BEST BET: RACE 1, DUNCASTLE
DUNCASTLE’s two best races to date have come on turf, including that last one when making a bold wide run to contention from the back vs. a better field; price comes down off that last one but he tough if running that race back. Not sure IDENTITY POLITICS is exiting the strongest race in the world, but he ran pretty well there to gain some ground after having to steady at the start; back to distance of his debut where he was only second-best to Greek Alphabet who was returning from a layoff making his turf debut. CAROM has run the same race all three times while rating off the early pace and then racing on late without enough to contend; slight cut back in distance could help.
INFIELD IS IN is compromised by his running style more often than not but he was racing on good form earlier this year, and he has had no chance in his last two starts on the drop, first when stumbling badly at the start, then when stretched all the way out in a race that was dominated on the lead; giving him the chance to turn it back around off the claim as a new gelding. INDUSTRIAL LOGIC didn’t win either of his two dirt starts last month, including one as an odds-on favorite over a sloppy track, but he might have been best both times; fits well here and picks up Irad. ROCKIN JO is more of a turf horse and has had trouble finishing on both surfaces, but his speed plays in this race with few other confirmed speeds signed on; BLURRED LINE could show some speed here as he drops way down in class to make his dirt debut for a dangerous trainer; not sure he’s that good but he could be the right kind of new face in this field.
PAY THE PRICE ran well on a contested pace two starts back at a price then returned to contest things again and actually ran well despite getting outfinished by a couple of these horses late; back to six furlongs in a race where he has a chance to get a little more comfortable early, which could make all the difference. HOT MESA was off last behind PAY THE PRICE last time then advanced four-wide around the turn and gamely tried to drive down the leaders all through the stretch before just missing; has run well in his last two starts but he has not been a good gate horse and needs to break with the field this time. VIA CASTAGNA has one race that lays over this field and the positive view on him is that he is racing himself back into shape after missing some time; gave way readily off the layoff but he took a run at PAY THE PRICE on the lead last time and did ultimately get a brief advantage on him before letting go late.
DIAMOND PLAY went to Suffolk off the claim and posted a relatively easy win from off the pace to continue her good run of turf races dating back to last summer; seems to finally be concentrating on grass, but her dirt form is also solid if we are off the turf again. FREE N CLEAR hasn’t won a race since going back to back in the summer of 2016 but she has shown that she fits at this level since dropping down and she ran well two back to take that race over, before moving up to face tougher last time; infrequent winner should be a fair price dropping back down. MIKO was unlucky three back when contesting a strong pace and giving way, but she has otherwise returned on form this year and did well to just miss in an allowance race over a synthetic surface last time; back to her preferred turf at the right level and she can stalk the pace this time.
Thought SIX BROTHERS ran pretty well first time out when showing speed to contest the pace in what appeared to be a strong race for the level but he returned to get out-paced last time and was never a factor; looking for him to show speed as he takes the drop. GRAMMI DANCE has contested the same two races as SIX BROTHERS to start, and he raced very greenly in that first one before chasing the pace without enough last time and getting tired in the stretch; also taking the drop and gets to
break from a nice outside post. GET ALONG debuting for a trainer who is having an excellent year with his 2yos and he has a long series of works showing; by a speed sire but his dam posted both career wins routing on turf, and her best foals have been routers. THEMANBEHINDTHEMAN won his career debut with the benefit of an uncontested lead on a rated pace and has since found the going much tougher, though he has landed in some pretty tough spots; tough post on the outside but he has some speed and this is a significant class drop. THREE PERFECTIONS also taking the drop for the first time after landing in a pair of fast-paced races upon his return from an extended layoff; has been shopping for a spot for a while now and he has the back races to be hard on this field if he can work out the right trip from his outside draw. JO’S BOLD CAT not one to have a lot of confidence in on top but he fits at this level and can run late to get a piece if this race sets up the right way for him, as was the case two back.
CARTWHEEL two career wins have come vs. weak fields, including that top figure blowout last time over a bunch of turf horses, but she has been steadily improving for her underrated trainer and think this distance is perfect for her, and maybe not so much for the others; good post on the outside with the speed to keep up. FAIR REGIS is as game and consistent as they come and she is in many ways the horse to beat in this race; game effort last time to hold on after taking a couple of bumps from Out of Orbit in the late stages. BYSELF was part of an easy pace when prevailing in her 3yo debut off the layoff, but she showed some potential when winning her debut and she ran well with a different running style last time to be clearly second-best to the streaking Satisfy; coughed up a clear lead over this distance three starts back but that was over a sloppy track and she was run down by Hay Field, who likes a wet track and has won five of her last six starts.
HELLO DON JULIO went out of town to win a stakes race over this trip last time while continuing his streak of strong races since returning to the races this year; owns the speed to control things from the outset and he is a handful here if showing up with any of his first four starts of 2018. PATTERSON CROSS getting some class relief for this after grinding on late while never looking like he was going to win the Grade 1 Northern Dancer last time, and he also never looked like he was going to win the John’s Call two back before being forced to steady in the late stages, although that, too, came against a good field; don’t think he has come back quite as good this year after missing significant time but he gets the class relief he needs in this spot. POSTULATION sat a nice trip and couldn’t impact HELLO DON JULIO in his first start for this trainer last time; can make excuses for his races two and three back, and he did run a couple of races last year that would give him a look in this race.
QUIETLY QUICK was no match off a good trip when turned back to sprint for the first time two starts back, then dropped in class and came away second-best to an in-form winner at this level last time; don’t think she’s that good but it’s hard to argue with this spot for her. RECONSIDER IT has had her chances without managing to break through but she also fits very well in this race, assuming she can work out the right trip for her closing style as a sprinter; forget about her last when getting rained off while looking for an easier spot. LETS DANCE SOME MO had shown nothing in her first two starts at the MSW level but she was a little better when dropped to this condition and turned back to sprint last time; wouldn’t have to find that much more to contend with these horses and she is still lightly raced.