Preakness Stakes 2017 analysis

The Preakness Stakes post draw took place on Wednesday, with the past performances released soon after. Here’s my capsule look at each horse and their chances.

MULTIPLIER: Following his maiden win in 3rd try, he closed to win the Illinois Derby at Hawthorne on 4/22, with a sharp 104 score. With 3 straight big gains in speed figure, a bounce is bound to come. Despite this, he has the best tactical speed of the field. If this deep closer gets his proper trip, he may well surprise. Fastest turn time last out of the field at 24 seconds.
Odds: 18-1 Possible overlay, compared to morning-line of 30-1
Pace: Needs average to slower than average pace.
Projected to finish 6th on wet track, 4th if fast.

CLOUD COMPUTING: Stretching from 9 furlongs and 7 weeks off since his 3rd place finish in the Wood Memorial. Bounced to 94 from 100. Fastest trip of the field with some trouble (3 wide for a good deal of the race). Only early closer of the race. Best works of the field too: 4 at Belmont, all 4 very fast, 2 bullets.
Odds: 9-1. Possible overlay, compared to morning-line of 12-1.
Pace: Based on one win, he needs a fast pace throughout.
Projected to win.

HENCE disappointed with a bounce from 103 to 80 in the KY Derby. Best AWD numbers of the field (Street Boss/Floating Island, out of AP Indy). He can possibly bounce back from the 80 score. Not one of my contenders.
Pace: This deep closer needs a very fast pace early, slowing down to slightly faster than average late.
If we have a fast track, he’ll be 14-1 for me, possibly an overlay. Wet track, I will remove him from consideration.
Projected to finish 7th.

ALWAYS DREAMING as mentioned in my prior post, had some reason to win, no less than a recent fast turn time and the recovery angle following his post layoff period of races. With the KY Derby, he leads in distance speed for this field. Undoubtedly he’s basically the speed of the field. Should we have a wet track, he becomes a stronger contender.
Odds for wet track: 7-1, worse than the projection of 4/5 as morning-line. He’s one I may play with my top selections and overlays.
Fast track odds: 4-1.
Pace: Slow pace early, very slow late
Projection: 3rd

CLASSIC EMPIRE has 5 wins in 8, a respectable 4th in the KY Derby, with a good 91 score. Lost in the shuffle here as he does not rank at all in my variables.
Pace: Fast early, slightly faster than average later.
Finish: back of the pack.

GUNNEVARA had a tough trip in the Derby, finishing 7th, and a drop to 86. Another horse I have no confidence in.
Pace: Fast early, slows down to slower than average late. Basically this deep closer requires a meltdown in pace.

TERM OF ART comes out of a pair of 92s, finishing 3rd in the San Felipe and 7th in the Santa Anita Derby. A bit concerned he might bounce from his last 3 numbers. Only horse I’m throwing out on pace alone. Adds blinkers for this race. Waiting since 4/8 to stretch.
Odds: 18-1, possible overlay.

SENIOR INVESTMENT won the Lexington last time out at Keeneland 4/15, following a 6th in the LA Derby. Both races he scored a 93 in. Possible bounce risk here. Meanwhile, he has the biggest turn time gain of the field from his last 2 starts, .8 seconds.
Odds: 18-1, possible overlay.
Pace: Average all throughout.
Prediction: 5th on wet track, 4th if dry.

LOOKIN AT LEE nearly stole the KY Derby, and would have scored me a sweet 37-1 payout from Pool 1 of the Future Wager. He remains a wiseguy pick and I’m sure the public will agree. Arkansas Derby was a small new top of 94. He’s still under influence of that score, so it’s a bonus that he scored a bit better in the KY Derby with 97. Best pace pattern of the field.
Odds: Fair, at 9-1.
Pace: Pretty average throughout the race for this deep closer.
Prediction: 2nd.

