Edison Hatter — Twitter: @Edison_1999_
Most Likely Winner: Race 5- (1) RULING
Race 1: (2) STOP TALKING has a significant speed figure advantage over the rest of the foes she faces here. She has just missed at this level in her last two and she lost significant ground in both races by being wide around the turn. With an inside post draw tonight, she should get a nice trip and get the job done here. (3) URKILLINGMEBETH has only raced twice in a year and a half long career so far, but she scored a visually impressive maiden-breaking win last time out in January. While the speed figure didn’t come out very high, she could be in the mix here at a price if she can take a step forward and is ready to roll off the layoff. (6) WONDER CHARM had a very poor outing last time out, albeit over 6.5 furlongs. She was very good in her last two at this distance and should appreciate the turn back today. She too is a live runner at a price.
Race 2: (5) ALPINE MOON led wire-to-wire to win last time out against several of the same foes she will see again here. Nonetheless, she still will be the second favorite if the morning line is right. While she’ll likely face a little more pace pressure on the front here, let’s give her a chance on top to make it two wins in a row. (2) SHERWOOD LADY has some very strong back class and could by all means win here. However, she has been a beaten favorite in three consecutive starts and in two of those races she lost to foes she sees again here tonight. Tough to take her as a favorite in this spot. (3) HOUSE OF LOVE has been no good lately, but found a new gear last time out on the significant class drop. She came with a huge late run to win impressively. While the waters get much deeper tonight, she definitely got some confidence back last time out and may be worth a try in exotics.
Race 3: (1) STOWE ANGEL and (4) MALIBU SPLASH tower over this field from a speed figure standpoint. The pair has early speed so these two favorites will likely hook up early. Last time these two met, MALIBU SPLASH finished better, but that race was over 6.5 furlongs. Tonight, they go 7 furlongs, a distance at which STOWE ANGEL is 4-for-5 lifetime. For that reason, he gets the nod as the top pick here. (3) LETTS GO TO DIXIES is best of the rest and figures to be within range of the early pace. She’s previously finished just two lengths behind MALIBU SPLASH.
Race 4: (2) AZZURRA was a handy winner last time out against similar competition. She’s now won 2-of-3 races for the new connections and will look to add another win here tonight. If she runs a race tonight anything near what she did last time, she’ll be tough to beat unless someone takes a big step forward. (1) VIVE EL MOMENTO is one of the horses that is in with a chance to take the necessary step forward. She’s coming off of a career best effort last time and will look to build on it here. She has good tactical speed and will likely be close to or on the early lead. (3) SECRET CASTLE is best of the rest and gets a minor class drop tonight that can only help her chances here.
Race 5: (1) RULING has great early speed and draws the rail here. Best of all, with the presence of a Kevin Patterson runner in this field, he likely won’t even go off the favorite. He has the speed to hold out the Patterson runner, (4) KYLE, early. KYLE has disappointed as a favorite twice in a row and will likely go off a short price again. These two are the two logical favorites, but hopefully a little value can be extracted by singling RULING here in any multiple race wagers. (2) BALOTELLI came along nicely last time in his Charles Town debut to nab third at a big price. In his second start over the oval, he is liable to improve and could pick up a piece again at a big price in this field.
Race 6: (2) WHOA BLACK BETTY took a step forward last time out in her second start for the new connections. She was able to do so despite a very poor break. Looks for her to be closer to the early pace with a clean break tonight. (1) AFANDI has some serious, serious seconditis. She has finished second in 6-of-7 tries at Charles Town and in 3-of-3 tries at this distance. She is once again very competitive on paper, but she might not be the best candidate to use on top given her track record. Definitely a must use in the second position, however! (6) BELLY FLOP is a bit of an interesting price play. She was very poor last time out, hence part of the reason she is 10-1 on the morning line. However, she now returns tonight to Charles Town, where she has a win and a second in two career tries. She also tries winners for the second time tonight and is liable to improve here.
Race 7: (3) FIBER STRONG ran a very strong race last time out in only his second career start and the first against winners. He showed speed on the stretch out and had a commanding three length lead at the top of the stretch, but he ultimately tired badly to finish a distant second. With an extra race of experience and fitness under his belt, expect him to find the front again, but not relinquish the lead late this time. (2) MINISTRY OF MAGIC was no good last time out trying tougher at Laurel Park. Tonight, he returns off the layoff to his preferred track at Charles Town. He was a convincing winner last time over this oval, but it gets tougher today on two accounts: he faces winners and he won’t get the lead as he has in the past. Nonetheless, he could still round out the exacta here. (5) OFFICER APPEAL is stakes placed and has performed well at this distance in the past. Worth a try in exotics at a big price.
Race 8: (5) RUM RUNNER RED is the pick here in an absolutely wide open final race of the night. He is a nice price, comes in off of a layoff, and takes a drop in class. While his last two races have not been superb, he could certainly win here with an effort as strong as his previous two before that. (6) SHORT CAKE’S MAN looks like a contender based on the most recent race, but he might need a race starting tonight for a barn that is only hitting at 8% off the claim. (8) YESIKNOWWHOIAM has hit the board in 5-of-7 lifetime starts and 2-of-3 at this distance. He comes off a strong maiden win last time out and will look to build on that in try number one against winners.