There’s no denying that this week is Travers Week and the majority of attention will be focused on the haven of upstate New York. However, if the weather gods don’t shine on the ol’ Spa or if you want to sprinkle in some action between races, look no further than Colonial Downs.
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- Race 1: 2-10-4-1
- Race 2: 6-5-10-8
- Race 3: 4-1-3-9
- Race 4: 9-8-1-10
- Race 5: 9-11-10-7
- Race 6: 4-5-3-2
- Race 7: 4-6-5-10
- Race 8: 10-7-3-5
- Race 9: 10-9-7-11
Colonial Downs Race 2: April’s Diamante (#6)
A few of the major contenders for this juvenile maiden claiming affair are mired on the also eligible list, so be on the lookout in case some of them draw in. Old Fashioned Girl (#10) is listed as the shortest price on the morning line of those drawn into the body of the race and certainly makes some sense. She ran pretty well to hang on for third against the boys in her last start, doing so while contesting the pace. She’s back in against the fillies today and while she can win, I’m hesitant to take a short price on these connections. Connections that need no introduction will lead in Wait for Tomorrow (#5) who goes out for the meet’s leading owner and trainer in R. Larry Johnson and Michael Trombetta. This filly was a distant third in her most recent start, but some runners who finished behind her that day have come out of that race with vastly improved speed figures. I’d like her better going a bit shorter than this as progeny of Kantharos are often best sprinting on the turf and her half-sibling Waittilmidnitehour took a turf sprint at the meet this past Sunday. I’ll let price be my guide between her and my official top pick, since neither are likely to go off at their inflated morning lines. April’s Diamante (#6) just has the looks of a filly that will improve with that first race under her belt. Trainer Fausto Gutierrez rarely has them cranked up to win first time out and I think this filly will prefer this turf route versus the synthetic sprint she debuted in. She’s out of a Lemon Drop Kid mare whose best offspring went long on the grass and sire Karakontie (Jpn) has got off to an amazing start as a stallion of turf runners.
Colonial Downs Race 3: Stormy Pattern (#4)
Seal Beach (#1) and Swot Analysis (#3) look destined to vie for favoritism in this N2X allowance and I’d expect to see a significant gap in price between them and the balance of the field. Of the two, I’d be more likely to play against Swot Analysis, especially if Privet Moon (#6) remains in the race. Two straight times, Swot Analysis as dueled for the lead and both times that caused him to spit the bit in the lane. If he’s pressed through even slightly fast fractions, it’ll be a tough ask for him to navigate an extra furlong today. On the other hand, Seal Beach would love to see them cooking on the front end as this colt likes to come from off of it and 7f seems like his perfect distance. He makes a ton of sense given the projected race flow, I just wonder if he’ll end up too short a price. I landed on “the other” Maker and made Stormy Pattern (#4) my top pick hoping for a bit more value. It’s fair to argue what kind of form this guy is in since he’s experienced double-digit length defeats in both his last two dirt races. However, those were tougher fields than what he faces today and it’s “In Maker I Trust” switching this guy back to sprinting. In a move that’s likely very tough to pull off, this barn has decent numbers going turf route to dirt sprint. This is only his second dirt start for these connections (the other being a stakes) and he proved during 2022 that one turn on the dirt was his best game. I wouldn’t completely discount Charge to Victory (#9) who has been in raging form winning four in a row, three of which since being claimed by this new barn, but this is certainly a class test today.
Colonial Downs Race 4: Midnight Renegade (#9)
Hopefully the morning line is right and Calming Storm (#4) and Occasional Moon (#5) end up going off the favorite and second choice in this race, because I’m more than willing to take them on. Occasional Moon broke his maiden last time by daylight, but he was allowed to set soft fractions over a Charles Town track that was carrying speed. Calming Storm looks to have improved in his last two starts, but I actually view that as flattering the form of my top pick Midnight Renegade (#9) who easily handled him back on May 25th. Despite being dismissed at 15-1, Midnight Renegade proved ready on debut for Lacey Gaudet and was easily able to close down a field that has since proven to be extremely live. The second-place finisher took a maiden claiming event at Saratoga. The third-place finisher strung together back-to-back wins including an allowance here at Colonial and the fifth-place finisher has come back to win three straight including a MD-Bred stakes race. Plus, the aforementioned Calming Storm was left toiling in seventh despite getting the same pace set up as the winner. There’s plenty of speed signed on today, he’ll get an extra furlong to work with, and will probably be able to take a step forward in his second career start. I’ve also found some longer priced horses worth using alongside him rather than the favorites. Running River (#8) might be the proverbial “speed of the speed” and probably wasn’t on the best part of the track at Laurel last time. Capital Conquest (#1) and Fole’s Nation (#10) both exit a race at this level from Colonial on August 3rd and despite being nearly 3x the price on the ML, I prefer Capital Conquest who was forcing the hot pace that eventually came apart late.
Colonial Downs Race 9: Fortune Teller (#10)
The Thursday nightcap is a pretty inscrutable maiden claiming event which makes me hesitant to take too short a price on anyone in this spot. A few of these exit a race here from just seven days ago including the likely favorite Frosty Secret (#9). While that filly did experience a touch of trouble when launching her rally in the lane, I doubt she was ever doing better than fourth and will need to rebound with a better effort to win here. Some may go to Quarantini (#7) as she was at least close to breaking her maiden last time out, but that was a weaker field than the one she meets today. Passionforquality (#11) is interesting due to the fact she’s taking a meteoric drop in class and attracts the services of the meet’s leading rider Antonio Gallardo, but she didn’t do a lick of running in her debut and this is a barn I’m hesistant to take any kind of short price on. My top pick is Fortune Teller (#10) who has a few similar characteristics to Passionforquality, but hopefully will be a better price. This filly’s only turf start came against a field lightyears better than this one with horses like Tufani and Sun Bee subsequently running 100+ TimeFormUS speed figures. She was at least able to put herself in the race around the clubhouse turn and it’s noted that she was fractious in the gate, so maybe that contributed to her tiring so badly in the lane. It’s concerning that Keri Brion’s barn is just 1/29 at the meet, but with seven 2nd’s and 3rd’s, some of the cold streak could be chalked up to bad luck. I like that Vincent Cheminaud is named to ride in a race where the trip can make all the difference.
Top Pick: 155-45-28-25 (29%, $1.59); Featured Horses: 66-11-12-11 (17%, $0.89)
Percent of Races Won By: A’s: 48%; B’s: 24%; C’s: 24%; X’s: 6%