CONQUEST MO MONEY last ran in the Ark Derby, finishing a close 2nd and with a 95 score, paired with a 99 in the Sunland Derby. Only pure sprinter in the field, and can be dangerous among all the stamina-based horses here.
Odds: 18-1, a fair price here.
Pace: Very fast early, to slightly fast late.
Prediction: 5th on wet track, 6th if fast.

Summary:
Top horses are
Fast track: Cloud Computing, Lookin At Lee, Always Dreaming, Multiplier, Senior Investment, Conquest Mo Money, Hence.
Wet track: Top 3 for fast, then Senior Investment, Conquest Mo Money, Multiplier and Hence.
Overlays: 5 in all, a nice amount for a 10 horse field.

It does seem like a one horse race for Cloud Computing, with Always Dreaming and Lookin At Lee strong solid choices otherwise.

Recap of stakes races and Enlightened Trails, 4/8/17

Catching up now to the big races of the weekend, this after watching my Twinspires account dwindle a bit more. The Grand National was won by #22, over one of my top 5 choices in #14. One of the field horses came in 3rd. I was close this year, but didn’t make it. Initially I thought it was a field selection (horses 24-40) but I reacted too swiftly to the news. I haven’t watched the replay yet; frankly I don’t feel like watching it just yet.

Onto the thoroughbreds! You’ve seen my picks and projected overlays. Now here’s how I would have played and invested in them. If I were home to wager on them, I’d have wagered on them.

BLUE GRASS: My top 3 remained as public favorites. So did my 2 overlay considerations. I used Irap and It’s Your Nickel for wins, and under top 3 for exactas. $10 wagered.
Results: Irap with the big 31-1 upset! I didn’t mention he had best tactical speed for nothin’. Payout: $64.60

ASHLAND: Total chalk for my picks here too, and no overlays to rescue me. Not truly a race I’d play. But if I had to… I’d go with 2-6, 6-3, 3-6 and 6-2 as exacta plays, basically keying #6, Daddys Lil Darling,my top choice, to be the necessary score
Result: 7-6-1-8. Totally ignored Saints Valentine in my handicapping. Sometimes you find longshots, sometimes….

SANTA ANITA OAKS: I felt this was the big race, with value totally planning to surprise the mutuels. I had 1,5,6 for wins, and to play under top 2 favorites 2 and 4
Paradise Woods, 3, shocked me and some folks at 8-1, winning by a dozen lengths. Did not give her any serious consideration.

The latter 3 races I had felt were somewhat logical, with a favorite, a middle price horse and a longshot in my top 3.
SANTA ANITA DERBY: This was the race I would have put $20 on…1,4,5,10 as overlays, with top 2 public choices 2 and 9 over these in exacta. I’d also have played 9 and 2 over #7 with 7 to win also.

Result: Fantastic race, as the result was 8-3-13-2. Gormley definitely factored somewhat, as he had a good turn time and was the only pure sprinter of the field. Swung and missed on this one.

WOOD MEMORIAL: I chose longshot 6 and overlay 5 for wins, and went with 3-6, 2-6, 3-5, 7-5 for exactas. $8 invested. I rooted in my heart for Mo Town, who factors big for me in the Future Wager pools.
Result: 8-3-7-5, a chalky finish. I never gave Irish War Cry much thought to win this one. A race I naturally should have avoided but I saw some value in general.

GAZELLE: I took 4,3 for wins, and played 5-4, 4-3, 5-3 and 8-3 as exactas, $8 invested.
Result: Nailed the exacta. It was close, as Lockdown was tiring in the stretch.
Payout: $15.10 for the $1 exacta

Result from the 6 races: $15 profit.
Later, I will provide thoughts on the Derby Trail, an update to my Enlightened Trails and how my Future Wager bets look in comparison.

