Eight dirt races are carded across the three days of Week 5 at Colonial Downs which is half as many as the first four weeks combined. Three of which are on Monday’s program including the return of 2020 Kentucky Derby 3rd place finisher Mr. Big News in today’s third race.
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- Race 1: 1-4-5-3
- Race 2: 4-2-3-10
- Race 3: 5-2-1-7
- Race 4: 5-2-4-1
- Race 5: 5-6-8-10
- Race 6: 8-3-4-2
- Race 7: 1-5-9-6
- Race 8: 13-8-5-12
- Race 9: 3-9-1-13
Colonial Downs Race 4: In Sky We Trust (#5)
I am not trying to beat morning line favorite In Sky We Trust (#5) in this N1X turf sprint and believe this gelding to be the most likely winner on the card. He took to the grass on the surface switch last time and put forth a strong effort behind a well-meant Ed Vaughn runner that slipped through on the inside. This field seems a bit softer than that group especially when you consider the steep jump in class for his main rival drawn on the rail in Street Silence (#1). These sprints at the flat five furlongs do tend to play towards the front runners a bit more, but there are three other fleet-footed runners in this field that can keep Street Silence company on the front end. Michelle Lovell does really well with her turf sprinters and has already three winners of that variety at this short Colonial meet.
Colonial Downs Race 5: Fast Car (#5)
There are plenty of ways to go in this 16k N2L claimer going a mile on the inner turf as evidenced by the morning line favorite being set at a lofty 9-2. With a bulky field of 12, there’s likely to be a lively pace especially if Hercules Harbor (#10) shows the same speed he did last out when first fitted with blinkers. After having a rough trip blowing the break in the meet’s opening race, he went too fast on the front end and tired late at the 10k level. I would like him more if he was shedding the blinkers and actually prefer Ready Reward (#6) of the runners projected to be forwardly placed. There was a significant rain storm that canceled two races in the middle of the July 26th card and the races after that deluge almost exclusively featured winners coming from the second flight of horses. Ready Reward was a part of a fast pace and understandably tired late and a repeat of his maiden claiming win at Parx two back puts him in the mix. I’ll also be using Noble Mischief (#8) who steps right up in class off a maiden claiming score last out and was well backed at the windows for that gritty triumph. However, my top pick is going to be Fast Car (#5). We’ve seen two double-digit winners at this meet who’ve successfully made the transition back to the flat from jump races including Prayer Hope two weeks back for the same trainer at jockey. Just like that runner, Fast Car sports a maiden win over flat from years prior, but his win actually came over the Colonial lawn and he did so rallying from off the pace. If the early speed develops like expected, Fast Car has the stamina edge to wear them down late at decent odds.
Colonial Downs Race 6: Cool Comedian (#8)
All eyes will be on the regally-bred Godolphin runner in Lidstrom (#2) and look no further than the sales price as the reason why. This gray colt sold for $2.5 million at the Keeneland September sale back in 2019 and is a half brother to Kentucky Derby winning Nyquist who is off to a solid start at stud. However, he is going to be way over-bet off his bloodlines and purchase price and I have some reservations about him. He was working out west for a while before going on a long hiatus and showing up in the mid-Atlantic for Michael Stidham. I understand looking for a softer spot for a debut run, but I’d expect a horse with this pedigree for these connections showing up on a Saturday card at Saratoga rather than a Monday afternoon at Colonial. I actually like the runners from the midwest more here, starting with longshot Out Work’n (#3). Michael Tomlinson and Joe Rocco Jr have teamed up for some great work at this Colonial meet so far and the latter is the leading rider here with just nine cards remaining. Out Work’n is kin to good sprinter Mean Season who was with Bill Mott and while he hasn’t finished up his races well as of yet, at least he’s shown some speed. Though my top choice is going to be Cool Comedian (#8). He had trouble at the start in his debut which was a common race with Out Work’n, then really took a step forward second time out at Ellis Park showing much improved early foot. He pressed a quick pace as part of a three-ply pace duel and took over in deep stretch before being run down in a blanket finish. He cuts back one furlong here and Ed Vaughn has already sent Inhalation to win at the meet who was bet down to favoritism from an 8-1 ML.
Colonial Downs Race 8: Deciding Vote (#13)
The penultimate race on the Monday card is an absolute war on paper with 14 runners set to contest this 9 furlong open N1X allowance affair. There are a few intriguing runners shipping in for their first try over this Colonial turf including one for the always dangerous Brendan Walsh barn. Vividly (#5) will certainly be rallying late as she’s done in each of her four North American tries to date and she is exiting salty fields at the recently concluded Churchill Downs meet. However with that style in a big field like this she’ll have to work out a trip. The other interesting runner is Ravir (#8). This lightly raced daughter of Uncle Mo who is a half sister to graded stakes winning turf router Divine Oath has the look of one with upside and Michael Stidham is as capable of any of capturing that potential. The minor stakes she comes out of at Monmouth has already proven to be productive with the runner-up winning a Grade 3 at Arlington this past weekend. I’ll be using both of those two, but I’m going with a runner that already has a spin over the local sod. Deciding Vote (#13) ran here at this level opening day and was arguably best. While undefeated Gold for Kitten set moderate fractions on the front end, Deciding Vote launched a three-wide bid and got to the throatlatch of the eventual winner, but could never go by. Some may argue that she hung, but I think the eye-catching move into the fastest part of the race dulled her finish and even so the race came back fast on figures. She should get a fair pace to run into today and has more tactical speed than many of her rivals to get her position moving forward and get first run on the closers. I think with the depth of this field, it is possible she floats up from the 9-2 morning line.