*My new book, the Kingpins of Riverbend, is now available at Amazon.com. It is set in a fictional town along the Mohawk River in upstate New York in 1968. It is about a group of seven pinboys at a local bowling alley who in one way or another are confronting their futures against the backdrop of a town desperately trying to recapture the prosperity of the past. The pinboys include the thoughtful Gianni, called G, the book’s narrator; his irrepressible best friend, Vinnie; Charley Horse, a girl who just moved to town after losing her mother; Borneo, a Vietnam veteran broken by the war and coming home to an ungrateful country; Danny, a mentally challenged adult with the mind of a child; Albert, an alcoholic haunted by his failure as a soldier; and Crackers, the overweight kid who has always been picked on. The corrupt town boss, Public Works Director Tony Gallo, wants to tear out the old downtown and put an indoor mall in its place, partially because he wants to see the city revitalized, but mostly because he is interested in lining his own pockets. Unfortunately, he is having trouble getting investors excited about the project. He comes up with the idea of having a bowling match with Riverbend’s best bowler, Marcus Aurelius Pandolfo, known by everyone as Mingo, and the world’s best professional bowler, P.G. Peckham as a way to reinvigorate enthusiasm for Riverbend and his plan. The book winds between the lives of the pinboys and the machinations of Tony Gallo, with both stories coming together in the match of the century and the outcome a surprise for everyone. Check it out if you have a chance.*
Race 1 4-6-1
In a race with a fairly sad group of entrants, I looked to find something more solid than Jazz Player but landed on him anyway. He should have the controlling speed, and with the drop and price should be able to hold to the wire. Chief Assignment ran well on the AQU dirt last out in his first start in seven months. While he’s earned most of his way to professional maiden, this is a weak field and his last race figure says competitive. The David Cannizo entry both look competitive in this field. Promise and Hope is dropping to his lowest price and Mischeivous One had an excuse in his last when dropped to this level.
Race 2 6-1-5
Unstoppable You was claimed last out by Robert Barbara who is not strong first off the claim, but he’s got great front running ability and seems to be in top shape. Was with much better earlier in the year and may be on the way back up. The Jacobsen entry both have outs here. He’s been scratching one of the entry horses lately, but I’ll stick with the one that remains if he does scratch one. Mack Miller won at $14K two back and ran evenly despite hesitating at the start last out when jumped for $20K. He’s in the mix here.
Race 3 3-5-6
Drama King has been doing fairly well in state-bred stakes and optional claimers, and has the figures to win in this field. Readtheprospectus just won and was claimed by DJ. Jumps up a little today and DJ still runs 25% first off the claim. Has been with better in the recent past and may be up to handling this field. One Sided hasn’t been out of the money in his last 8 races, puts blinkers on today and figures to get a good trip. If he wins it would be no surprise.
Race 4 5-10-4
Mind Magic ran well on the AQU turf last out and while I couldn’t give him a 4/5 chance here, he does look best in this field. Three’s Are Wild ran well in the early part of the race on the AQU turf, fading badly at the end. But he probably needed the race and you have to respect speed on this turf. Holy Week runs his best on the turf and has some liking for the AQU turf. Has got outs at 8-1 ML.
Race 5 9-7-3
Winter Wish was claimed by John Parisella two back and was moved up to a state-bred allowance where she ran a new top. Parisella has been quietly having a good year, winning at a 27% overall, and having 100% of his runners in the money at AQU. Hard to go against him off the drop. Enduring Touch has three place finishes in a row at this level and consistent figures. Looks competitive if she develops an interest in winning. Kitty Ride drops down from state-bred allowances to the claiming ranks for this one. Last race was the first in a while and was on the turf. She’s back on the dirt today and off her best has good outs.
Race 6 2-6-7
Absatootly ran well as an outsider first time out and returns at the same level with a figure that doesn’t need much improvement to be the winner here. Super Allison finished behind a couple of these last out but should have learned some lessons in that race. Expect improvement today. Bea Bea showed some interest on the sloppy BEL dirt and has prepped well for this race. A repeat of the BEL fig puts her right in the mix.
Race 7 10-6-3-9
Comes the Dream was claimed last out by DJ when he dropped to his lowest level in the last two years. Prior to that he had been turfing with some solid OC $62K horses. He looks better suited for the mile distance and off his best looks to be a winner. No Texting has good early speed and just missed last out. Looks to be in good shape for this affair. Sun Worshipper has two thirds in three tries on the AQU turf and his last race was a new top for him. American Guest is another that has a good race on the AQU turf and has been competitive at higher levels. Turf numbers look competitive.
Race 8 8-2-6
The New York Stallion series at seven furlongs in the Sunday feature. Empire Dreams has been running exclusively in this state bred stakes and has field-topping figures. 3 of 3 in the money at the distance and on the AQU dirt. Has the best closing kick in the field. Loki’s Vengeance has good early foot and has a win over the AQU dirt. & furlongs may stretch his ability but he has been competitive with these sorts before. John’s Island is another with competitive numbers, some aptitide at AQU and ability with this level.
Race 9 2-7-1-3
The finale pits 2 year old maidens at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf. E J’s Legacy made a big close last out at huge odds. A repeat should be enough to take this field. Ranger’s Coming looked good first time with state-bred maidens on the AQU turf. Figure says he’s a major contender.Sax Change goes for the fifth time. He’s shown an aptitude on the AQU turf and has run consistent numbers. Yummy Bear puts the blinkers on in search of his first win.