2017 Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 4 analysis

I am thoroughly excited about this final pool, tho I won’t have much of a window to do the deed. It will be, as with Pool 3, done on Sunday morning. A number of horses have won the different races, with little majority support to any one horse.   The pool field odds suggest there is no confidence in one or 2 horses…not even the #24 ‘field’ selection.
I used the same variables as with Pool 3, tho have now eliminated the Dosage category, this on the heels of the chef-de-race.com demise.  4 horses proved to be best of these, and I had to break a 3 way tie for 2nd.  The others I will list below, 12th to 4th.
For a summary, here’s how I wagered in the prior pools:

Pool 1:

Win bets on these:
Mo Town 12-1
McCraken 12-1
Lookin At Lee 37-1
Classic Empire 6-1
Hemsworth 80-1
Exactas between Mo Town/McCraken/Hemsworth, plus over/under field selection.
Sire Future Wager:
Bernardini 14-1
Into Mischief 24-1
Kitten’s Joy 47-1
Scat Daddy 42-1
Uncle Mo 9-1
Pool 2:
Wins on:
Guest Suite 31-1
El Areeb 32-1
Sonic Mule 9-1
Gunnevara 24-1
Mastery 9-1
Exactas:
El Areeb/Guest Suite/McCraken box   plus over/under field selections
Pool 3:
Wins:
Mo Town 27-1
Irish War Cry 7-1
Gormley 18-1
Exactas bewteen Classic Empire/Mo Town/McCraken and over/under field selections
Here’s how I rank the best of the rest in Pool 4:
11th: J BOYS ECHO. 4th in the Delta Downs Jackpot, 3rd in the Withers, winner of the 8.5 furlong Grade 3 Gotham with strong 104 score. Could bounce in next race but maybe bounce back in Derby itself.   Raced at CD in his debut last October, 2nd in a 43k maiden race. Next race: 4/8, Blue Grass
10th : GUEST SUITE: Won 2nd maiden race with 85 at 8.5 furlongs. 3rd in the Street Sense at CD, 1st in the Grade 3 LeComte, 4th in the Risen Star. Steady progress in pace numbers his entire career of 6 races. Peaked at 93 for last 2. Won a 75k OC race at CD on 11/26, speed of 90. Amazed that’s 50-1 ML in this wager. Likely to double-dip with him, tho only if he’s worse than 36-1. Next race: 4/1 Louisiana Derby
9th: MALAGACY: 104 and 103 in his debuts, followed by 3rd win, the Grade 2 8.5 furlong Rebel, and a 95 score.  A sneaky price at 30-1, and should take more $, but not too much. Could well become one of my picks.  Next race: 4/15 Arkansas Derby
8th : TAPWRIT  Winner of the 75k Pulpit, 2nd in the Grade 3 SF Davis. Since Pool 3, won the 8.5 furlong Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby with new small top for age 3 at 101. Among the fastest current paces of the 23 horses. Not sure I’ll get all the way down to this selection but probably will take a good deal of $ anyway.  Next race: 4/8 Blue Grass
7th: McCraken, already part of a number of bets, as shown earlier. If he somehow is worse than 17-1, I will do another win bet.  Undefeated in 4 with wins in the Street Sense and the KY Jockey Club, both at CD, plus a win in the SF Davis. Also good AWD numbers (Ghostzapper/Ivory Empress, out of Seeking The Gold). Probably deserves the 6-1 ML number.  Best to use in exactas as I have done already. Next race: 4/8  Blue Grass
6th : PRACTICAL JOKE: Winner of the Grade 1 Hopeful and Champagne Stakes (1 mile), 3rd in the Breeders Cup Juvenile, 2nd in the Fountain Of  Youth. One of 3 Grade 1 winners in this grouping.  Pace lifetime ranges from 90 to 98. Haven’t wagered on him yet, and this might be my best chance to score something.  Next: Unsure
5th: BATTALION RUNNER: Maiden win in 2nd start with 100 score, on New Year’s Eve. Followed up with 8.5 furlong win at 75k OC level with 96 score, debut at 3 and route.  One of the better AWD scores (Unbridled’s Song/Tamboz, out of Tapit) Needs strong finish in next race to be serious contender. That race is 4/8 Santa Anita Derby
Now to the ties for 2nd through 4th.
4th, and loser of the tiebreak, is MO TOWN. Already included in win bets of 12-1 and 27-1, and a few exactas. Won the Grade 2, 9 furlong Remsen, then bounced to 5th last out in the Risen Star. Great AWD numbers (Uncle Mo/Grazie Mille, out of Bernardini)  If he’s worse than 32-1, definite for a win bet.  Next up: 4/8, Wood Memorial
3rd: GUNNEVARA.  Strong contender by ML standard, is expected to be low odds, which means it’s likely I won’t put up a 2nd win bet on him (got him at  24-1). Definite exacta play  based on my ranking.   After maiden win, won the Grade 2 Saratoga Special, 5th in the Breeders Futurity, winner of the Delta Downs Jackpot, 2nd in the Holy Bull, winner of the FOY with lifetime best 102. I rate him the fastest 3YO of the field.
Next race: 4/1, Florida Derby

