Colonial Downs Analysis – July 20th, 2023 – By Michael Domabyl

Week two of the meet gets underway this Thursday with another nine-race card and while it looks very tough to get past the favorites in the early portion of the card, the competition really heats up the for the late pick five which are all very contentious races.

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

Colonial Downs Race 1: I’llsmileagain (#3)

It looks like it could be a chalky start to the Colonial Downs card on Thursday and I’m not trying to beat I’llsmileagain (#3) in this first race and view him as the most likely winner on the entire day. He’s been facing much tougher fields in his last few on synthetic and has already proven that he’ll handle the turf based on that effort he put forth in his second career start. The main danger could be his stablemate Little G T (#1) who shows up for the first time in Kelsey Danner’s barn. However, the presence of the barn’s top rider, Adam Beschizza, on the favorite leads me to believe that it’s all systems go today.

Colonial Downs Race 5: Whenigettoheaven (#9)

The late pick five begins with a very competitive turf sprint affair where it was undoubtedly tough to make a morning line. Ultimately, Supreme Law (#8) was spit out as the ML favorite, but I certainly don’t need a short price on him switching to turf for the first time. I’m focusing in on a couple runners who exit a June 11th affair at Laurel. Putin Online (#11) outran his odds despite a less than stellar beginning and could get the right setup if the race comes apart down the lane. The Nagle barn certainly hasn’t had the greatest go of it this calendar year, but was able to hit with a few runners last year at Colonial. However, my top pick is going to be the gelding that finished one spot back in that common race. Whenigettoheaven (#9) was en route to victory that day when jockey Luis Garcia stood up in the irons and failed to persevere in the final sixteenth. Turf sprints at Laurel Park often are run to an alternate finish line that is past the usual one and that was likely the cause of the rider’s confusion. He will be extra motivated this day to deliver a winning performance after such an unfortunate blunder and has the horse to do so. The other horse I want to use at a price is Next Episode (#1) as this filly takes on the boys. While she might be a touch light on speed figures, she gets a double weight-break as a three-year-old filly and a huge rider upgrade to Colby Hernandez. If the pace heats up she should be rolling late.

Colonial Downs Race 6: Buy Me Candy (#3)

Back-to-back full fields as the 6th on Thursday is arguably the most evenly-matched race run at the meeting so far. I anticipate the pace in this race will heat up early on with one-way speeds Novgorod the Great (#7) and Stormy Pattern (#9) likely sending early. While those two don’t look like major contenders, their presence could work against morning line favorite Win for the Money (#11) who also likes to be forwardly-placed. I like the looks of the “wildcard” in this race as Dhabab (Ire) (#1) comes in from overseas and is well-posted on the rail. He put together some powerful speed figures over synthetic tracks in England this year and simply holding that form for the new barn might be good enough to win. Glider (#5) is another that looks to be coming into this in good form after winning a three-turn race at Gulfstream last out. The cutback is okay for this guy and I think the trainer/jockey combo of Casse/Gallardo are about to heat up. However, my top pick will be the horse with the highest TimeFormUS Late Pace rating in a race I think can fall apart in the lane. Buy Me Candy (#3) is just 2/24 lifetime, but I think this is a case where the final move might be the best move and it could overpower some of his faint-hearted qualities. His last race was solid finishing closely behind the stakes-quality Limited Liability and recent Colonial stakes winner Alex Joon. This race is so wide open that I even want to have Bodecream (#2) on some of my tickets even though he’s 30-1 on the morning line. This gelding has back races that would be more than competitive here and I’m willing to forgive his only turf start this year as he broke poorly and was caught behind a dawdling pace.

Colonial Downs Race 9: Lou Anna (#5)

Usually the final race of the day is a bottom rung claiming event, but instead bettors are greeted with a nice maiden special weight event. While it’s nice to see more promising bloodstock to close out the card, it’s unfortunate because the field is littered with first-time-starters where we’ll have no insight into what tote action they are taking when betting the pick-n’s. There are some cool pedigrees in this race like Victory Badge (#3), a Medaglia d’Oro filly out of G1-Natalma winner Victory to Victory, but don’t be surprised if this Live Oak Plantation homebred is slow to come along as Trombetta is just 2/36 (6%, $0.66 ROI) with juveniles debuting on turf. Michael Stidham sends out Matching Energy (#8) and is much better with this kind of move boasting a record of 10/32 (31%, $2.59 ROI) with juveniles debuting in turf sprints, but he’s been cold so far at the meet and this runner doesn’t have much in terms of damside pedigree. If I was to take a firster it would be Memorialize (#2) as this Gainesway Stable filly is by Karakontie (Jpn) who is off to a fast starts as a sire including an 18% strike rate with 2YO FTS. Plus, the dam once ran a 90+ Beyer on grass. Graham Motion doesn’t have the best numbers with juveniles debuting on grass, but this one might be a win-early type. However, I sided with a runner with experience for my top pick and that’s Lou Anna (#5). This filly outran her odds in her debut at Churchill with a nice finish to be a narrowly beaten fourth while proving best in the gallop-out in a race where many runners have come back with improved speed figures. I believe both the seasoning from her first start and the switch to turf will benefit her this time. She’s by Fast Anna who hits with a respectable 14% of his turf sprint starters, but more importantly is a half sister to two turf winners including Rustler who has banked over $200k on grass while racing primarily in turf sprints. It might seem odd taking a runner from the barn of Jason McCutchen against the likes of Motion, Trombetta, Danner, and Stidham, but this same owner/trainer combo paired up to bring forth Beach House who is a three-time winner at Colonial the past two seasons.


Meet Statistics

Top Pick: 27-6-6-1 (22%, $1.30); Featured Horses: 13-0-4-1 (0%, $0.00)

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