Colonial Downs Analysis – July 21st, 2023 – By Michael Domabyl

It was a chalky start to the second week of racing at Colonial Downs as the largest winning mutual in the first six races on the card was only a shade over 5-2, but there were fireworks in the late double as runners of 16-1 and 24-1 triggered a carryover of over $33k into today’s late pick five. This sequence isn’t any easier as four of the five legs drew double digit fields. Let’s see what we can string together.

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  • Race 1: 6-4-2-5
  • Race 2: 1-7-3-6
  • Race 3: 4-6-2-7
  • Race 4: 2-3-6-5
  • Race 5: 3-9-5-7
  • Race 6: 8-2-6-9
  • Race 7: 8-11-10-9
  • Race 8: 6-1-7-2
  • Race 9: 4-5-1-3

Colonial Downs Race 2: La Village Lumiere (#1)

Hopeful Cure (#7) has the looks of a horse that will likely go off a prohibitive favorite as she returns to the maiden claiming ranks after a failed try against maiden special weight company. While she has a few things working for her such as her tactical nature and superior speed figures, it’s always a tough proposition to take a horse who has been 42-1, 9-1, and 37-1 in her starts this year and now will likely be near even money. I want to give her main rival La Village Lumiere (#1) one more shot on turf since she has some excuses for her last start. After she was caught very wide from a tough post and was forced to chase an honest pace, she understandably tired a bit down the lane. The upgrade in post position could not be more pronounced as she gets the rail draw after being mired in the 11 hole last time out. I expect her to sit right off the favorite and then will have every chance to run her down in the long Colonial Downs stretch.

Colonial Downs Race 5: Backwoods Boogie (#3)

The late pick five starts with a very wide open claiming event going a flat mile. One of my main opinions in this spot is that I don’t need the morning line favorite City Plan (#11) on more than the thinnest of backup tickets. This gelding had no excuse after setting an easy pace before being easily run down in a five-horse field just 8 days ago. Now, he’s mired in a tough post in a race loaded with speed. The pace could also work against Fly Fly Away (#7), but he’s shown more tenacity in being able to hold up in situations like these and I view him as the “best of speed.” It’ll be interesting to see what we get from Sound the Charge (#5) off the long layoff and he too might want to mix it up near the front. His race three-back would put him in the mix here and this is a barn that I don’t want to take lightly. I actually view Celerity (#9) as the horse to beat since he’s arguably in the best form of the horses likely to benefit from a fast early tempo and I like Cheminaud riding these types. However, I went in a slightly different direction and made Backwoods Boogie (#3) my top pick. I think his form is slightly dirtied up from all the runs in open claiming races and now gets to try his hand against this conditional bunch. While he hasn’t won over the Colonial sod, his last two efforts here last summer were arguably the best on his page and it doesn’t hurt to have the hottest jockey on the grounds in the saddle with Horatio Karamanos taking the mount.

Colonial Downs Race 6: Ever So d’Wild (#8)

I realize Hot Carol (#10) ran off the screen last time and has a lights-out jockey/trainer combination, but I see no reason she should be within shouting distance of her 8-5 morning line. The last race came at 4.5f on dirt against an overmatched field at Mountaineer and now she switches to a surface she’s never stepped foot on and isn’t remotely bred for. If she wins, I lose. I’d have no trouble laying her in a head-to-head matchup against the other West Virginia shipper Grandiousely (#9) who also hasn’t tried turf in a while, but whose breeding is better suited to it. La Familia (#6) has run admirably in her infrequent turf starts and while she’ll have to avoid getting cooked in a pace duel, it’s nice to see Karamanos take the mount. Beach House (#2) will have to avoid similar pitfalls, but her record at Colonial speaks for itself for a barn that often peaks during this race meeting. However, since I think there will be some hitting on the front end, I made my top pick someone who I think can sit and pounce in the lane and that’s Ever So d’Wild (#8). Those starter allowance fields she’s been facing are arguably a cut above this group. Plus, she didn’t necessarily get the cleanest of trips either day as she was steadied at a key point on the backstretch last time and was caught wide all the way around two-back. While this generally isn’t a high percentage barn, turf sprints are its specialty hitting at over 20% with a +ROI.

Colonial Downs Race 9: Every Time (#4)

The nightcap draws a large field sprinting on the turf and while the number of entrants is large, I think there are only a handful of legitimate threats to win. That is in part because the two shortest prices on the morning line look likely to produce an effort on par or better than what’s usually needed to win at this level. Angie From Kuhn (#1) took a ton of action for her turf debut and while the race allowed for an optional claiming tag, it might have been a stronger field than that with the winner having since returned to win a stakes. The horse to beat is All I Want Is You (#5) who goes out for the Correas barn and was last seen debuting in a tough maiden special weight event at Keeneland. While, that race came back with a fast time and she’s liable to improve at second asking, I’m not sure I want to stomach under 2-1 on a horse that might have just been sucked along by the tougher competition. I respect the favorites, but I’m going to try to make a case for Every Time (#4) and made her my top pick in this spot. This filly was steadily improving during her first stint in the Keri Brion barn running speed figures in her juvenile season that would be competitive today. Maybe she didn’t care for the Florida sunshine, but she ran almost too bad to believe in her three starts this season at Gulfstream. She’s since had some time off and now shows up back under the tutelage of her original trainer. A positive attribute that has stayed consistent throughout her career is her early speed and it doesn’t seem like that’s been lost as evidenced by a couple fast works leading into this one.


Meet Statistics

Top Pick: 36-9-8-2 (25%, $1.35); Featured Horses: 16-1-4-1 (6%, $0.31)

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