Belmont May 30

Race 1

  • 6  Dream On  2-1

  • 3  Classy Chris  5/2

  • 4  Ginned Up  5-1

Two horses stand out in this race, but the remainder represent a lot of unknown quantities. Not a particularly good betting race in my opinion.

Race 2

  • 7  Enduring Touch 3-1

  • 1  Five Star Rampage  7/2

  • 6  Golden Gem  4-1

I thought you could make a case for most of the horses in this race. Other than Enduring Touch the race looks very light on speed so he may have a decided advantage, especially considering he lost most of his chance at the start of his last race.

Race 3

  • 6  Sioux  5/2 *HORSE TO WATCH

  • 4  Royal Posse  5/2

  • 2  Bellamy Way  4-1

We haven’t had too many horses to watch come up, but Sioux is one of them. He’s jumping up a bit, but he loves the distance and does well at BEL. I think the odds may be favorable.

Race 4

  • 7  Jules N Rome  5/2

  • 3  Perfect Freud  5/2

  • 4  Haveyougoneaway  7/2

This race appears to have a ton of speed horses and no standout off the pace runner. Danny Gargan has really given Jules N Rome some new found energy. Perfect Freud is listed at 15-1 on the ML. I think he would be a huge value at that price. But don’t kid yourself – lots of horses have a chance here.

Race 5

  • 2  Rescue Cat  3-1

  • 6 J K’s Girl  4-1

  • 5  Stormin Saratoga  4-1

This is one of those turf races where almost none of the horses have turf preps. Another complicating factor is that the past performances reveal very little real speed in the race. Rescue Cat is the obvious horse with turf experience and the crowd is unlikely to ignore her. Lots of question marks.

Race 6

  • 1  Sudden Surprise  5/2

  • 5  Championofthenile  3-1

  • 9  Awesome Gent  4-1

  • 4  Lucky Lurie  5-1

Race 7

  • 7  King Kreesa  3-1

  • 6  Lubash  7/2

  • 2  Kharafa  7/2

  • 1  Macagone  7/2

This looks like a lot of NY State-bred turf stakes from 2015. I’ve always shown a little favoritism to King Kreesa and Lubash. Macagone gets added off his win against Lubash last out. King Kreesa is definitely a fan of the BEL turf.

Race 8

  • 1  Bag of Tricks  3-1

  • 10  Absatootly  7/2

  • 4  Katniss the Victor  4-1

  • 5  Frosty Margarita  4-1

Race 9

  • 9  Neck of the Moon  7/2

  • 2  Distorted Beauty  4-1

  • 7  The Tea Cups  9/2

Race 10

  • 7  House of Friends  3-1

  • 8  Vino Bianco  7/2

  • 3  Open Book  4-1

  • 4  Southern Gentleman  5-1

Another turf race where the turf form is absent from most of the horses.  Other than Vino Bianco, I’m looking for horses that have reasonably good turf breeding and with room for improvement.

Belmont May 29

Race 1

  • 3   Meet in Khartoum  3-1

  • 2  Sweetneida  4-1

  • 5  Shovalia  4-1

Race 2

  • 7  Bahama Halo  3-1

  • 5  Speliker  3-1

  • 6  Mindfulness  7/2

Race 3

  • 7  Is She Hot  5/2

  • 4  Pearls for Girls  3-1

  • 5  Cow Catcher  9/2

Race 4

  • 1  Amazing Anne  5/2

  • 8  Wealth Creation  5/2

  • 5  Cap’s Vow  7/2

Race 5

  • 2  Forever d’Oro  9/5

  • 5  Abstract Cape  3-1

  • 4  Seat of Honor  7/2

  • 3  Travis County  4-1

Race 6

  • 5  Asset Inflation  2-1

  • 8  Runaway Posse  5-2

  • 1  Polar Axis  3-1

  • 7  Front  4-1

Race 7

  • 9  Saratoga Smoke  3-1

  • 2  Flattermefabulous  7/2

  • 7  Feeling Bossy  4-1

Race 8

  • 5  Our Cavern  2-1

  • 6  Mills  3-1

  • 4  Farhaan  4-1

Race 9

  • 5  Princessofthieves  7/2

  • 9  Sweet Ella  4-1

  • 11  Galroyale  9/2

  • 8  Finge Benefits  5-1

Belmont May 28

Race 1

  • 3  Runaway Lute  5/2

  • 4  Right Ben  3-1

  • 2  Jegos Fire  3-1

Runaway Lute was the most expensive purchase in this field and Castellano takes the ride today. The down side – Contessa has a horrible record with first time starters. He’s bred to sprint and the works looks decent. Right Ben goes for Mark Hennig who isn’t much better with first timers. Sold for six times the stud fee and gets the hot Jose Ortiz for the debut. Jegos Fire has a couple of starts and has showed good speed. Experience may help.

