The second to last week of the Colonial Downs meet comes to a close Wednesday, but not without a very difficult late pick five sequence. Four of the fields feature double-digit entrants with two of those races scheduled to see a full gate of 14 horses. The only single-digit field size in the last five races comes in the feature which is a rare allowance race for juveniles. Usually at this time of year it right up into stakes competition off maiden wins for two-year-old so it’s nice to see a race like this fill.
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- Race 1: 4-1-5-6
- Race 2: 2-8-6-1
- Race 3: 5-3-4-1
- Race 4: 3-2-6-10
- Race 5: 4-8-9-7
- Race 6: 5-2-6-7
- Race 7: 3-13-6-2
- Race 8: 7-4-5-2
- Race 9: 14-7-3-10
Colonial Downs Race 1: Hippodrome (#4)
A pretty exciting set of juveniles take to the dirt to open the Wednesday card and the conversation has to begin with Smokin’ T (#1). This one’s multiple graded stakes winning dam raced for these same connections and is by 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper out of 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri. The pedigree certainly is there, but I wonder if he’ll ultimately want to go longer. Shug McGaughey is known to bring his horses along slowly rather than have them cranked up to win first out. He certainly can win with a firster, but over the past few years those have primarily come over the turf. The Dallas Stewart barn has been a welcome addition to the Colonial backside this meet with Churchill Downs undergoing renovations and he certainly has come loaded for bear. He sends out two debut runners here and I prefer the one drawn to the inside as my top pick in Hippodrome (#4). This colt is out of the G3 Delaware Oaks winning mare Dark Nile and the Stewart barn has been firing with his dirt two-year-olds this meet sending out debut winner Sequist and second-time starter Magnolia Midnight to good looking scores. The works on this colt look promising and he draws the services of first-call rider Colby Hernandez who piloted the two aforementioned juveniles to victory for this same barn.
Colonial Downs Race 5: Miss Lady L (#4)
The late pick five kicks off with a scramble of juvenile maiden claimers going long on the turf. Short price horses on the ML like Bringthewine (#2) and Petite Rouge (#3) can certainly win and the latter is the only one in the field with route form, but I’d rather spread with some prices in this wide-open affair. Rose Knows (#7) makes some sense stretching out off a debut at this level where she had a bit of trouble, but she was set up by a fast pace in that race and the winner was a huge price. Eiswein (#9) debuts for trainer Kelsey Danner and attracts the meet’s second leading rider Joe Rocco Jr. Klimt is off to an auspicious start as a sire with just a 10k stud fee and the barn is capable with firsters it’s just always tough debuting going long. Iggy Bigs (#8) interests me a bit switching to turf for the first time as she’s out of a Scat Daddy mare. Those synthetic MSW races at Arlington might have a touch more class than the races her rivals are exiting and Horatio Karamanos has been on fire lately. However, my top pick is going to be Miss Lady L (#4). Derek Ryan has sent out a few live runners this meet and I’m excited to see what this one does getting to the grass for the first time. It’ll be interesting to see what type of turf producer young sire Mohaymen will be but the Tapits can do anything and I really like this filly getting to go a route of ground. She took some money in her lackluster debut so hopefully that was a signal that there’s some underlying talent there.
Colonial Downs Race 7: National Harbor (#3)
This open 10k claimer should feature a fast pace with the presence of Missionatthespa (#4) and Birdsnest Party (#9). The latter has been a runoff of sorts at this meet so far and should hurt the chances of the former to wire the field. I was looking for horses with the best late kick to take down this race. One that enters in respectable form is Black Prong (#13) especially since the last race might have been a touch tougher of a field. Sarah Nagle’s barn has connected a few times this meet, but I worry this gelding will get caught wide entering the clubhouse turn. I’ve landed on National Harbor (#3) who goes out for a dangerous jockey/trainer combination in Mychal Sanchez and Jane Cibelli. This runner ran quite well two back to just miss while rallying inside at the 12.5k level and then last time lost all chance when starting slowly and getting caught well behind a full field. He actually made a really strong bid around the far turn and understandably flattened out after losing a ton of ground. He’s well posted today along the inside and if he breaks with the field, I think he’ll be tough to beat.
Colonial Downs Race 9: Hercules Harbor (#14)
The week closes with a full field of N2L claimers going long on the turf and it is a wide open affair as evidenced by the ML fav set at 9-2. That distinction falls to Red Sorrell (#7) who does seem to be a logical player in this spot off his decent efforts at Monmouth and Tampa. Although, he gets a negative rider switch and I wouldn’t want to be too taking a short price on anyone in this field. Another logical player is Ahnaf (#3) who goes second off a layoff for a trainer/jockey combination that has done well this meet. He should be able to build off that most recent effort, but it’s worth noting he was aided by the fast early pace in that race. My top pick is a runner that has been against the pace dynamics in his most recent starts and that is Hercules Harbor (#14). 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. He actually ran well on the dirt last time and showed he’s able to harness that speed a bit better with those blinkers. The outside post forces the hand of his jockey and since there is almost no early speed signed on in this affair so it could be lights out for this field if he’s able to clear off on the front end.