BEST BET: RACE 7, ASTOUNDING
LA CAT WARRIOR ran well enough to win this in the first two starts of his career then was badly compromised while chasing wide from an outside post over a gold rail track in his final start before going to the sidelines; returned from a long layoff to chase better horses to no avail, but he didn’t give way in that race and returns on the drop for a trainer who has a good record first time for a tag (past five years, first time for a tag, dirt sprints: 7 for 39, 18%, $3.61 ROI). COMEONCOMEONCAT ran well both two and three starts back while contesting fast paces from the start, then tried to rate last time and got wired; lands in a spot here where his early speed can be effective. CLASS WON’s two races in NY are not his best and he had no excuse last time while up there on the pace with the eventual winner and proving to be no match, though that horse was on a big class drop; tough here with his best effort, assuming we get it.
IT JUSTHITTHE WIRE didn’t take much money for her career debut and she didn’t show speed that day, but she was professional while improving her position while down on the rail throughout and then finished gamely to prevail late despite getting disqualified for interference late; prefer her experience in this field and like that she moves to an outside post this time. BALLET SLIPPERS was entered and scratched on 8/12 at Saratoga and then missed three weeks of training after that which is a cause for some concern but has a nice pedigree as the first foal from her stakes-winning dam, and her second dam is the Grade 1 winner Balletto. JASMINESQUE has a pedigree to go longer and debuts for a trainer who doesn’t push for early success, but she may be precocious after working 10.2 in April prior to being purchased for $220k; dam was stakesplaced twice in her career and is a sister to a pair of nice horses in Grade 1 winner Materiality and Grade 2 winner My Miss Sophia.
VIA EGNATIA looked like a horse in need of that first start back from the layoff after making a move to contention around the turn and then tiring out readily in the stretch; can’t stand up on dirt but his two turf efforts last year over this course were solid efforts, especially that second one when contesting a fast pace and prevailing, only to get closed down late. MORRISON has improved noticeably this year and he ran well twice in strong races vs. straight 3yos over the summer, before going to Saratoga to dominate NY-breds over yielding ground; good try last time when forced to sit off the speedy Black Tide early then gamely driving him down in the stretch, before the closers came to take over. UNLOCK THE POTENTIAL has something to prove against a field like this one as he stretches out for the first time but his two turf races are good and are separated by a layoff; interesting and a rare runner who could be a square price from this barn.
QIAN B C took some money but didn’t break sharply from the gate and then overreacted when having to check on the turn in his debut, which cost him dearly in a race that was dominated up close; still raced on gamely down on the hedge in the stretch and he is eligible to improve quickly with a better trip. BOBBY MAN by a sire who is underrated with 2yos but who has not been particularly effective on turf, while his dam has dropped nothing but runners, including a couple who handled the grass; trainer lights out with horses like this and not one to just dismiss - Terranova 5 for his last 14 with first time starters in turf sprints with winners at 50:1, 25:1, 19:1, 11:1 and 10:1 (ROI $17.37). WICKED GRIN sat a nice trip and couldn’t by the experienced Analyze this and that when making his debut at Saratoga; tactical speed a plus but he had no excuse there and is likely to be a short price in this race. BY DAWNS EARLY LIGHT didn’t show any speed first time out and wound up wide and racing greenly while failing to make an impact; well-bred colt can improve with that race out of the way.
H MAN was defeated as the favorite when making his first start off the claim at Saratoga but he only tired late after breaking slowly and then having to do a lot of work just to get into that race in the stretch; he’s no great shakes at a short price at this level, and his last three wins have all come over wet tracks, but he’s also better than these horses with his good race. Like the top one, PROLETARIAT has had his chances to get through this condition without any success but he’s actually run well with things working against him several times along the way and is another with a top race that fits well in this field. ROYAL HEIST ran well without winning in his first two starts on contested paces then got loose and earned a figure of 74 to break his maiden two starts back; a figure like that won’t do in this field but he is lightly-raced with speed.
CALL THE CAT didn’t run poorly in his turf debut as a 2yo while making the pace and lasting for 3rd and while he didn’t run well in his return from the layoff he was reined in right from the start of that race, which left him stuck in a wide trip vs. better horses, and he was protected from being claimed in that spot; drops looking to do better at a price in a race without a standout. NOVUS never factored in his debut despite being in a race that collapsed in the stretch; did better to prevail for 2nd behind a front-running winner when dropped to this level for his 3yo debut. TOM’S MUSIC may have reached the end of the line as far as his development goes but still think his lone turf start routing as a 2yo is the best race he’s run; has been showing more speed sprinting this year but wouldn’t mind seeing him taken back off the pace this time as he stretches back out off the trainer change.
ASTOUNDING has run a series of strong races since switched to turf and he has picked up where he left off this year, annexing his 1x condition off the layoff at Monmouth and then finishing gamely while badly compromised by dynamics at Saratoga last time. SYCAMORE LANE faced much better fields in his first two starts after returning from California in June then dropped in class and sat a perfect trip before defeating $25k claimers late in the Saratoga meet; re-claimed by Mott out of that win and enters right back where he can win. LUCKY RAMSEY didn’t break well and didn’t factor off the Maker re-claim last time, but he had no chance there while trailing in a race that was dominated on the lead and has better races to get to; off the claim again for trainer who is exiting a very strong meet upstate.
MY BOY TATE went to the lead from the rail and weakened in the stretch to suffer his first defeat sprinting in the Tale of the Cat last time but that race came off a layoff and he earned another solid figure for the effort; lands in another short field in a race without much pace and may just be the best horse. TRUE TIMBER is clearly a better horse sprinting and his best races have come when not having to go fast to keep up, which may be the case once again in this spot; tough here if he can repeat that last effort where he kept up on a modest pace and outfinished favored Patternrecognition, who returned to win with a 100 Beyer. CELTIC CHAOS a closer exiting a pair of strong runs upstate, though he has always run well at Saratoga and that wet track didn’t hurt him two back when unlucky in traffic late; up against it from a pace perspective but he is going good right now.
MILLIES PARTY BOY dropped to this level for the first time at Saratoga and couldn’t impact late, but he has real trouble early in that race when shuffled back to last and then having to try to rally in some
traffic in the stretch; hasn’t been nearly as good this year as he was last year but he can have one more chance at this level. RIENDO got in too tough first time out then caught a difficult trip while wide in a race that was wired in his next start; had company on the pace all the way last time before getting run over by a longshot winner in the stretch, but he clearly fits well here and doesn’t need the lead to be effective. MR. MASSENA made his last two starts over sloppy tracks before going to the bench; starts back on turf where he was losing without excuses late last year but running races that would make him very competitive in a field like this and you may get a better price this time.