Race 2

  • 7  Slapstick  3-1

  • 8 Brett the Jet  4-1

  • 3  Stormin Stephen  5-1

Slapstick had a troubled start last out but closed impressively to only lose by 5. Has shown good speed in previous turf efforts and given this is only his second start of the year some improvement puts him right in the mix. Brett the Jet makes his first start of the year after being gelded. Gets a trainer change to Gary Gullo who is 24% with new charges. Stormin Stephen adds blinkers today after a good debut for 2016. Even while bumped at the start he still managed to get into the race and run well to the end.

Race 3

  • 6  Fielding Gold  3-1

  • 4  After Cheyenne  7/2

  • 2  Hot Squad  4-1

Fielding Gold drops out of MSW to this MCL event. Last was better than looked and should be competitive in this group. After Cheyenne has a place and show in three lifetime starts and is now a newly gelded horse. Should appreciate the slight cutback in distance. Hot Squad finally drops from MSW to MCL. Has been close previously and the drop should help today. Switch to Jose Ortiz is positive.

Race 4

  • 3  Majestic Jessica  9/5

  • 7  My Won Love  3-1

  • 1  Run a Dubb Dubb/Champagne Ruby  4-1

Majestic Jessica was claimed last out by Gary Sciacca after winning at this level. Repeat not out of the question. My Won Love has a win and a show in two starts at BEL. Figures from last year would dominate this field, and she looks like she is improving form. Potential overlay. The entry of Run a Dubb Dubb and Champagne Ruby both have outs in this race. Run a Dubb Dubb is probably the better of the two.

Race 5

  • 7  Detail  3-1

  • 9  Table for Six  4-1

  • 6  Miss Kew  9/2

Detail didn’t have the luckiest race in her first start of 2016, but it was still her best number in a while. Should appreciate both the distance and BEL. Table for Six makes her 2016 debut. She won her maiden debut last year. Figures as a two year old are competitive in this group and some improvement makes her a prime contender. Miss Kew improved substantially when put back on the turf and should make an impact today.

Race 6

  • 1  Vandalize  6/5

  • 3  Union River  3-1

  • 4  Prince Zurs  4-1

Vandalize smashed a field in his 2016 debut and looks to be the fastest by far in here. Union River has been suffering from a case of seconditis which makes him worth considering in the verticals. Prince Zurs has good prospects to round out the trifecta. Even at the 10-1 ML he’s not that far out of it.

Race 7

  • 8  Mark My Style  3-1

  • 5  Hello Don Julio  3-1

  • 7  Tale of Fancy  4-1

This is a highly competitive race with almost all the horses having a chance to make a mark. Mark My Style hasn’t been worse than third in his last five and has the best last race figure. Jumps up a little today, but seems to have enough talent to get it done. Hello Don Julio won his maiden debut at a mile and didn’t race badly in his last on a yielding BEL turf. Tale of Fancy was in the same BEL turf race as the second choice and ran an even third. Has the look of a contender today.

Race 8

  • 8  Mighty Mo  9/5

  • 1  Conquest See Ya  5/2

  • 4  Rappel  3-1

  • 5  Too Discreet  4-1

Mighty Mo just missed in the Woodhaven in his last start. Looks to comfortably be the fastest in the race. Conquest See Ya comes off a maiden win at six furlongs on the BEL turf. Looks to be on the improve for Mark Casse and will have to be caught today. Rappel faltered in the Woodhaven but prior to that looked ready to jump up. Gets first Lasix today. Too Discreet pressed the pace in the Woodhaven and figures to improve today with a 2016 start under his belt. Not out of the question.

Race 9

  • 6  Lord of Love  3-1

  • 1A  Three for Me  4-1

  • 7 Disco Partner  9/2

  • 8  Sanctify  9/2

Lord of Love is two of six at the six furlong distance and cuts back to that distance today. Nice switch to Irad Ortiz today. Three for Me didn’t do much in his 2016 debut but prior to that looked had been competitive on most of his races. His best figure would easily top this field. Disco Partner is 3 for 3 first or second on the BEL turf and 2 for 2 first or second at the distance. Very competitive figures. Sanctify is better than his 10-1 ML looks and may make an impression in the verticals.

