Week number two at Colonial Downs comes to a close and it’s been tough sledding for chalk players so far. Favorites have only managed to win 16% of the 43 flat track races conducted at the meet so far with a $0.98 ROI. The going has been even tougher when you look at odds-on choices 1/6 ($0.56 ROI) and favorites in turf routes at just 2/23 ($0.45 ROI).
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- Race 1: 6-7-4-3
- Race 2: 10-4-3-7
- Race 3: 1-5-3-6
- Race 4: 7-8-4-5
- Race 5: 6-8-4-10
- Race 6: 1-8-6-7
- Race 7: 1-5-7-6
- Race 8: 7-5-2-3
- Race 9: 3-7-2-13
Colonial Downs Race 3: Raison d’Etat Girl (#1)
If ML favorite Smooth as Glass (#4) is in fact the public’s choice, then this race is very interesting from a wagering standpoint as that filly steps up off a sloppy track win. I like Raison d’Etat Girl (#1) on her return to the turf and to the Colonial surface that saw her post a 31-1 upset in a maiden claimer last summer. That race looked to be no fluke as she set a quick pace and kept driving while burying the 2-5 favorite she was dueling with. She’s arguably in better form this year coming off a nice win over this distance at Charles Town, albeit on dirt. Giovanna (#5) is very logical off her Gulfstream form, but at just 2/25 lifetime, she always seems to find one better. Cairo Queen (#3) is a longer price on the morning line that you can fool around with. There wasn’t much movement from the back-of-the-pack in her latest turf try and you have to squint to get back to her prior grass form, but those figures would put her in the mix with these.
Colonial Downs Race 5: Jardani (#6)
Wide open field of two-year-old maidens lines up to contest the start of the Pick Five and there isn’t much experience to speak of in this field with only five of the twelve having a prior start. None of the trainers with firsters are particularly strong with that move, although Arnaud Delacour has historically been stronger with debut runners than the recent past indicates. He has two lined up here and I couldn’t find much to separate them. Electrostatic (#4) was an expensive yearling purchase with the son of Midnight Storm going for 25x his sire’s stud fee. Barberini (#8) is out of a dam who banked nearly 200k racing primarily on turf. Curly Tail (#10) will attract his fair share of support off a productive debut and a flashy pedigree that is sure to appreciate this stretch-out in distance, but I wonder if this is more of a prep for later down the road back on dirt as many of the Dallas Stewart runners on grass this meet haven’t taken to it. I’ll take a chance with a different runner with experience in Jardani (#6) for the high percentage Jane Cibelli barn. This trainer doesn’t often have them cranked up for their debut and I think he just got an educational experience first out in a dirt sprint at Parx. The dam was a hard-knocking type that banked over 150k on the turf and while it’s early days for Holy Boss as a sire, Street Boss has proven to be a positive turf influence. First time Lasix with Paco Lopez aboard is enough for me to take a shot in a race where the other conditioners would have to buck their statistical trend.
Colonial Downs Race 7: Festive Star (GB) (#1)
A pretty salty group of seven fillies and mares is scheduled to contest this N3X Optional Claimer and I suppose the conversation begins with Our Bay B Ruth (#7) to the outside. She’s kept the best company on the whole, but has seemed to lose some of her tactical speed this year and her last three efforts have lacked a late punch. Maybe she can get back on track on the class drop, but I’m not willing to take a short price to find out. I’ve landed on her main rival Festive Star (GB) (#1). This filly comes second off the layoff and second time in North America for top horseman Brendon Walsh who has good numbers with this move. She took a good bit of money in her U.S. debut and was rank early on which may have zapped some of her kick when they got to the stretch. Hopefully the blinkers will correct that behavior and if she gets back to her better efforts from Europe, she’s more than capable of taking down this prize. I’m also going to mess around with the longshot My Sweet Wife (#5), primarily underneath the top choice. Although this one has yet to hit the board in three turf starts, I think there’s more there than what meets the eye. She obviously needed her debut, then made a strong bid before flattening out in a live maiden special at Belmont last summer. She was fortunate to graduate a few conditions in off-the-turf events and when returned to the turf this spring she caught an absolute merry-go-round race over a Gulfstream turf course that some horses just don’t perform best over. She has ample turf pedigree for a trainer in Jorge Abreu that wins at a high percentage on the grass and often at a juicy number.
Colonial Downs Race 8: Sail On Ellen (#7)
Despite the prior race being a touch classier, the featured slot on Wednesday’s program goes to this N1X for turf sprinting fillies. Too many signs point to Sail On Ellen (#7) to not put her on top as she really appreciated the return to one-turn last time out. That effort came over today’s exact distance against arguable a deeper bunch a repeat of that race would drown this group. Although she’s yet to get a win, Michelle Lovell’s barn has been sneaky live this week and she specializes with these turf sprinting types. Her main rivals appear to be drawn to her inside in Thinking (#2) and Envied (#3). The former could be dangerous if able to build on the promising two-year-old form coming off the 8-month break, something Graham Motion has had success with in the past. First time Lasix is a plus for a filly that obviously had something go amiss in her 2020 finale. The latter was seen here at Colonial just 9 days ago and put forth a winning effort to just miss in a restricted stakes event. Runners on short rest have often seen success at this meet in the past and this one seems to be improving. I’ll try to split my top selection and those logical alternatives with a bit of a price. Tea in China (#5) looks a bit slow on paper, but she had subtle trouble around the far turn in her last that most likely prevented a higher number. Each year she’s taking a notable jump forward when joining the Godsey barn and shipping to Colonial each summer and if she does so here again, she could compete a lucrative exacta.
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