, then 3rd in the 100k Trapeze, and began her 3YO career with a narrow longshot win in the Silverbulletday. 2 months off should not be an issue, given her win in her first start. She’s definitely the speed here as the deep closer, with all 5 race between 78 and 87 BRIS. In the Silverbulletday she gained 8.5 lengths and 5 places before wearing down Wonder Gadot.
The Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct is 1 mile, Grade 3, 300k purse for top 3YOs. Top 3 for me are Dial Operator (overlay), Firenze Fire, and Beautiful Shot. Looks like a wide open race.
Dial Operator won vs fellow NJ bred horses last July at Monmouth with a 77 BRIS. Followed this up last month here with a 91 vs 50k optional claimers. No rust for him, as he gained 8 points at the 2nd call compared to his debut, and also one length on leaders before closing wide and winning by 4.5.
Cove Blue took 4 tries to win at the maiden level and did so with a 96 BRIS. Then ran 3rd with 91 vs 75k optional claimers. Both of those races were at Gulfstream following a 7 week layoff, a nice start to his 3YO career. Great early tactical speed. 47% of mile races during the meet have been won by sprinters.
The other 2 sprinters bear watching. Old Time Revival broke maiden in his 3rd try with a 90 BRIS. Began his 3YO career 7th in the Frank Whiteley here with a 76, then 2nd in he Miracle Wood , nearly wiring the field first time at a route, with a 94. Had a wide trip in that race; he might have won. Then again, 4 of his 5 races had some trouble.
Nine Route has only run vs NY horses. Won his 2nd maiden race with an 86. Won an optional claimer with a 79. Won the 100k Gander with an 86, small new top.
Tampa Bay Derby is a Grade 2 event, 8.5 furlongs, 400k. Top 3 are 2 overlays in Caloric and Tiz Mischief, and World Of Trouble 3rd.
Caloric was 5th in his 50k maiden race. 2nd race was a win at 25k, 79 BRIS. Won again after layoff and claim, first route race, an 85 score. That race saw a match in 2nd call pace and move to the lead then. Proven to win off layoff, stretchout and claim. Very live longshot.
Tiz Mischief won in 3rd maiden start, then was 2nd in the KY Jockey Club, then 3rd in the Grade 2 Holy Bull while running wide. Alternating runs of 93 and 90 last 4 races.
Also: Arazi Like Move won his debut vs 40k maiden claimers, then was 4th and 2nd in optional claimers at Laurel. 2nd in the Inaugural here with small new top of 86, then bounce to 67 stretching to 7 furlongs in the Pasco. Waiting 7 weeks to stretch out, he runs his first route race, and also gets blinkers for the first time.
Finally, the Grade 2 San Felipe at Santa Anita, for top 3YOs going 8.5 furlongs, for a 400k purse. Top 3 are Bolt d’Oro, longshot/overlay Calexman, and McKinzie.
Calexman with 3 big gains in his races after his maiden debut, peaking at 90 in the El Camino Real Derby (80). Owns 1 shipping win. 69% of races at the distance have been won by sprinters. Blazing 1st call numbers of 112, 84, 95, 93 lifetime.
UPDATE: With the scratch of Calexman…my new top 3 are Bolt d’Oro, McKinzie and overlay Peace. Peace was on blinkers for the first time in the Robert B Lewis Stakes, and is now off them today. 4 fast workouts in prep, one a bullet work.