Race 10

  • 2  Three Eighty Eight  5/2

  • 6  Love Blues  4/1

  • 11  She’s All Love 9/2

Three Eighty Eight debuted with a good second at a mile despite a slightly troubled start. Love Blues improved sharply when moved to the turf last out. Should appreciate the additional stretch out in distance. She’s All Love ships in from LRL after running first time on the turf. Actually may be dropping in class today. Last race figure is very competitive here.

Belmont May 27

Race 1

  • 3  Red Lodge  2-1

  • 7  Dangerous Dan  5/2

  • 2  Made You Look  4-1

Race 2

  • 5  Valkimqua  5/2

  • 6  Spectacular Flash  5/2

  • 4  Just Sisters  3-1

Race 3

  • 4  My Cara Mia  5/2

  • 1  Quest  5/2

  • 2  Coming Attraction  4-1

Race 4

  • 9  Ross J Dawg  9/5

  • 5  Crescent Street  3-1

  • 1  Completely Bonkers  4-1 

Race 5 

  • 6  Warrior’s Diva  3-1

  • 1  Lebowski  3-1

  • 8  Indygo Tigress  4-1

  • 4  Tizthefastlaine  9/2

Race 6 

  • 7  Cliffs Of Dover  7/2

  • 2  Hirschbein  4-1

  • 1  King Dix C  5-1

Race 7

  • 2  Outlash  6/5

  • 6  Mongolian King  3-1

  • 5  Mighty Zealous  4-1

Race 8

  • 3  Ortiga  3-1

  • 9  Glass House  3-1

  • 6  Quaver  4-1

  • 1  Orient Harbor  9/2

Race 9

  • 10  Complicated  5/2

  • 2  Deltalina  3-1

  • 8  Akron Gold  4-1

  • 3  Kelsocait  5-1

Belmont May 26

Race 1

  • 3  Milaya  2-1

  • 5  Eskenformoney  2-1

  • 2  My Savannah Belle  3-1

Milaya finished second in her last race on the AQU dirt. Has done well at the distance and has slightly the best pace figure. Eskenformoney has a resume filled with graded stakes races, but her wins came in her maiden and in an OC$75K. Her last race was her 2016 debut and she should improve today. She’s at the right level. My Savannah Belle had a troubled beginning in the G3 Distaff but has three wins in her seven lifetime starts. She’s another that fits on speed and price.

Race 2

  • 1  Driven By Speed  5/2

  • 2  Conquest Hardcandy  7/2

  • 8  Paz the Bourbon  4-1

This state-bred juvenile filly race looks fairly wide open. Driven By Speed is the Pletcher/Velasquez entrant. He looks like he might be prepping for something longer, but he’s well bred for the sprint. Tepid choice. Conquest Hardcandy goes for the competent Mark Casse. She sold for $150K as a yearling and that is one of the more expensive fillies in the field. Paz the Bourbon has some good gate works and should be able to get good early position. She sold for 20 times the stud fee.

Race 3

  • 9  High I.Q. Pete  5/2

  • 6  Afleet Martini  3-1

  • 7  Lubsen  9/2

High I.Q. Pete drops out of MSW in this MCL event. Flopped in the slop last out but should be the one to catch and has competitive figures. Afleet Martini jumps up in price today but his figures say he’s competitive with this group. Lubsen makes his 2016 debut with a couple of changes. He’s been gelded since last year and he drops into a MCL after debuting in a MSW. Might be the one to catch in this race.

Race 4

  • 5  Try Flying  5/2

  • 4  Nicholson  4-1

  • 3  Interior Secretary  9/2

Try Flying won at $25K two back and was claimed last out by DJ. Looks to be the fastest horse in the race but may not be as good as the 4/5 ML indicates. Nicholson has a lot of races and a tendency to finish second. More likely in the verticals.  Interior Secretary broke his maiden three back, jumped up to an ALW NW1X  and then back down to this level. In a paceless race he might have an advantage. Irad takes the mount and that is a slight positive.