2nd: THUNDER SNOW   Qualified by winning the 9.5 furlong UAE Derby, seemingly a lock for the Run for All Those Roses.  No pace parameters available, as he’s never raced in North America. Winner of a maiden stakes race at Leicester in GB and the Criterium International (Grade 1) in France. Best AWD numbers of the field, from Australian and Arabian stock. There will be enough people wagering on him for the wild card factor. I will also include in exactas.  Next race: Reportedly will enter the English 2000 Guineas but he has the most actual Derby trail points……so, who knows? If I eliminate Thunder Snow, it may open the competition open up for Mo Town, Gunnevara and McCraken, in that order.  Not sure how to play this one yet.

Top pick out of the wager is CLASSIC EMPIRE. Winner of the Bashford Manor, Breeders Futurity (Grade 1) and Breeders Cup Juvenile (108 speed figure, also Grade 1), 3rd in the Holy Bull last out. 2 wins at Churchill, with the 94 at Bashford Manor his better effort. One of the faster paced horses going.  Should be better than 12-1.   Next race: 4/15 Arkansas Derby

Breeders Cup Saturday 2016 races 9-12 selections

At last, the final races of the 2-day event are done for your perusal. I’ve barely caught up to Friday’s results, but  I know Maturkaz was a nice win payout.
Saving some time for you by just posting analysis of my overall winners.

BREEDERS CUP TURF
As with most of the races with a number of horses invading from outside North America, I had to resort to Equibase past performances to fill in some details that Brisnet cannot provide.
Top 3: Mondialiste, Da Big Hoss, Flintshire.
Overlays: Lots of them… Ralis, Da Big Hoss, Ashleyluvsvinegar, Mondialiste, Money Multiplier

It’s Mondialiste’s debut race on the West Coast, 15 of 22 lifetime, races mostly in Europe. Winner of this year’s Arlington Million, last year’s Woodbine Mile, and stakes races in England.   Ran 98 figure last time in the Shadwell at Keeneland last month, surviving a bumpy start and a 4th place finish.  Only horse who improved 1st off layoff at 2nd call (98 from 71). Also gained a length on leader then at 2nd call.
FILLY & MARE SPRINT

Top 3: Tiara’s Tango, Gomo, Gloryzapper.
Overlays: Tiara’s Tango, Gomo, Wonder Gal.

