Colonial Downs Analysis – August 31st, 2023 – By Michael Domabyl

Only seven race cards remain at Colonial Downs this summer as we head into the penultimate week of the meet. There was some wet weather in Virginia the past few days, but it appears to have had no effect on the race course as we’re listed at fast and firm heading into today’s card.

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

Colonial Downs Race 4: Whispering Sea (#6)

This looked to be one of the strongest juvenile maiden claiming affairs of the meet with so many of these runners are dropping in for a tag for the first time. That changes a bit with the scratches of two of the shorter prices on the morning line as both Shoresy (#1) and Thursday Girl (#2) were likely to take money. Copper Bound (#9) will likely go off favored now and she should like switching to the turf for the first time with her dam Louisville First being a NY-Bred stakes winner on that surface. However, I have to continue to play against these runners from the Asmussen barn as his barn is still looking for that second win to go along with the G2-Secretariat Stakes triumph. The drop makes sense for my top pick Whispering Sea (#6) who probably needs maiden claiming company to succeed. While there’s no chance she’ll be the 15-1 that she was listed on the morning line due to the scratches, she also becomes a much more likely winner. Last time out she took a good amount of money to be 8-1 in a MSW field, but wasn’t given much of a chance given how the pace developed in that spot. As an English Channel and coming from the Trombetta barn, she’s likely to continue to improve with racing experience and hails from a pretty productive Live Oak Plantation family. In a race where the winner will almost certainly come from the ones trying maiden claiming company for the first time, she’s likely to be the best price.

Colonial Downs Race 5: St. Pat’s Day (#6)

Bunty Windermere (#7) looks like a formidable favorite in this spot after running well at this level two weeks ago. She showed good early foot before tiring late for third with the performance flattered by the fact the filly she dueled with backed up the field to finish 8th. The problem is that her pace rival is back in this spot again, so she’ll have to deal with Lovielee (#1) on the front end once again. While it’s advantageous that she’s posted outside the other speed, I’m hesitant to take too short a price on a horse liable to get softened up on the front end. The logical alternative is Ballyhooly (#3) who wheels back on short rest for the Nagle barn. This is a slight step up in class, but she could get a similar trip to the one she parlayed into a victory last time and when the Nagle barn gets them going in the right direction, they often hold their form, especially at Colonial. I’m using her, but found another runner I like better to make my top pick. St. Pat’s Day (#6) showed she could transfer her solid dirt form over to a new surface when able to dominate an allowance race at Tampa Bay Downs back in the spring. While her running lines look abysmal since that facile win, I think there’s more to the story. Her race three back came against a field that was leagues better than this one and she was bet down to 5-1 before losing all chance with a solid bump at the start. I’m willing to draw a line through the synthetic effort as she never rally picked up her feet that day. Last time out she had a nightmarish trip despite not much of it being mentioned in the short comment line. She was repeatedly steadied down the backside consistently losing position and was again sawed off in the lane before the jockey failed to persevere with her to the wire. She was also facing one of the toughest fields for this level of the meet last time out as both the winner and second-place finisher came back to win. This filly would be the top pick on either surface, but I would prefer her on turf as she’d be a bigger price.

Colonial Downs Race 9: Beer Bali (#6)

There are a couple runners exiting the nightcap from July 27th including the likely favorite Bright Moon (#11). She had a lot of things going for her that day getting a fast pace to close into plus a picture-perfect ride from Forest Boyce and it still wasn’t good enough to defeat a 58-1 shot. This field doesn’t look like the strongest group so it’s difficult to be too against her especially coming from the high-percentage Brittany Russell barn, but I couldn’t put her on top. I’m hoping another runner from that race can turn the tables on her with a better trip and that’s Beer Bali (#6). This filly was the one forcing that aforementioned fast pace before understandably giving way in the lane. Contrary to the others, she’s had a run since that day and she once again displayed impressive early speed, but that was an impossible spot asking her to compete with open maiden special weight company. She should be as clear as can be on the front end this afternoon and can hopefully back down the pace a touch more to have something left in the stretch. There are a few others that I considered as well. Kelly’s Party Girl (#7) was in the same open MSW as my top pick last time, so she should also appreciate the class relief and could move forward in her second career start. Spun in a Million (#1) is interesting to me just due to the rider assignment with the meet’s leading jockey Antonio Gallardo named aboard this one despite Mark Casse having one much more fancied on the morning line.



Meet Statistics

Top Pick: 182-50-37-31 (27%, $1.58); Featured Horses: 77-12-16-14 (17%, $0.84)
Percent of Races Won By: A’s: 48%; B’s: 26%; C’s: 21%; X’s: 5%

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