Colonial Downs Analysis – August 17th, 2023 – By Michael Domabyl

After what proved to be a successful maiden voyage for the Arlington Million festival of racing here at Colonial Downs, racing returns for another week with this nine-race card.

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  • Race 1: 7-1-2-4
  • Race 2: 6-2-5-1
  • Race 3: 3-11-7-9
  • Race 4: 9-12-3-6
  • Race 5: 3-7-5-2
  • Race 6: 3-5-7-4
  • Race 7: 4-7-10-1
  • Race 8: 3-7-1-11
  • Race 9: 9-11-1-5

Colonial Downs Race 2: Cookie Bank (#6)

The Gang That Sang (#5) figures to be heavily favored in her first start as a 4YO as she’s been in maiden special weights at top-level circuits throughout her career and now finds a cozy spot for her return here at Colonial. While these are potent connections, it’s fair to question taking a short price on a filly coming off a 300+ day layoff who has never hit the board in her three career starts. I prefer her main rival Wright Up Front (#2) who possesses a recency edge on the favorite and is eligible to improve leaps and bounds in her second career start. This looked like a filly who needed the experience of her debut as she broke slow and was seen swishing her tail at certain points in the race signaling she wasn’t too comfortable with what was going on. The negative is that she was in amongst only a four-horse field, though the third-place finisher did come back to break her maiden next out at Penn National with an improved speed figure. I landed on Cookie Bank (#6) as my top pick, viewing her as a better-priced version of Wright Up Front. This filly is also making her second career start after a third-place finish at Laurel late last month. While that came in a maiden claiming race, that field seems of comparable quality to what she faces today. This filly is from the first crop of the up-and-coming sire Good Magic who produced Kentucky Derby winner Mage. Jeremy Laprida is named to ride and this represents his only mount that’s drawn in the body of a race today signaling the connections feel she’s live.

Colonial Downs Race 4: Queen Rocket (#9)

This $25k maiden claimer looks wide open mainly due to the fact I’m not enthralled with the short prices on the morning line. Frosty Secret (#6) is the favorite on the ML, but she’s had plenty of chances sitting at 0/12 in her career with most of those losses coming at this level or lower. Plus, this isn’t a barn I’d like to lean on with a short-priced horse. La Village Lumeire (#10) comes from more accomplished connections with Cheminaud taking the mount for Nacho Correas. However, I didn’t see much of an excuse for her rather dull performance at the $16k level last time as the 3-2 favorite. A few of these are exiting an August 3rd affair and I can’t see any of the ones that finished behind Seekingbythestorm (#12) turning the tables on her as that filly was very game on the front-end to just miss breaking her maiden. Because of her tactical speed and improved performance last time, she’d be the shorter-priced horse I’d want to include, but she’ll have to overcome a tough outside post where the turn comes up quick going the flat mile. I landed on Queen Rocket (#9) who is the new face in a race that’s crying out for one. Now, it’s possible that this filly has lost her form as her last two races have been dreadful. However, there are some reasons to believe she can turn it around as both those races came on Gulfstream’s synthetic surface and she’s since been given some time off and switched to a new barn. While she finished 6th in both of her turf starts, those races came against competition light-years better than this as those were open maiden special weights during the toughest part of the Gulfstream season. Those weren’t clunk-up finishes on either occasion as this filly flashed some ability by leading the way into the lane both times.

Colonial Downs Race 7: Neutral (#4)

Any race where Bail Out (#1) is the morning line favorite is one that’s worth taking a look at. This 8YO gelding has racked up 11 defeats at 3-1 or less including all three of his starts this year pushing his career record to 1/34. He’s very likely to make the podium, but almost always finds one or two better than him on the day. Dear Santa (#7) is the logical alternative as this 4YO gelding looks to win right back in his first start after breaking his maiden earlier this meet. It’s likely he’ll be able to get to the front again today, just as he did when winning back on July 20th defeating today’s rival Make ‘Em Tap (#10) who has since come back and broke his maiden flattering Dear Santa’s form. I much prefer Dear Santa to Bail Out, but ultimately believe he’ll go off favored so I landed on another runner who I believe will present more value. After being dispatched by his high-profile connections after just two starts on dirt, Neutral (#4) seems to have found his home on turf for the new barn. She won her turf debut at Laurel before finding the waters too tough in a $30-40k claimer at Monmouth two back. Last time, she dropped down to today’s level and ran a solid 2nd defeating some hard-knocking claiming types in the process. I like the fact that the Magee is wheeling her right back on short rest as this barn has good numbers with this move. Over the last year, this trainer is 17/62 (27%) with horses coming back after 8-14 days.

Colonial Downs Race 9: Pursuing Pace (#9)

Thursday’s finale features a full field, but I believe there is a chasm between the chances of those listed at single-digits on the morning line and the rest of the field. Summer Anthem (#1) is the likely favorite as he tries to make amends for his lackluster defeat at 4-5 when racing at this level last time out. He’s certainly among the runners that can win in this spot, but based on the soft field he lost to last time, I fear he’s heading the wrong way and don’t want to stomach a small number on him. Fightnomoreforever (#2) powered to a clear victory when breaking his maiden last time, but he got an amazing race flow setup that day. Plus, that race has since proven to be a weak affair with nearly every horse who has run back failing to match the speed they earned that day. Some may land on Go Green (#11) as those races at Monmouth he’s been running in are significantly tougher than what he faces today and he gets the meet’s co-leading rider Antonio Gallardo to climb aboard. My worry is that in none of those three most recent turf efforts did it appear he was doing any running, instead just getting carried around by the flow of the race. By almost process of elimination, I landed on Pursuing Pace (#9) as my top pick, but the more I looked at this runner, the more I view him as a likely winner. He is also dropping out of slightly tougher company as his last two starts were against the $25k level at Laurel. Though just a 6th place finish, I liked what I saw from him in his most recent effort where he rallied from the back of the pack in a race where the pace really held together. The 5th place finisher that nosed him out came back to win at that $25k level and the winner returned with a good second in an allowance event.


Meet Statistics

Top Pick: 128-32-25-21 (25%, $1.40); Featured Horses: 53-6-10-9 (11%, $0.61)
Percent of Races Won By: A’s: 42%; B’s: 27%; C’s: 24%; X’s: 7%

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