Colonial Downs Analysis – August 3rd, 2023 – By Michael Domabyl

Carryovers in both the early and late pick five add to the appeal for Thursday’s card at Colonial Downs. That means it’s worth paying special attention to race 5 as it is included in both sequences.

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

Colonial Downs Race 5: Seekingbythestorm (#6)

The most important race on this card from a Pick 5 standpoint is the one that closes the early sequence and begins the late one. My main opinion in this race is that both the morning line favorites are vulnerable and worth taking a swing against. April First (#2) had been racing on the NYRA circuit for the Dave Donk barn and now shows up here far a barn that’s oh-fer in the past year. I also find it curious she hasn’t posted any published workouts since his race at Saratoga more than three weeks ago. Kobe’s Smile (#7) is the morning line favorite and is likely to get bet based on the respectable number she ran last out. However, she was 33-1 that day and now you’ll have to stomach less than 10% of that price if you want to bet her today. Party Dream (#5) and Palacsinta (#10) are the most likely to benefit from no-shows by the favorites if the former can get back to the effort before her soft turf flop and the latter keeps improving for the Brittany Russell barn. I picked Cainudothetwist (#1) in a race she was drawn for earlier in the meet from which she ultimately scratched, though the analysis still applies. While she’s run more than a dozen times in the past 24 months, only four of those came in flat races. She nearly broke her maiden over this course and distance back in ’21. She ran twice over the flat last summer at Colonial with one being a competitive effort and the other being a spot that was way too tough. Her last flat effort at Laurel was a weirdly run race where the pace got very fast and the whole field was staggering home, so I’m willing to draw a line through that. While I’ll use her, I found another runner I like more in this spot and that’s Seekingbythestorm (#6). She’s the only confirmed front-runner in the race and all of her previous efforts have been run in the context of faster than average paces. She almost shocked the world in her turf debut using similar enterprising tactics getting run down late at 45-1. She’ll have to negotiate a full nine furlongs, but that might allow her to go slower early.

Colonial Downs Race 6: Circle Home (#5)

The horse to beat in this VA-restricted allowance is undoubtedly Caroline Krystyna (#2) who hasn’t run poorly in any of her three lifetime starts and drops out of open company. This filly is a speedball and likely will be able to get to the front against this field, but with so many entrants I’m worried one or two others will cause the pace to heat up on her. While she’s far and away the most likely winner, I was just looking to find a runner that would offer more value. Determined Jester (#7) might be as talented if not more than the favorite based on the powerhouse performance she put on beating the boys in a stakes over this course and distance. While she may turn out to be the best of this group in the long run, this barn is notoriously poor bringing horses off long breaks like this. I landed on Circle Home (#5) as my top pick thinking the price will be right if we can get somewhat close to the 8-1 morning line. This filly is stepping up the class ladder after winning a maiden event at Laurel last time, but she seems to be improving with every start for a barn that does exceptional work with turf sprinters. She got a unencumbered trip due to a fantastic ride from Horatio Karamanos last time coming from the back of the pack and I’m hoping he can negotiate the same thing today.

Colonial Downs Race 8: Knockholt (#7)

I have to admit that handicapping this full field of low-level claimers gave me a headache as a lot of the major contenders looked similar to me on paper. One thing that I was able to hone in on is the fact I believe Fingal (#3) is far and away both the horse to beat and the most likely winner. He ran very well last time in his first race over the flat on turf since 2021 as he was wide the whole way but still managed to grind out a third against 16k claimers. Past him, all the other contenders have their drawbacks. Boffo Kid (#12) was impressive last time, but he got a setup against a field of suspect quality and now had to negotiate the outside post. Auchincruive (#5) will take some money on the class drop, but his form is a little dressed-up after beating that weak starter field two-back. In a situation like this, I’m drawn to a wildcard and that’s Knockholt (#7). I’m hoping this old veteran relishes the return to racing over the flat like we saw from Fingal last time and like I’ve seen time and time again at Colonial over the past few years. While the long layoff is undoubtedly a concern, he should be double-digit odds and has some races to get back to that would make him competitive.

Colonial Downs Race 9: Tapio (#4)

We go back to the dirt to close out the card and this is a race where I think it’s worth trying to oppose the favorites. Naked and Famous (#1) is surely going to take significant play as he won three dirt races as Aqueduct earlier this year. The problem is all of those came in the barn of Linda Rice and he hasn’t shown anything near that level for his new connections. I’m slightly less against the morning line favorite Covert Kat (#7) because at least we know he’s in raging form. However, all those races came over turf and while he ran okay in his debut over dirt, I don’t want to take a short price on a horse that isn’t running on his preferred surface. The other theme of this race is that there should be plenty of pace as TimeFormUS is predicting a pace situation that favors closers. Of the speed horses, I’m most interested in Bombolini (#8). While on paper this is a stretchout from 6.5f to 7f, those races at Charles Town are run around two turns and he switches to a one-turn configuration today. I think that will help him and he ran well in his last race despite a fast pace, I just worry the early clip will take a toll on him again today. I landed on a runner who is switching surfaces, but should at least offer some value in Tapio (#4). This guy has been put into some tough turf sprint spots this year making me think his trainer Michael Stidham thinks highly of his talents. While most of those races resulted in poor efforts, he earned a speed figure three-back that would more than compete here. I actually like the surface switch for this guy as he won his debut as a juvenile over dirt and while you could argue it’s more of a turf pedigree, there is the fact that he is a half brother to Queen Caroline who produced last year’s champion two-year-old Forte. After a cold start to the meet, there are signs these connections are heating up, and he should be able to sit off the pace and make a run in the lane



Meet Statistics

Top Pick: 72-15-17-10 (21%, $1.05); Featured Horses: 29-3-7-3 (11%, $0.55)

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