Week three at Colonial Downs kicks off with a nice card featuring three $100,000 stakes races among the nine flat races. An all turf late pick five will be a welcome sight for handicappers that have seen so many races washed off the grass up at Saratoga over the past week.
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- Race 1: 7-1-6-4
- Race 2: 3-9-6-1
- Race 3: 4-5-6-2
- Race 4: 9-4-1-3
- Race 5: 8-10-9-7
- Race 6: 6-7-8-3
- Race 7: 4-7-3-1
- Race 8: 10-3-4-8
- Race 9: 4-8-12-1
Colonial Downs Race 3: Holiday Stone (#4)
The Da Hoss Stakes has been brought back from last Monday’s semi-canceled card and my thoughts are the same as they were this time last week. I believe this race has the makings for a collapse in the final sixteenth of a mile with so many runners doing their best on or near the lead. Just Might (#5) might be the quickest early and certainly has the class edge on this field, but also has a propensity to give it up late and he might even be more suited for dirt. He will also likely see stout pressure from Francatelli (#6) who just couldn’t keep up with the :20 flat quarter they went at Monmouth last out before bearing out on the turn. His last three career wins have all come on the front end which he is not likely to get with the presence of the runner to his immediate inside. I’ve landed on Holiday Stone (#4) shipping down from NYRA for George Weaver. He has by far the best finishing kick in the field and based on his last seems to be rounding back into his best form as a 7yr old. He might be a touch better over the 6-6.5f turf dashes, but if the front runners hook up early, this old pro could mow them down late.
Colonial Downs Race 5: Chelsea Wall (#8)
The middle race on this card features the close to the early pick five and the start of the late one, so if there’s one place you want to be right, it’s here. There are two short price horses on the morning line that have had their fair share of chances and I’ll be looking to fade at least on the win end. Of the two Amplio Esquema (#9) appears the more dangerous as she’s proven at a route and exits slightly tougher races than her main rivals. It will be interesting to see what we get from Osa (#7) who ran really well on debut for a low percentage barn that usually doesn’t have them cranked up. The speed figure came back fast for a maiden claimer behind a slow pace and they step right up into this restricted maiden special event. The obvious alternative and one that I’ll be using heavily is the firster Aurum (#10). The Stidham barn hasn’t been as white hot at this Colonial meet as they have been in past years, but its runners have hit the board in 7 of their 10 outings. This entrant has the pedigree to be a winning type as a half to Tackett who won 3 of 6 starts and 90k in a short career. However, my top choice is going to be Chelsea Wall (#8). As previously noted in this space, the Godsey barn has been sending out live longshots all meet with 3/4 starters hitting the board all at decent prices. Although its too early to tell what kind of turf influence Sky Kingdom will be as a sire there is plenty of turf breeding on the damside of this pedigree. The dam herself won over 250k competing primarily on turf and this filly is a half to a six-figure earner in Great Bend who could handle the green. Chelsea Wall has a figure as a two-year-old in her second career start that if she could build off of with maturity, she could step up and win this race at a price.
Colonial Downs Race 7: Rambert (#4)
A rematch of the first two-year-old race of the 2021 Colonial meet is on tap in the Keswick Stakes and I like Rambert (#4) to turn the tables on Cavalier Cupid (#3) in this spot. The latter took a big step forward in her second start for Sarah Nagle and while a repeat of that effort could certainly win here, I’m not sure she will have another forward move in her. The same cannot be said for the top pick Rambert. She looked best in the paddock on debut and ran a respectable second for top trainer Michael Stidham. I believe she is the one who will improve off that effort and she only has 2L to make up and the connections may have been pointing for the black-type race all along. I’ll try to split these two in the exacta with Continentalcongres (#7). Although she hasn’t done much running in her starts to date, the Trombetta barn has been firing at the meet especially with the runners shipping down from the NYRA circuit as they are finding this level of competition much more to their liking.
Colonial Downs Race 9: Blaze Finery (#4)
As usual, chaos could ensue to close the card as we’ve already seen winners of 15-1 and 19-1 in these nightcaps with big fields of maiden claimers. Once again the shorter prices on the morning line have had their chances so I’ll look to some fresh faces. Diadora (#1) is well posted on the inside and I think she has the propensity to improve second out on the trainer switch. She needs not to move forward much as she ran a figure on debut that already puts her in the mix. You Never Call (#12) is the shorter price I’d want as opposed to Pepper Pot (#9) and Pau Hana (#10) who both disappointed as the favorite last out. You Never Call exits a much improved effort over the dirt at Tampa last out and has proven to handle the grass in the past. Joy in Jerusalem (#8) is the goofy longshot to spice up the exotics as she gets a full makeover for her three-year-old debut. It remains to be seen if this filly can run at all, but first-time Lasix, first-time blinkers, and a horse with some pedigree (from the family of champion Serena’s Song) making her seasonal debut for a trainer who does well off layoffs is enough for me to include. In what is very much a spread race, my top selection is going to be Blaze Finery (#4) going out for young trainer Madison Meyers. This is a filly that I think is finally figuring it out and her running line last out is better than it looks on paper. She was blocked entering upper stretch and was running with the emergency break on all down the lane. The pace never really developed in that spot and it’s reasonable to think more speed is signed on today in this bulky field. I like seeing the rider upgrade to Jevian Toledo who teamed up with this trainer for a win at the meet already and may have had the option to ride the shorter priced Meyers trainee in post 10.