The 2021 Colonial Downs meet continues to tap into the Saratoga dark day market with card number two on Tuesday July 20th. The nine race card kicks off at 1:45 ET with the feature being the lone dirt race in the Housebuster Overnight Handicap in Race 7.
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- Race 1: 10-4-9-8
- Race 2: 2-3-10-6
- Race 3: 7-9-6-12
- Race 4: 6-1-7-4
- Race 5: 3-12-8-11
- Race 6: 5-1-10-7
- Race 7: 4-7-3-6
- Race 8: 1-2-10-3
- Race 9: 14-3-7-8
Colonial Downs Race 4: A Lot Like Xmas (#6)
Two-year-olds take center stage and as to be expected many are lacking experience. Eight of the ten scheduled entrants are first-time starters, but it is the two with experience where I would focus most of my play. Capt. Candy (#1) goes second out after showing good speed in his debut and adds first-time Lasix which could help his stamina for this affair. However, his turf pedigree isn’t as substantial as my top pick A Lot Like Xmas (#6). Mike Trombetta sends out this son of More Than Ready who is already a sire with a positive turf influence. Furthermore, all three of his siblings have been stout on the turf and the switch to the grass could be just the thing to spurn this chestnut colt into the winner’s circle. He was forced to battle four-wide around the turn in his last start which should add the foundation for him to carry his stamina the five furlongs over the lawn this afternoon.
Colonial Downs Race 6: Palio (#5)
I am not trying to beat morning line favorite Palio (#5) in this VA-Restricted NX1. His debut win over this course was impressive last summer and after two failed attempts over dirt and synthetic, his inaugural two-turn try on the return to turf would be enough to put him squarely in the winner’s circle this afternoon. Couple that with two bullet works over the Fair Hill training track and two-time defending Colonial Downs meet leading conditioner Michael Stidham in his corner and you’ve got the makings of horse you can center multi-race wagers around.
Colonial Downs Race 7: He’s in Charge (#4)
The featured race on the card drew a nice field of seven three-year-olds hoping to parlay success here into graded stakes success somewhere down the line this year. Of those that certainly has that potential and was knocking on the door last year is Therideofalifetime (#7). Ignacio “Nacho” Correas got a win on the Opening Day card at Colonial Downs and looks to follow it up with overnight stakes success for this graded stakes placed son of Candy Ride. He got back on track last out after a couple of dull performances, drawing clear of a N1X field at Churchill down the lane. While it’s important to own a win over the niche distance of 7f, that was an uncharacteristically weak field for that level and I think he will have to take another step forward to go back-to-back. Shadow Matter (#3) certainly looks like a horse with potential after winning his last two for Dallas Stewart, but you’d have to think he’ll be hounded every step of the way on the front end and will have to negotiate some added ground. I’ve landed on He’s in Charge (#4) for Al Stall Jr and Miguel Mena. This colt was ultra impressive breaking his maiden down at the Fair Grounds this winter with an effort that if he can get back to would be good enough to take down this field. It appears he was rounding back into that form before blowing the break and losing all chance last out once it was apparent the race would be a merry-go-round. I think he can get a stalking trip in the pocket behind the speed just like his maiden score and hopefully put forth the same level of performance.
Colonial Downs Race 9: Stringfella (#14)
The Tuesday nightcap has the look of a head-scratcher at first glance with 14 scheduled to contest this 1 mile non-winners of two lifetime. However, I think two contenders stand out as likely win candidates. Dreaming of Seville (#3) has strong credentials with a two-back run that could be good enough to win this and last out having to make a 3-wide bid that zapped some of his punch in the stretch. Trainer Sarah Nagle won two races on the opening day card and jockey Xavier Perez lands here when he might have had other options. However, I’ve sided with Stringfella (#14) on the far outside. Obviously the post position is not ideal, especially with a quick run into the first turn, but I think this three-year-old ridgling has simply been a new horse since switching to the turf. He’s dropping in class slightly from two consecutive starter allowance races and both times had trouble that masked what could’ve been even higher speed figures. Two back he was sawed off in the stretch by a rival and lost all momentum and last out had to make a five-wide big around the far turn before understandably flattening out. If jockey Denis Araujo can tuck him into a good spot around the first turn, I think his recent form and class can prevail in this spot.