Race 5

  • 1  Alabama Bound  5/2

  • 9  Talkin Til Midnight  3-1

  • 7  Tizzelle  7/2

Alabama Bound makes her 2016 debut after running a bang up race to end the 2015 campaign. She looks like she has good front speed and works should have her ready. Talkin Til Midnight ran well in her maiden effort at AQU and Linda Rice is having a good BEL meet. Some improvement makes her a major contender. Tizzelle had a troubled start in her first race but still managed to finish within a half length of the winner. With a clean start she has every chance to win.

Race 6

  • 9  Pira  2-1

  • 7  Meatball Maddness  3-1

  • 1  Picco Uno  4-1

Pira has been compromised at the break in her first two starts but still has the top turf figures in the race. With a clean break she might have a much better position. Meatball Maddness showed good speed at a route distance and looked comfortable first time on the turf.  Positive switch to Jose Ortiz. Picco Uno looked good on the dirt and tries this turf sprint. Only question is whether she will get a good trip from the rail.

Race 7

  • 8  Gracious Plenty  5/2

  • 2  Dissident  3-1

  • 4  Bibbo  7/2

Gracious Plenty looks to be in great shape for Pletcher and has the top last race figure.  Dissident makes a substantial drop. Last race was better than looked. Bibbo should be the speed in what looks to be a fairly paceless field.

Race 8

  • 4  Gettysburg  5/2

  • 2  Direct Message 7/2

  • 9  Gift Box  7/2

Gettysburg ran a bang up race in the Arkansas Derby and wasn’t embarrassed by losses to stakes runners Destin, Collected and Creator. May be the class in this field. Direct Message ran evenly in the Lexington in his first race with winners. Figures are on the improve. Gift Box lost the Remsen to Moyhamen and has been off for Chad Brown since that race. Has a win at BEL and a win at the distance and Brown usually has his horses ready to roll off the layoff.

Race 9

  • 3  Weekend Score  3-1

  • 7  Wild Chatter  7/2

  • 2  Candida  4-1

  • 9  Dicey Flats  9/2

Lots of potential contenders in the finale. Weekend Score was impressive in her 2016 debut. Much more effective on the turf and gets a good switch to Castellano. Wild Chatter was claimed by Linda Rice after a win at $40K and she is 26% first off the claim. She will be tough off her best. Candida goes first time with winners after breaking her maiden in a $75K claimer. Pletcher should have her ready to roll. Dicey Flats may turn out to the the speed in this field Her first try on turf was impressive and if she repeats that race she’ll be tough to catch.

Nyquist Post-Preakness

Good news and bad news from the Nyquist camp.

The bad news is that Nyquist spiked a fever the day after the race and is definitely out of the Belmont. The good news is that he otherwise came out of the race well physically.

“His legs are fine,” O’Neill said. “We’ve started him on antibiotics and we’ll make an assessment in 10 days to two weeks about getting him back in training.”

O’Neill said at this point plans are up in the air about his summer schedule. “The antibiotics take a lot out of the horse, so our first priority is getting him healthy again. Once we feel he’s up to it we’ll start him jogging and get him back on a training regimen. Right now we don’t have a specific plan other than getting him peaked for the Breeder’s Cup. Once we have an idea how the horse is progressing we’ll look at potential races and make a decision about whether we’ll get him ready in California or back east.”

I asked O’Neill whose idea it was to run Nyquist hard out of the gate. “The plan was all mine,” O’Neill said. “We knew Uncle Lino would go and I told Mario to make sure we won the first turn. We didn’t think Awesome Speed would go as fast as he did and we thought we’d be able to get a clear spot where Nyquist could run his race. We weren’t worried about Uncle Lino, but Awesome Speed and Collector changed our strategy some. By the time Nyquist was clear on the backstretch he was into the bit. He’s such a competitive horse there was no turning back at that point.”

I asked if Nyquist was affected by the track. “The track was definitely safe and he wasn’t having any trouble grabbing hold. But Pimlico is one of those older dirt tracks that can be heavy and tiring when it gets that wet. Running fast early took a lot out of him, but he still showed his competitiveness in the stretch.”

But O’Neill added, “Exaggerator is a very good horse and he ran a great race to win the Preakness. The Desormeaux’s did a wonderful job getting him ready for the race and I want to congratulate them on their victory. I look forward to meeting them again down the road.

“Nyquist is the best horse I’ve ever been around,” O’Neill said. “At this point our only focus is on getting him healthy again. Once he’s back to normal we’ll develop a plan.”

