BEST BET: RACE 3, TILL THEN
QUIET OUT EAST made a run to contention in his second start but couldn’t get up over a frontrunning winner in an effort that was improved from his debut at Saratoga; not much to this field, unless one of the new faces can run, so he may not have to do much better to break through. SOUTHERN BRIGADE went evenly after a good trip and settled for a share of 2nd when stretched out two starts back; had a big excuse last time when appearing to clip heels on the backstretch and almost unseating his rider. WORTH A SHOT debuting from a good post in a race where he can be dangerous as a full to the Grade 1 winning turf horse Voodoo Song, who also races for these connections; trainer just 1 for her last 25 debuting in turf routes ($0.20 ROI). SCOTTY BROWN had no real excuse getting run down off a loose lead last time but he has speed in a weak field, which may be enough.
SOUTHEAST closed into a good setup to win two starts back and he ran equally well last time when bumped while looking for room in the stretch, before altering to the inside and putting in a run that came up short; fits well here if he can just keep it going. FELIX IN FABULA has back races that would crush this field but he did not run well while dropped off the claim last time; even if you want to give him the slop excuse for that one, he is dropping again for this and is now entered for half of what he was taken for just two starts back. MERGER OF BANKS finally broke through off the claim for Rudy at Saratoga but he didn’t improve from his prior form in winning that race and he has not been competitive in two starts since; did chase a solid pace last time but he wasn’t far ahead of SOUTHEAST and was no match for that one in the stretch.
TILL THEN made a nice appearance pre-race leading into his debut before going out to flash strong speed on a good pace, only to be closed down late by U S Navy Cross, who returned to finish 4th in a fast running of the Nashua last weekend; figures very tough with that race behind him as he faces a field full of first time starters. MINE THE COIN a Speightstown colt out of a sister to Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner Judy the Beauty who brought $300k as a yearling; debuts over a tough distance from the rail but goes for a trainer who is highly underrated with horses like this (past three years, 2yo first time starter, dirt, sprint: 9 for 27, 33%, $6.72 ROI). HAIKAL a half-brother to Takaful, a fast Grade1-winning sprinter who raced for these connections recently and who won his late-season debut as a 2yo by eight lengths with a 92 Beyer.
SPORT took a while to break his maiden and required a class drop to do it, but he was unlucky more than once along the way and has run well enough in his two starts since breaking through vs. tougher horses; drops back in for a tag over a distance he can handle. OVERNIGHT SUCCESS broke his maiden with some class relief two starts back then stumbled at the start and raced wide before failing to fire behind a front-running winner vs. allowance horses; drops for trainer off to a good start at the meet. POCKET PLAYER a closer who will need some pace and he may also appreciate getting some firmer ground to run over after failing to get involved last time; came up just short at this level two back at a price.
MOTAGALLY debuted in a race that has come back strong with Vekoma returning to win the Grade 3 Nashua with a 99 Beyer and runnerup Epic Dreamer winning his next start in hand with an 81; was outpaced early over that shorter trip before making a wide run around the turn and racing on gamely to just miss 4th at the end. TACITUS debuted in a race that featured a timer malfunction but he ran well there while taking a shot at the eventual winner on the lead through the
turn before getting turned away and then outfinished late for the placings; well-bred colt has no distance questions to answer and is the horse to beat off that first run. ERLICH chased gamely in the slop first time out sprinting, then stretched out in a solid race at Keeneland last time; has some speed to put into play.
ABSENTEE was a game winner on debut while losing some position in order to avoid the open rail at Parx in the stretch then proved to be no match for the talented Maximus Mischief in a fast race last time; switches to turf with some pedigree for a dangerous trainer. GINS AND TINS returns from a short layoff after taking a tough beat in the Skidmore at Saratoga, a race where he may have been best on a fast pace; lone attempt over this distance came in his second career start where he chased a fast pace before weakening late. BACKTOHISROOTS made his turf debut in the Futurity last month and finished gamely into a collapsing pace to be second-best to Uncle Benny, who finished 2nd in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last weekend; good fit in this spot off that effort.
CONSENSUS THINKING went a distance too far and was on a dead rail when dropped in for $40k at Saratoga and improved significantly off the claim when turned back for his next start, even with a perfect trip factored in; looks to bounce back after failing to fire in his first start at this level most recently. STRONG SIDE an infrequent winner but he has held his form in his first two starts for this trainer and this is a better distance for him; posted both career wins vs. weaker but has shown that he fits well at this level. MALIBU ACTION has so far shown that he is more efficient in the claiming ranks but he has run his race in NY and steps up off a win for a trainer who has won with four straight entrants on this circuit, three of them at big prices.
BLACKTYPE enters this race in form for the third straight year and while he came up short in his first two attempts, he ran well both times; has wired the field in his last two starts but he doesn’t need the lead to be effective and he handles give in the ground. PROJECTED keeps showing up without winning, which was the case again last time where he appeared to get to longshot winner Doctor Mounty late before failing to get up; reunites with Irad who took him back and let him make one run in the Dangers Hour over course and distance earlier this year, and that may be his best style.
BRICKS AND MORTAR returning from a long layoff at a short price on the ML, but he showed form as a 3yo that suggests that he has the potential to be better than these horses down the line; not sure I’d take him as the favorite but it would be no surprise to find him returning with a strong effort.
Warning signs are there for TAKEOFF who is dropping for his return from a long layoff after being claimed from a turf race last December; dirt form suggests that he is better than these horses by quite a bit if he can still run. SPA JAZZ easily handled a group of turf horses on the main track two starts back then returned to grass to no avail last time; by a sire who does not get turf horses so this may be his surface and he is lightly-raced enough to keep an eye on at this level. THE CHAMO was vanned off three starts back at Saratoga but he has run two competitive races since then, including that last one when proving to be no match for a winner who put up an 81 Beyer on a big class drop.