It’s a little bit of a Christmas Eve feeling for fans of horse racing in Virginia as we’re only one sleep away from the Colonial Downs Turf Festival which will include 2 G1’s and a G2 on the same card.
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- Race 1: 5-4-3-6
- Race 2: 5-3-6-1
- Race 3: 4-1-8-10
- Race 4: 8-10-4-6
- Race 5: 7-3-10-5
- Race 6: 1-3-5-2
- Race 7: 6-5-4-8
- Race 8: 10-9-3-1
- Race 9: 7-8-9-5
Colonial Downs Race 3: Anzio (#4)
This isn’t the strongest group of maiden claimers going forward in the third, so I was looking for a bit of a new face. Anzio (#4) didn’t pan out for his original connections and now shows up in the barn of Jack Fisher. This could be a situation where the new conditioner is getting him one final run over the flat before teaching him the ropes of steeplechase racing. I’m going to give him one chance here just because of the quality of this field and there were a few things to like about his first couple starts. He made a decent rally with a good setup on debut and then was bet heavily in his next start before finishing third behind a Chad Brown runner. Jeby (#1) is the horse to beat and the most likely winner, but he’s running out of chances for me and I don’t think he’ll be an appetizing price.
Colonial Downs Race 6: Fondre (#1)
Call the Question (#3) is bound to be a substantial favorite in this spot after narrowly missing in a similar spot on opening day. Her second place finish was made more impressive by the fact there was a nearly 5L chasm back to the third place finisher. However, the winner that day was a 34-1 upsetter, so I think it’s fair to question taking a super short price on this filly. I always find it odd when the same owner and trainer have a second entrant to go along with the morning line favorite. Call Another Play (#5) is a half sister to two siblings who have won at this meet already including Future Is Now who won on debut last week. I went to a different first time starter and made Fondre (#1) my top pick. Maybe it’s the fact I’ve seen too many Demarchelier stud commercials while watching Saratoga Live and America’s Day at the Races, but I think this filly has some talent. Arnaud Delacour is one of the more reliable trainers when it comes to debuting juveniles and this one appears to have worked with Manabi on July 28th who won on debut here back on August 3rd.
Colonial Downs Race 7: Heartburn (#6)
I’m not trying to beat Heartburn (#6) in this claiming event and view her as the most likely winner on the card despite not being the favorite on the morning line. She ran admirably in the final race of the first Saturday of the meet when setting a blistering pace before understandably tiring late. She’s now going first off the claim for a barn that is dangerous with new additions and I can see her getting a good trip sitting right off the runner to her inside early on. Singalong (#4) is the other one who is likely to take money, but I didn’t like how soundly she was defeated by my top pick two back. While she was coming off a layoff, there was a suicidal pace being set that should have set her up for some sort of late kick that never materialized. I actually prefer the filly who was setting that break-neak pace that day in Stormin Amanda (#5) because even though she was 59-1 that day, she still finished ahead of Singalong after carving out those fast splits.
Colonial Downs Race 9: Barleewon (#10)
The penultimate race on the Friday card is arguable the most competitive on the docket as evidenced by the fact that five runners are listed between 7-2 and 6-1 on the morning line. I’m somewhat against morning line favorite Noble Conquest (#8) as her last race left plenty to be desired against a short field of questionable quality. Celerity (#7) probably has one of the best form lines showing based on her run at Horseshoe Indy last out. That figure has held up to scrutiny, but I worry about how ice cold the Asmussen barn has been at Colonial this meet as it’s currently sitting at 0/19 with only 3 runners hitting the board. I thought both Castagno (#1) and Vintner (#3) ran well last time and I have trouble deciding who ran the better race. Castagno nearly got up in the final strides, but was producing the last run in a race with a relatively quick early pace. Vintner was a part of that pace, but was no match when the stalker/closer types came calling down the stretch. That’s why I went to the new face in here thinking that Barleewon (#10) might have a class edge on the rest of these rivals. I think the fields he’s been facing at Monmouth are a cut above what he’s up against today. He ran well two back and I’m willing to forgive the dreadful running line in his last effort as he was caught wide chasing a fast pace. The trainer switch is most likely a negative, but I’m hoping the new connections have either been with him at Monmouth or haven’t had him long enough for him to lose his current form. I can also see myself using a little bit of Joe Phillips (#9) in my plays. His race at Tampa from earlier in the year was quite good and the pace he set last time out was unsustainable, though I would have liked to see him put up a little more fight in the lane.
Top Pick: 108-28-20-19 (26%, $1.27); Featured Horses: 44-5-9-8 (11%, $0.55)