I think we’re all looking forward to the next chapter for Nyquist.

Belmont May 22

Race 1

  • 5  Bustin the Bank  9/5

  • 2  American Creed  3-1

  • 4  Bug Juice  7/2

Race 2

  • 7  Consumer Confidence  9/5

  • 3  Orleans Avenue  5/2

  • 5  Mr. Neetie  4-1

Race 3

  • 1/1A  Blarney Stones/Game of Stones  2-1

  • 5  Red Hook Express  3-1

  • 6  Afleet’s Edge  7/2

Race 4

  • 7  Degree of Freedom  9/5

  • 1  Sneaky Fair

  • 8  Natalie La Rose  4-1

Race 5

  • 2  Doukas  5/2

  • 8  Arietta  7/2

  • 10  Aussie Prayer  4-1

  • 1  Hatta’s Appeal  4-1

Race 6 

  • 5  I Win  7/2

  • 7  Black Tide  4-1

  • 6  Chasintheblues  9/2

  • 4  River Knight  5-1

Race 7

  • 7  Numbered  2-1

  • 5  Won Dozen Banks  5/2

  • 1  Art Boss  3-1

Race 8 

  • 2  Dea  5/2

  • 5  Stella Street  3-1

  • 3  Theresas Candyrose  4-1

  • 1 Sky Painter  9/2

Race 9

  • 7  Cloontia  4/5

  • 8  Cuckoo’s Saloon  5/2

  • 2  Uncle Chester  3-1

Belmont May 21

Race 1

  • 3  Willie’s Mojo  3-1

  • 7  Tom’s Gift  2-1

  • 5 You Got It  7/2

Race 2

  • 5  Suffused  2-1

  • 4  Mojo Risin  2-1

  • 2  Onus  3-1

Race 3

  • 1  Dontbetwithbruno  2-1

  • 5  Touchofstarquality  5/2

  • 4  Indycott  3-1

Race 4

  • 7  Animal Appeal  5/2

  • 1  First Charmer  7/2

  • 4  Startwithsilver  7/2

Race 5

  • 10  Majority  3-1

  • 7  There Goes Ben  4-1

  • 6  Ezra  5-1

Race 6

  • 5  Mordi’s Miracle  3-1

  • 1  Be a Hero  7/2

  • 2  Rich ‘n Tuck  7/2

  • 6  Bad Hombre  4-1

Race 7

  • 11  The Imposter  3-1

  • 4  Came Back  7/2

  • 10  Storm Pursuit  5-1

Race 8

  • 1  Katie Ice  5/2

  • 8  Ametrine  3-1

  • 5  Town Fair 4-1

  • 3  Bea Bea 9/2

Race 9

  • 7  Easy Comparison  3-1

  • 3  Waymond Boyd  3-1

  • 8  Reverend Green  7/2

Race 10

  • 8  Summer Reading  3-1

  • 1  Wonderment  7/2

  • 3  Lightstream  7/2

Race 11

  • 1  Paulassilverlining  4/5

  • 5  Blithely  4-1

  • 3  Stormy Sky  5-1

Race 12

  • 4  Disco Bill  5/2

  • 8  Southern Union  4-1

  • 10  Tiz a Chance  5/2

Preakness 2016

There is only one question worth asking in the Preakness – can Exaggerator turn the tables on Nyquist? And while you’re not supposed to answer a question with a question, I’d answer, what scenario can you imagine that will compromise Nyquist enough to set up the race for a closer like Exaggerator?

There are plenty of speed horses to challenge Nyquist – Uncle Lino, Awesome Speed, Collected, Laoban and Abiding Star all look like they would prefer running toward the front. But Nyquist has proven he doesn’t need the lead to win and from the three post he should get whatever position Mario Guttierez decides works the best. Nyquist proved he could go on first class fractions in the Derby and still have plenty left to finish.

How about a wet track compromising the favorite? Well, he’s 1 for 1 on a wet track so it is hard to imagine that will be his undoing.

With all the speed Exaggerator should find himself in a perfect position turning for home, and he just needs to stay clear of any traffic. If you believe he’ll be good enough this time you’ll likely get a fair price. But I expect that any potential win bet will stay in my pocket this day.

