Covering a lot of ground today, with 2 races on the Enlightened Oaks and Derby Trail combined, plus a race by Tale of Ekati’s top 2YO, and a look to today’s Claiborne Breeders Futurity, which is part of the Million Dollar Finish series.
Let’s start with Keeneland, which doesn’t enter the picture for either of my Trails until near the very end, hosting the Blue Grass and Ashland Stakes in April. For the Million Dollar Finish, I have to basically attempt to pick the order of finish for the top 10. I basically have to be psychic. If I pick a horse for 2nd and he/she wins, I get nothing for it. It’s not right.
Here’s the rest of the top 10:
4th: 10 Hashtag Bourbon
5th: 12 WV Jetsetter
6th: 1 Tough Customer
8th: 4 Mr. Z
9th: 11 Keen Ice
10th: 5 Carpe Diem
10 FROLIC TO THE WIRE I like most for her pace progression; alternating fast/slow races, coming out of a small new top of 79, in an optional-claimer at the 75k level just 7 days ago. In that race she was switching from route to sprint. She disappointed in the Pocahontas (Grade 2) at her one try at route, as well as her only race away from Gulfstream. She’s back to a route here and top company and is aiming to post a consistent score here. I think she will. This will be her debut on grass as well. ML odds: 12/1. My odds: 9/2. Overlay.
11 KITTEN’S TOP CAT has 2 races at GP, breaking maiden status against 43k fillies, and a convincing win in the mud in a mile effort. That race was scheduled for grass but was taken off turf. Today’s weather suggests another off track condition which can help her chances. 4 works since last all here, last 1 around dogs was competitively fast at 5 furlongs. Considering her outside post, she may prove fastest of these. ML odds: 20-1. My odds: 5-1. Overlay.
3 NAVAJO KITTEN is the other Kitten’s Joy offspring here. 2 races on GP’s turf, graduated last out with 83 Brisnet, best turf score of the field as well as for the track. That race was a dead-heat along with the #8 horse, Red Sashay. She has more of the historical/inherent ability to win. Best average winning distance from pedigree too (Kitten’s Joy/Indyan Lisa, by Lemon Drop Kid). ML odds: 5/1. My odds: 6-1.
As for Ekati’s Phaeton, I don’t have her factored at all. She does have the one win in the field beyond maiden and certainly did better in that race than her debut but this is a big class jump, and her first time at a route. ML: 3/1. I say she is best avoided. I would not mind including her in exactas and such but I think we’ll see a real surprise in the top 3.
The Enlightened Trails are at Beautiful Belmont today, the Frizette for fillies, the Champagne for the colts. Track is downgraded to sloppy. .The Grade 1 Frizette has 7 fillies going 1 mile, 500k at stake. Here’s my contenders:
1 CAVORTING won the Grade 2 Adirondack at Saratoga, that after her maiden debut win at Belmont. First shot at a route, and was on the bench 8 weeks. Had 3 works here, 1 very fast. Jockey Irad Oritz Jr. has 9 wins and 16 placings in the last 60 days with trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, for an ROI of 4.82. Brisnet gained from 86 to 99 here. Stalking-type horses running a mile on the dirt are winning 43% during the meet thus far. ML odds: 5/2. My odds fully agree.
2 WONDER GAL was 3rd in the Adirondack, and won her debut in the Lynbrook by 14 lengths. Also first time route distance. The 91 Brisnet is the best score on Belmont of this field. 8 weeks off should not be an issue. Best work tab coming in….5 works, last was 1st of 3, running 5 to 7 furlongs in last 4. Probably fastest of the field respective of post (Adirondack speed was 93 from a rail start). ML odds: 6/1. My odds: 9/2. Contender.
4 FEATHERED also comes out of a pair of 83k maiden sprints at Saratoga graduating last time by 9 lengths, and increase in Brisnet from 83 to 97. Best average winning distance from pedigree (Indian Charlie/Receipt, by Dynaformer). Top jockey/trainer combo here.. Javier Castellano 18% wins, Todd Pletcher a sharp 26%). 3rd of the 3 stalkers in the field. ML odds: 7/2. My odds: 6/1. Contender at price.
5 CAYMAN CROC won lifetime debut at the 30k level, a mile scheduled for turf, changed to dirt, at Delaware, taking place 53 days ago. Brisnet of 81 is strong for this field at the mile distance. Should have no rust here. Best trip of field coming in….sprinting at or near the lead for the entire mile, winning by 1.5 lengths. ML odds: 12/1. My odds: 17-1. Dark horse.
6 CONDO COMMANDO has 250 EOT points for winning the Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga, and can share or gain the lead in the EOT with a placing here. Debut race was very similar result, sprinting and leading much of the race, winning by double digits.Given that the Spinaway was in the mud, as we’re sloppy today, she may well have the off-track advantage. Based on her early speed, she seems to be the speed of this field. ML odds: 2/1. My odds: 3/1. Contender.
7 BY THE MOON picked up the pieces from CONDO COMMANDO in the Spinaway, earning 100 points. Won debut race also at the Spa, winning an 83k maiden race. Michelle Nevin has trained 3 horses going sprint to sprint to route, with 1 win and 3 placings for return of 2.53. ML odds: 8/1. My odds: Worse than 20-1. Stay away.
Not expecting much in the way of value in this race.
3 I SPENT IT has earned 100 EDT points for being 2nd in the Hopeful at Saratoga. That race was actually a bounce, as he had won his prior race, the Grade 2 Saratoga Special with a 99 Brisnet. His stalking style makes him the speed of the field. Also should progress further and bounce back in this race. His 77 from a middle post is actually best among those making a start from a general set of posts (that is, comparing those with prior inner, middle or outer posts). Another stalker type that can succeed here. ML odds: 6/1. My odds: 7/5. Favorite, contender and overlay.
