Northern Lights Turf Festival Night!! 6 stakes worth more than $600k on the line. Watch my HHH Racing Podcast preview on You Tube HERE for more details, and the ITM Player’s Podcast w/ Peter Thomas Fornatale, Erik Bialek and myself HERE. First post 5pm, good luck tonight!
Key: BF = Bad Favorite and LS = Longshot
Race 1: 5-3-4 6f dirt, Clm. 20k
If 4yo filly #5 A Roze and Wine clears early, it might be lights out. Whole race depends on how much pressure she takes from the #4 and #8. #3 Lasting Influence is interesting, especially if the pace heats up. Ran well in last, best closer on paper. #4 Even Pandura has shown ability to show speed and rate, but might not get the trip w/the main speed right to her outside.
Race 2: 6-7-2 1mile dirt, Clm. 4k BF: 3 LS: 6
#6 Off Sixes, one of my longshot plays of the card (8-1), has plenty of races on the go-back that can easily win this. Perhaps last race was a sign he’s getting back on form. Trainer not having a good meet, but gelding has early speed and should get a good trip. Wide open race. #7 Be Gone Daddy also has back-class and has run well at the distance, while #2 Cimple Man is consistent and will save ground. Likely fave #3 Yeah Yeah is a no-no for me….where’s the dirt form? Maybe classy enough anyway, not for me at low odds.
Race 3: 9-5-3 1mile turf, Curtis Sampson Oaks S., 100k
The first of 6 stakes on tonight’s card, #9 Saranya should be tough for Cox and Geroux. Was up close last time, not what she wants to do….and was involved in slow paces at FG. There’s early speed in here to set it up, goes by in the lane. #5 Amalfi Princess interesting for Maker and Santana, fits for sure, but might be better going shorter. #3 Becca’s Rocket might try to wire the field, but will have others breathing down her neck….she could take them a long way if she gets loose early.
Race 4: 1-7-3 5f turf, Dark Star Turf Sprint S., 100k
There are some quick horses in here, so the pace will likely be lightning fast. The turf course has been rock hard most of the meet and playing to speed, but due to rain this past Sunday, I’m expecting a more fair course. #1 High Crime might take advantage of the fast pace with a great trip from the rail. Has class and numbers, plus blinks back off. Jockey is son of trainer, inexperienced but talented. #7 Drena’s Star in great form and can easily win, but the horse outside of him might hurt his chances. #3 Minister of Soul my bomb play…unproven in turf sprints, but fast and might sit the right trip at a big price.
Race 5: 6-3-7 6 1/2f dirt, MTA Stallion Auction S., 60k
This restricted stake is likely to go through the ML fave, 3yo filly #6 Star of the North. 4 for 5 lifetime, she has the best early speed, class, form, good post, etc. #3 Just Chillin the most likely upsetter. OK-bred also is speedy and in good form, could hook up with #6, but I think will lose that battle. #7 Westa Waverly could take advantage if top 2 hook up. Not impossible here.
Race 6: 8-5-9 1mile turf, Lady Canterbury S., 100k
Pick 5 starts here, industry-low 10% takeout…..ABC selections:
Caveman ticket: 58 / 39 / 268 / 67 / 1245678 ($84)
#8 Evil Lyn, for Maker and Santana, ran her career Beyer top in last, has been working well since, and 4yo filly looks to be improving. She doesn’t have to be too far back, and if the trip works out, will be awfully tough to beat. #5 Lady Lawyer might be overlooked for 2 reasons….she is no longer trained by Chad Brown and appears to want shorter. But, Stidham is very underrated, horse has ran well at 7f, and this quick turf course might suit her. Will be used early, dangerous near the lead. Don’t sleep on her chances. #9 Urban Fairytail looks slower than the top 2, but there’s very little early speed signed on, so I would suspect Geroux will be aggressive….try to steal it on front end?
Race 7: 3-9-2 1mile turf, Mystic Lake Mile S., 100k
Tough call between the #3 Parlor and #9 Hieronymous. On paper, looks like Parlor will get the better trip, saving ground and coming over the top in the lane. He’s probably not as good as he was last year, but has been facing much better than most of these and needed the last race. Hieronymous was caught up in a fast pace duel with the #8 Tut’s Revenge, and that’s possible again. Hieronymous probably needs to rate off the #8, but seems better with the lead, might not get it here. If things get heated, #2 Lord Dragon might surprise…only 1 race on turf but does have some turf breeding.
Race 8: 6-2-8 1mile turf, Mystic Lake Derby, 150k
The richest race of the meet is restricted to 3yo, a nice field is assembled. If you’re into visual handicapping, then you have to love the last effort by ML fave #6 T D Dance for Cox and Geroux. Yes, he got a perfect trip in last stake race at Pimlico, but exploded in the lane with a 22.24 final quarter to win easily. Very impressive, can be tactical, and a repeat of last should get the job done again. #2 Chess’s Dream is a tricky horse to ride…only has one short burst that needs to be timed right, but can close well with the right set up. #8 Modern Science is very well-bred by Galileo for a very patient trainer in Ian Wilkes. Just broke his maiden with a career Beyer top, but won’t have the lead here. Big upside, but tough task in this spot. Interesting.
Race 9: 6-7-8 6f dirt, OC 12k.5/N1X LS: 6
#6 Just a Kiss Away (8-1) an upset special, with many things to like. Sent off odds-on in her debut, showed good speed, battled and won easily, although on wrong lead late. Still a work in progress, has fast breezes over the track and dangerous if she gets loose. 2nd and 3rd place finisher in her debut came back and won. Deserving fave #7 Berry Good is just that, racing well in every start and now goes back to dirt. Big chance from just off the pace. #8 Undecidedcertainty seems to improving rapidly and is versatile.
Race 10: 7-6-8 6f dirt, OC 12k.5/N1X BF: 4 LS: 6
#7 Ship It Red soft choice in a very difficult race to close this star-studded card. Was 5-wide last time on turn and still was around late at the end. Longshot possibility #6 Crime Spree (6-1) faced toughies last year, including King Fury, nice sprinter Quick Tempo, and 5th place Derby finisher O’Besos. Might need one off the long break, but dangerous if ready. #8 Samurai Cause for Diodoro could take advantage of fast early pace and come running late. Totally against the ML fave #4 Ray’s Angel…too much early speed in here, up for sale, and coming off a poor effort.
That’s a wrap, and as my colleague PFT says, “may you win all your photos!”
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