1 Cherry Wine.  He has a win in an OC$75K  NW1X at GP and an in the money finish in the Blue Grass at KEE. He’s one of the horses that expects to do his best running late, but I’m not seeing him making a real impact. 30-1

2 Uncle Lino. He has one thing definitely in his favor.  He comes here from SoCal where he faced the better horses on the Derby trail. He should show speed, and if he needs to lead there’s a good chance he’ll get buried late. I would put him at the end of the verticals. 15-1

3 Nyquist. What possible negative could you come up with on Nyquist? He’s handled the distance that many people questioned. He’s run on rock hard and sticky tracks. He’s won on the front and from off the pace. He’s got nothing but graded wins after breaking his maiden. You can take a flyer with another horse, but in my opinion it is exactly that – a flyer.  4/5

4 Awesome Speed. Awesome Speed is the “local horse,” the horse that has some experience in Maryland. But from my perspective, that’s about all I can use to generate any interest in the horse. 35-1

5 Exaggerator. Exaggerator was somewhat up against it in the Derby, having to close from well off the pace and near the back of the field. He’s shown he can handle a sloppy racetrack, and actually doesn’t need to be way out of the race early. I think strategically he has to keep Nyquist in his sights and look to outfinish him, but thinking he’s going to make up 6 or 7 lengths in the stretch against the champion might be a big ask. 5-2

6 Lani. Lani’s downside in the Derby was coming off a brutal schedule of Japan to Dubai to Kentucky. He expectedly ran middling in the Derby and I’m not sure why the horse improves in the Preakness. He’s well bred for the wet track, but I’m sticking with my Derby opinion. He needs a rest. 20-1

7 Collected. Collected is another of the horses likely to prompt the pace. He has a couple of positives in his favor. First, he’s not a lead at all cost sort, so he could be relaxed early. Second he’s trained by Bob Baffert, who is always dangerous. Finally, he won the Lexington impressively last out. He’s improving and could be the surprise. 9-1

8 Laoban. Laoban has shown a lot of speed in his last two starts, but has not been able to sustain it. He’s another Uncle Mo and should get some early calls, but I can’t seem him sticking around that long. 40-1

9 Abiding Star. Abiding Star is riding a three race win streak, albeit against much less than he’ll be facing here. He generally shows speed, and no reason to expect he’ll change his strategy here. In my mind, he’s just not good enough to make an impact. 40-1

10 Fellowship. Fellowship has been trying graded stakes for a while with little success. Despite having Mark Casse in his corner, he just hasn’t shown me enough to get a nod. 30-1

11 Stradivari. Stradivari is very lightly raced – in fact, and complete X factor. He is trained by Todd Pletcher, and that will get him some backing. Do I think he deserves to be the third choice on the ML? Who knows exactly what kind of horse Pletcher is bringing to the race. This is a better-safe-than-sorry play. Throw him in the verticals because you don’t have enough information to throw him out. 9-1

We’re not left with a lot of options in this race. Anything other than Nyquist or Exaggerator looks like a big upset, and if those two come 1-2 there won’t be much of a payoff. The play may be the Superfecta, with the hope that something surprising fills out the back end.

Here’s my $84 Super play based primarily on Nyquist and Exaggerator dominating. If it comes 3-5 with the other more heavily used horses, you have a chance at a $4.50 Super.

  • $1          Superfecta      3/5/2,7,11/all
  • $2          Superfecta      3/5/2,7,11/2,7,11
  • $1          Superfecta      3,5/3,5/2,7,11/2,4,6,7,11
  • $0.50   Superfecta      3/2,5,7,11/2,5,7,11/2,4,5,6,7,11

Of course you could just bet a $50 exacta of Nyquist and Exaggerator and save yourself the sweat for third and fourth!


Belmont May 20

Race 1

  • 2  Queens Tiara  2-1

  • 5  Ragazza Piu Bella  5/2

  • 3 Lil Renegade  5-1

Queens Tiara drops down in price for Pletcher – possible opportunity to start making space in his stable. Should have no problem with the distance and has a win in one try at BEL. Ragazza Piu Bella was claimed last out by Bruce Brown and he drops her into this spot today. Last race wasn’t great but prior to that had run figures that would be competitive here. Lil Renegade took 15 tries to break her maiden but in this field has outs.

Race 2 

  • 5  Yenta   2-1

  • 8  Secret Eden  5/2

  • 6  Naughty Grace  4-1

Yenta didn’t appear to care for the mud last out but run well in the penultimate race. Nobody sticks out on figures so I like a horse with fewer starts. Secret Eden puts the blinkers on after running so-so on the turf last out. Back to the dirt today and she seems better suited for that surface. Naughty Grace has been working a while to break her maiden but does seem apt to finish in the money.

