Colonial Downs Analysis – July 15th, 2023 – By Michael Domabyl

The first Saturday card of the meet is laden with stakes races for VA Restricted company and we’ll see many of these back later in the meet when a similar card is run on September 2nd. Four horses were left uncovered going into the final leg of yesterday’s pick five carryover, but alas the pool was scooped with a winning ticket that paid upwards of $180,000. I doubt there’s a windfall like that out there again today, but hopefully we can start to build the bankroll ahead of the big cards later in the meet

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

Colonial Downs Race 1: Copper Missile (#7)

It’s a fun juvenile maiden race to kick of the card and there are some fantastic pedigrees in this field. Immortal Lion (#1) is a half brother to multiple graded stakes winning turf router Neptune’s Storm and could be live for Mark Casse who has brought a string down to Colonial for the meet. Golden Era (#4) might have the best bloodlines who is out of the productive G3W/G1P mare Golden Velvet making him a half brother to G2W Lucullan and a full sibling to Soft Touch who won twice over the Colonial sod last year. I’m curious to see how Rum Tum Tugger (#3) handles the switch to the grass. While an Into Mischief out of a Street Cry dam figures to be able to handle it, his siblings who’ve raced haven’t done much over the grass. I’m going to take a shot with Copper Missile (#7) hoping that Kelsey Danner can hit with another long priced debut runner. Over the last 5 years this trainer is 3/14 (21%, $3.54 ROI) with juveniles debuting in turf routes which is a tough move for most barns. I liked the looks of this colt in his 10.2 breeze over the synthetic track at the OBS March sale displaying high action and a reaching stride making me think he’ll appreciate going long right off the bat. He’s been on site longer than all his other rivals, so hopefully the familiar confines will be an advantage.

Colonial Downs Race 5: Embolden (#2)

Stakes action kicks off the late pick five and this is a fun group of turf sprinters. Boldor (#6) has frequented the ranks of these restricted stakes races over the past four seasons notching three wins in five starts over the Colonial turf. I worry that he hasn’t run well at all since last summer and will be a short price. I view Determined Kingdom (#3) as the horse to beat even if he’s not the favorite on the morning line. He’s looking for a repeat in the Punch Line Stakes after utterly dominating the competition in this race last summer. He’s yet to get back to the winner’s circle since then, but has been in some tough spots. Tapio (#7) is a little interesting to me at a price as he’s a lightly raced runner who projects to have continued improvement. I liked that he showed some run in his first turf sprint try two back and I’m willing to draw a line through his last effort when steadied out of position early in the race. Another step forward and he’s not too far off his more experienced rivals. However, I made my top pick someone who is an even higher price on the morning line. I landed on Embolden (#2) who funnily enough broke his maiden by 10 lengths at Colonial on 8/8/19, the first card for the track after a six-year hiatus. This horse has been an inconsistent sort through much of his career, but his top effort is as good as any in here. I’m viewing his return effort over synthetic as just a prep and Michael Trombetta has had plenty of success with this move in the past as his barn is 17/75 (23%, $3.20 ROI) with runners 2nd off 180+ day layoff in turf races.

Colonial Downs Race 6: Bode’s Heritage (#4)

The other fillies and mares are going to need to have their running shoes on if anyone is to beat the heavy morning line favorite Tufani (#1). This lightly-raced Michael Stidham trained filly displayed an excellent closing kick to beat an allowance field last time out that is as good if not better than the group she faces today. The issue is that she’s a classic “last time was the time horse” where she was 9-2 last out and is likely to be around even money this afternoon. A couple of her rivals from that June 24th affair will try her again here, but based on watching that race I can’t see either Continentalcongres (#2) or Galilei (#3) turning the tables on her even if the former possesses a distinct pace advantage. Surya (#7) seems like the logical alternative to the favorite, but I’m worried she’s not going to have enough pace to set up her closing kick and doubt she’ll be any sort of appealing price. I’m going to take a shot with the “new face” in this field and make Bode’s Heritage (#4) my top pick. While this filly might look a little slow on paper, it’s worth noting that all those races came during the early spring and as a three-year-old, she’s likely to still have some upside. I trust the Arnaud Delacour barn with this type of move as he’s 10/41 (24%, $3.01 ROI) with his turf runners coming off a break of 90-180 days signaling to me she’ll be ready to fire fresh.

Colonial Downs Race 8: Charmed Way (#4)

It’s simply a pace play for me in the penultimate race on the Saturday card hoping Adam Beschizza can “walk the dog” on the front end with Charmed Way (#4). While she might not be as talented as some of today’s rivals, she’s proven to be pretty game when she gets to the front as evidenced by the determination she showed to hold on for the win last time. My one hesitation is in the event that the Bedard barn uses team tactics with its two runners and sends no-hoper Eight Danzas (#3) all out in hopes of setting it up for his other charge Tic Tic Tic Boom (#1), but the fact there’s no common ownership eases some of the anxiety. In the end I had difficulty separating the preferred Bedard runner, Cupid’s Stike (#2), and Jan’s Girl (#5) and ultimately landed on an outsider who I can see going off an oversized price.


Meet Statistics

Top Pick: 18-2-3-2 (11%, $0.51); Featured Horses: 9-0-2-1 (0%, $0.00)

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