A vast array of connections tasted success in opening week at Colonial Downs as 18 different jockeys and 23 different trainers made trips to the winners circle over the 27 flat races. Week number two for the 2021 Colonial Downs meet begins with a bang on Monday with three open stakes races and the live bankroll Colonial Downs Handicapping Contest which you can follow along with at this link.
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- Race 1: 3-5-2-7
- Race 2: 2-5-9-7
- Race 3: 5-2-6-3
- Race 4: 4-5-6-2
- Race 5: 6-4-8-11
- Race 6: 9-3-1-8
- Race 7: 7-12-8-6
- Race 8: 1-7-5-2
- Race 9: 4-6-14-13
Colonial Downs Race 4: Holiday Stone (#4)
The stakes racing gets underway with the Da Hoss Stakes in Race 4. Odd to see a race named after such an accomplished turf miler run at 5.5f on the grass, but such is the case here. I believe this race has the makings for a collapse in the final sixteenth of a mile with so many runners doing their best on or near the lead. Just Might (#5) might be the quickest early and certainly has the class edge on this field, but also has a propensity to give it up late and he might even be more suited for dirt. He will also likely see stout pressure from Francatelli (#6) who just couldn’t keep up with the :20 flat quarter they went at Monmouth last out before bearing out on the turn. His last three career wins have all come on the front end which he is not likely to get with the presence of the runner to his immediate inside. I’ve landed on Holiday Stone (#4) shipping down from NYRA for George Weaver. He has by far the best finishing kick in the field and based on his last seems to be rounding back into his best form as a 7yr old. He might be a touch better over the 6-6.5f turf dashes, but if the front runners hook up early, this old pro could mow them down late.
Colonial Downs Race 5: Button Boy (#6)
A competitive Maiden Special Wt kicks off the Pick 5 and many will default to Caveat Emptor (#11) who is exiting high-class events at Belmont, Tampa, and Gulfstream. However, I’m not sure he did too much running in any of those efforts and certainly wasn’t done any favors with the wide draw. I’m going to take a shot with Button Boy (#6) for Ignacio “Nacho” Correas who won with a similar looking runner to close out last Monday’s card. He comes out of a strong event at Ellis where he made a menacing bid at the eventual winner around the far turn before flattening out to finish fifth. He showed improved early position last out and I like him shortening up to the flat mile this time. Perennial leading Colonial Downs jock Horacio Karamanos jumps aboard as one of only three riders to win three races opening week including one with today’s conditioner at 7-1. Since I am playing against the short price ML favorite, I’ll also mess around with Looting (#4) who certainly was not disgraced in his sole turf start behind two stakes-bound Wesley Ward horses and he’s a half brother to top turf sprinter Imprimis who’s banked nearly $1M. I will acknowledge that the stretch-out to a mile is a question mark. The same can’t be said of Prayer Hope (#8) who is coming out of four straight 2+ mile jump races. We saw a similar form patter for 12-1 winner Vincent Van Gogo opening week. Prayer Hope’s debut over the flat at Monmouth would be good enough to win here, but that was almost three years ago.
Colonial Downs Race 8: Kentucky Ghost (#1)
The feature race on the card will lose a couple to scratches as both Talk or Listen (#4) and Current (#9) contested stakes over the weekend, but the Buckland Stakes ($150,000) still has a graded stakes quality feel with the remaining runners. Pixelate (#7) is a very deserved favorite and will likely be much shorter than his 7-2 ML suggests. He always shows up with a good effort, but I’m hesitant to take a short price on anyone in a field as evenly matched as this. Pixelate is proven over this mile and an eighth trip based on his wins in the G2-Del Mar Derby and last out in a stakes at Pimlico where he defeated Eons (#2). While that rival is certainly not without chance after enduring a more trouble trip before rallying late, he does seem to be a bit camera shy with his last victory coming in 2019. Megacity (#5) is super dangerous going for three-in-a-row with his new found running style and there doesn’t project to be anyone with the early foot to go with him. If they leave him alone on the front end, he could wire this field, but this is certainly a step up in class. I’m taking my chances with another runner on the improve who appears to be getting class relief in Kentucky Ghost (#1). He certainly didn’t disgrace himself last out against accomplished stakes horses Set Piece and Somelikeithotbrown who would both be odds on against this bunch. He’s improved his speed figure in each of his last four starts and his resolute running style lends itself to this nine furlong distance. Bejarano makes the journey into ride and one more step forward and this Vikki Oliver charge could be competing in graded stakes later in the year.
Colonial Downs Race 9: Prince Amadeus (#4)
Closing out this Monday card with a 14-horse maiden claimer and I believe there’s a vulnerable favorite. Cask (#14) is listed at 2-1 on the ML, but this 0/10 maiden really hasn’t shown the life in his races to deserve that strong of billing. Furthermore, he switches out of the high percentage Michael Stidham barn to a trainer that is 0/11 on the year. The logical alternative is Eye Black (#6) as familiar Colonial connections Dane Kobiskie and PTK LLC invade the New Kent track for the first time this week. He had a serviceable run first time out on the grass in an arguably tougher spot at Ellis Park and could project to be the speed-of-the-speed here. However, I’m making Prince Amadeus (#4) my top pick in here. I’m not sure we’ll get anything close to that 15-1 ML, but I believe he could represent value at even half that price. Honestly, he shouldn’t be eligible for this condition as he was much the best two-back in a Maiden Special Wt at Mountaineer, but lugged in coming to the wire on the heavy favorite and got taken down. Either of his two lifetime turf starts make him good enough to win this and I’m willing to forgive the Polytrack start last out.