Race 3 

  • 6  Noble and True  9/5

  • 7  Drop Shot  2-1

  • 2  Chomsky  4-1

Noble and True puts the blinkers on today. Has excellent turf breeding and if his dirt figures transfer he looks the fastest. Drop Shot perked up when moved to the turf last out and looks like the primary competition. Chomsky has been trying this for a while but hasn’t cracked through. Still looks solid in the verticals.

Race 4

  • 2/2B  Live in Joy/Frogman Mel  9/5

  • 3  Midnight Notes  2-1

  • 1/1A  Husband’s Folly/LIttle Jerry  5/2

  • 7 Coturnix  4-1

This race could be a mess after scratches. The Steve Klesaris entry of Live In Joy and Frogman Mel gets the nod. Live In Joy is jumping up but does generally run hard. Frogman Mel figures well at the distance and on the turf. Midnight Notes has been close lately but needs to show some courage in the stretch. Both of the David Jacobson entry of Husband’s Folly and Little Jerry aren’t likely to get to the gate, but Little Jerry looks like the strongest entrant here. Coturnix looked very good before shipping off to FG. Could inherit the lead if Little Jerry doesn’t go.

Race 5 

  • 11  Street Fightin Man  3-1

  • 7  Shootout  5/2

  • 2  Risky Sour  4-1

  • 9  Fleeting Gold  9/2

I’ll be honest. This field is horrible. Hardly any horse looks well meant for the turf, and a number of them are professional maidens. I only provide picks to have something going in the horizontals. Street Fightin Man will have to draw into this race, but he’s been gelded since his last and has the best figure of the field. Shootout is one making his turf debut and actually has some decent turf breeding. Risky Sour is 0 for 21, and normally I pitch those horses out of hand, but in this field he’s got a chance to be part of the picture. Fleeting Gold hasn’t been on the turf but he has some speed and if he grabs the surface he’ll be competitive. Shootout is another making his turf debut and actually has some decent turf breeding.

Race 6

  • 8  Stone Supplier  2-1

  • 2  Is She Hot  3-1

  • 5  Lutheran Miss  7/2 

  • 6  Just Catty  4-1

Stone Supplier didn’t run well on the sloppy track last out but prior to that had the top figure in the field. Makes a pretty steep drop, but if the horse is right she should be the winner. Is She Hot just won at this level and she is capable of putting together back to back good starts. Lutheran Miss gets a nice switch to Jose Ortiz and should fit well in this group. Just Catty has been banging at this level for a while and has potential to be part of the verticals.

Race 7 

  • 3  More Than Rainbows  3-1

  • 2  Saratoga Karaoke  3-1

  • 5  Magsamelia  4-1

  • 4  Chow Fun   4-1

More Than Rainbows comes off the HORSES TO WATCH list and that improvement on the turf gives her the nod today. Saratoga Karaoke is making her 2016 debut. Last year her first race of the year produced a winning effort. She certainly has the talent to be a factor. Magsamelia should be the speed here and her last was better than looked against a more talented field. Chow Fun just won at this level and cuts back in distance today.

Race 8

  • 4  Uncle Youdge  5/2

  • 3  Summer Candy  7/2

  • 1  Man of Wiregrass  4-1

  • 5  E J’s Legacy  5-1

Uncle Youdge has two nice races at LRL and ships over for good percentage trainer Hugh McMahon. I like the improvement potential. Summer Candy makes his 2016 debut for Christophe Clement. He adds blinkers today and if he runs to last year’s numbers he’s in the mix. Man of Wiregrass ran a bang-up race on the turf last out and jumps up in price for his first with trainer Klesaris. E J’s Legacy is stakes placed with statebreds and his best race is on the turf. Interesting prospect.

Race 9 

  • 7  Pussy Willow   5/2

  • 10  Rosey Bay  3-1

  • 11  Three Eighty Eight  3-1

  • 12  Love Blues  3-1

  • 14  She’s All Love  3-1

This is another impossible race. Of the horses with turf experience in the main field Pussy Willow and Rosey Bay stand out. The three other horses – Three Eighty Eight, Love Blues, and She’s All Love all are on the also eligible list. If any or all draw in they would be contenders.