BEST BET: RACE 6, FROSTY MARGARITA
Familiar foes square off yet again in Sunday’s opener, where TIME FOR ANGIE shoots for her fourth straight win after prevailing on fast, muddy and sloppy tracks; versatile running style, has options breaking outside. MISCHIEVOUS SOPHIE is 2 for 2 on dirt for her current connections while also displaying the wherewithal to be effective from various early positions; 50% winner on dirt overall. COLONEL JUANITA has finished first or second in her last 14 dirt races, while mixing it up with the top two and in-form DA WILDCAT GIRL since the fall for a number of different outfits.
GRANDPA’S PRINCESS takes a multiple-level drop in class and stretches out after two return sprints with blinkers added; her only 1 1/16-mile race was a $250K stake on Polytrack. SEVEN DREAMS also gets some class relief, taking a 50 percent price cut after chasing a slow pace first out at the meet; has won on the inner track (with Jose Ortiz) each of the last two winters. MY WILD GATA rallied from last off a slow pace to get by PORCIA for second most recently; usually gets a share.
VINCENTO rallied wide after trailing early and drew out to a good-figure debut win, followed by a mild regression finishing third at 3- 5 behind Taoiseach, who was subsequently beaten in a photo in the Damon Runyon; taken to rebound with blinkers on second time over the track. CELTIC CHAOS wound up close behind Vincento when also sent two turns for the first time Dec. 11; picks up leading rider. CAUSE FOR SURPRISE and OWNER GENTLEMAN are right in the thick of this based on their wins in divisions of a maiden special-weight route Dec. 30 through similar fractions.
GAMBLER’S GHOST and SKY COMMANDER were each capable of running 90+ Beyer Figures last spring, and recently returned from layoffs catching wet tracks in their initial attempts on the inner dirt; either or both might wake up and produce a sharper performance now. NON STOP has an edge based on recent form, with figures of 85 in three of his last four starts; handles any footing.
MY MAN SAM was bumped soundly at the break, had just one rival beat through the first halfmile and finished well enough to beat half the field (not missing third by much) in his debut; well connected colt stretches out. BIG GILLETTE bobbled at the start and ran CADEYRN to a photo when they both went two turns on dirt for the first time; comes off another tough beat as the favorite with blinkers added. Cadeyrn is an obvious contender after holding his ground stubbornly six weeks ago; like the top pick, he must work out a trip from the far outside.
FROSTY MARGARITA is a double advantage play based on the figures earned in her two recent stakes victories, and she has since posted two bullet works for the stretch to two turns; good try in $250K Maid of the Mist in only route attempt. ABSATOOTLY was saved by the wire taking a headbob decision over BACKWOOD BAY in the East View; nice development thus far. KATNISS THE VICTOR overcame a wide trip to win her debut going long; big chance for a share despite post.