Tiara’s Tango again at his home track, good consistent numbers here and lifetime. Winner of multiple races at the Graded level.  101 speed figure in this year’s Santa Margarita is best of this field.  Best workouts too; 4 of them here, all fast, 1 a bullet.
MILE
Top 3: Alice Springs, What A View, Tourist.  Overlays: Miss Temple City, Tourist, Midnight Storm.
Alice Springs is 2nd favorite via morning line, the majority of races across Europe. Last US race was a year ago in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, finishing 2nd to Catch A Glimpse.   Multiple Grade 1 winner in Europe. Exploding/forging pace numbers from recent races, and appears to be the speed here with good pattern.
CLASSIC:
Top 3: Effinex, California Chrome, Melatonin.
Overlays: Effinex, Melatonin, Keen Ice.
Effinex was 2nd to Hoppertunity in the Jockey Club Gold Cup in October at Belmont.  If it weren’t for his poor start and wide turns, he’d have won this race.  Only sprinter in the field. Track bias strongly in favor; for dirt routes in the meet, 19 of 44 have been won with upfront speed horses. 9 of the 44 have been won at the rail post.

 

 

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. 

Enlightened Trails update (Fair Grounds) plus Risen Star Stakes thoughts

This week, one race out of 2 in my Enlightened Trails series, turning to the Oaks side and the Arizona Oaks at Turf Paradise. Not having free access to the Derby equivalent, the Turf Paradise Derby, I am skipping coverage of it this year, but I’ll certainly update you on the point totals.

Arizona Oaks is 25k, 1 mile for 3YO fillies.  My top 3 are Protective Shield, Dollys Party Doll, and Big Bad Janine, morning-line favorite plus 2 longshots.
Protective Shield returns from a field-long 8 week layoff, winning the Arizona Juvenile Filly Stakes here at 6.5 furlongs by 7 lengths. Before that, she won her maiden debut, 30k, 6 furlongs 3 weeks prior, winning by 3.  Best track performance came in that debut, an 86. From two lifetime races, appears to be fastest of field according to run style.  4 works since last race, 3 were fastest of group or nearly so.

Dollys Party Doll, 1 win in 4 races,broke maiden status here on 1/9,followed up with a 4th placefinish against 20k maidens. Earned 70 lifetime best in her maiden win on 1/9, bounced to 59 thereafter.  I like playing the bounceback here.
Big Bad Janine with alternating wins in 4 starts, winning vs 12k maidens at Assiniboia Downs last summer, then a 20k optional claimer here last month, first off layoff, earning a strong lifetime best of 73.  Easily the best turn time figures of the field; will not be surprised to see her as a price in the top 3. She is my one overlay here for now.
Suggested odds: Protective Shield 1-1; Big Bad Janine 5-1; Grindstone Shine 11-1; Joan Of Arch 14-1; Dollys Party Doll and Rich Girl 19-1; Hymn’s Girl 29-1.
Switching gears to a major race for the actual Derby Trail plus my own contenders based on the Future Wager, I look at the Risen Star Stakes, Grade 2 event, 8.5 furlongs for top 3YOs, 400k.
My top 2 here are pretty much how the morning line falls:  2-10: Mo Tom and Airoforce.
The case for Mo Tom: winner of the LeComte (Grade 3) here last out, pairing up a 94 Brisnet, which he also scored in the KY Jockey Club prior. Measured as fastest of the field per run style (deep closer).  Only horse here under reclaim (Thomas Amoss). 24 second turn time, quickest of field.
Airoforce won first time with blinkers and first on dirt last out, winning the aforementioned KY Jockey Club. Prior to that, 2nd in the BC Turf, and winner of the Grade 1 Bourbon. This should be his first appearance on fast dirt track.  96 Brisnet in last 2 races, fastest horse for distance here, fastest overall pace. Lifetime scores between 92 and 96.
For 3rd I picked out Forevamo. Winner of the Jean Lafit at Delta Downs in October, 6th in the Delta Downs Jackpot.  Lifetime Brisnets very solid between 80 and 87.  3 fast works in prep, one a bullet at 5 furlongs.  Best turn time gain of the field between last 2 races, 2.2 seconds.
Forevamo is the sole overlay.
Suggested odds: Mo Tom 8-5; Airoforce 7-2; It’s All Relevant and Tom’s Ready 18-1;  Forevamo 9-2;, Zapperini, Candy My Boy 55-1.