6 DAREDEVIL won his lifetime debut, a 75k maiden race, by 6.25 lengths, and a 92 Brisnet. That score is fastest of this field at Belmont, as well as best on an off track. Top jockey/trainer combo (Castellano/Pletcher again). ML odds: 2/1. My odds: 3/1. Contender.
Good race for value, with overlays 3 and 5 factoring in my top 3.
Saturday’s top variables were these: Best track speed of field, and best turf speed. Sunday was rife with obvious winners in these categories: Turf speed, track bias (run style and/or post), horses out of a speed duel in last race, best jockey/trainer combo. Wednesday, the track bias continued to predict exactas, as did dueling horses. Thursday, off track specialists were best, along with horses moving from sprints to routes. Friday was rather quiet, with dueling horses providing the only positive variable above a 50% hit rate. Hit rate meaning those that finish in 1st or 2nd position. Top 3 variables for the week were: Horses out of a speed duel were 15-for 30 in exacta position, an even 50%. Turf specialists were 5-for-7, 71%. Horses who were stretching from sprints to routes were 15-for-32 for the week, 46%. Worst performers: Horses recovering in form (speed drop then gain after layoff within 90 days of peak) were just 1-for-9, 11%. Similarly, horses with exploding form (new lifetime speed figure past last year’s best by small margin) were 1-for 7, 14%. Horses under reclaim of prior trainer also went 1-for-7. Overall hit rate for long-term indicators were 29.5%, short term 37%. Track and distance bias combined, a reflection of both short term horse form and the horse-for-course angle, have been the most successful angles to work in the last 5 racecards.
I’ll cover all 10 races for you today. Next week I keep the focus on Belmont as well. I’m not telling you how to wager but here’s what I would do, as I’m not actually betting today:
Exacta bets between top 3 selections. Win bets on any horses worse than 5-1. If 4th selection is worse than 9-1, place win bet, AND use top 3 selections over that selection, PLUS any horses better than 4-1, over that 4th selection.
Race 1: 5-6. Yup, just two maidens out of 7 useful. FIERCE FACE has late running speed, is fastest of those with a noted run style. REACHING OUT has the superjock Ramon Dominguez winning at 25% along with trainer Richard Dutrow at 19%.
Race 2: 10-5-6-8 WHO IS LADY has the fastest track speed of winners here in this field, a 92 scored in 2011. Also has fastest turf speed of the field. Last 3 2nd-call numbers are mid 80s to mid 90’s, fastest of this bunch. Moves from 79 to 85 in last race, maybe a bounce here. Has the recovery angle here: 2 month layoff, scoring an 82, then down to 79, then 85 in last race on 9/14. Recovering horses not doing well this week. Also was reclaimed by Michael Miceli earlier in the year; last race was first winner since with alternating good speed figures. ALYKELA has the best run on an ‘off’ track of these, a winning 84 Equibase speed figure prior to 2011 (today’s turf races are on a ‘good’ track).
Race 4: 7-3-9-6- WINTER NOW has best winning track score here, an 88 from the spring meet, breaking maiden. Shares top winning turf speed here with 3nd choice Knock Rock. . 2nd call pace numbers for WINTER NOW are late 80’s to 90’s, fastest of these. Comes out of 8.5 furlong race leading much of the way, 2nd in stretch, faded to 10th very late. Both WINTER NOW and KNOCK ROCK excel in the top ranked variables I’ve studied this week. WINTER NOW could be a nice value horse.
Race 7: Frizette Stakes. 2-5-3-7 Two of the 3 KY bred 2YO fillies here are best. MY HAPPY FACE is one of two pure sprinters in the race, benefiting from track bias: Sprinters running a mile on dirt are winning 52% for the meet, and 40% this week. Also running a route race for first time, having gone 5f and 5.5 in only 2 starts, and my stats say this is only good news. With those 2 starts, only one first call number, a 94, is best of this field. Has the fortune of being ridden by Ramon Dominguez, plus trained by Rudy Rodriguez (26% wins) SWEET SHIRLEY MAE has fastest winning Belmont speed, a 99 winner at 5f in debut maiden race for 70k. Moves from 83 to 91 from last 2 races, so could bounce.
Race 8: Foxwood Champagne Stakes. 5-1-2 and 4 or 7 for 4th, whoever has worse odds near post time. FORTIFY is one of 5 runners who has to go from sprint to route here; he is moving from both 6.5 and 7f to run a mile here. Has Ramon Dominguez aboard, plus trainer Kieran McLaughlin (16% wins). GOLDENCENTS is lone speed here, and will benefit from track bias (see race 7). ROI angle: Jockey Kevin Krigger has combined with trainer Doug O’Neill for 9 races in last 60 days, winning 2, placing in money in 3 for return of +4.20.
Race 9: Jamaica Stakes. 6-5-7-8. SHKSPEARE SHALIYAH has best off-track numbers, with a 90 score 2 races back, the Hall Of Fame (grade 2) Stakes at Saratoga. One of 2 horses who are dead closers benefing from track bias: In 4 races this meet at 9 furlongs on the inner turf, 2 were won by closers. He has fastest pace numbers of the field, with last-call numbers from 99 to 112. SUMMER FRONT shares top winning Belmont speed with 4th choice KING KREESA, scoring a 95 3 races back, in the Hill Prince during the spring meet. Was competitive in the Secretariat Stakes in last race 8/12 at Arlington Park, made 3 wide bid 2 furlongs out, led in stretch by 1.5 lengths, would lose by 2.5 and finish 3rd. He cuts back 1 furlong for this race. Forged lifetime best 96 in last race. Has Ramon Dominguez up, plus trainer Christoper Clement (13% wins)
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