Colonial Downs Analysis – September 1st, 2023 – By Michael Domabyl

It’s a fun card on Friday at Colonial Downs complete with a very competitive late pick five sequence. I’ve written up analysis on the majority of the races in that wager, so let’s see if we can get a ticket home.

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

Colonial Downs Race 5: Uncle Andrew (#9)

It’s a pretty wide open turf sprint to kick off the late pick five on Friday. Lucci (#1) is a deserved favorite going out for a solid turf sprint trainer in Michael Moore. Like many of Moore’s best turf sprinters, this gelding has an abundance of early speed and should be clear of this field early on. While he’s had success at this 5.5f distance in the past, I’m concerned taking him as the favorite when he has to navigate a distance slightly further than his best. My Boy Blue (#3) is in raging form right now and must also be respected. He has strung together two wins at the meet for owner/trainer Lilli Kurtinecz, but takes another step up the class ladder into starter allowance company. Slippin Jimmy (#4) is an interesting case because this barn rarely claims horses, but decided to dip in for $8k and grab this 7YO gelding away from a hot barn in Sarah Nagle. If he can maintain his form from earlier in the meet, he’s dangerous and it appears that he’s worked quickly since joining the McCutchen barn. However, in a race that’s this wide open I’d rather look for a price and landed on Uncle Andrew (#9). I thought this gelding ran really well at long odds in the Punch Line Stakes on the opening Saturday of the meet. He ran into a really good turf sprinter that day as Determined Kingdom ran away and hid from that field. Uncle Andrew just missed second to Embolden who came back to take an N1X allowance later in the meet and finished nearly five lengths ahead of multiple stakes winner Boldor. He does his best running when outside of horse and didn’t get that opportunity until late in his last start at Laurel. I like the outside draw for him today and should get some pace to run at.

Colonial Downs Race 6: Flop Shot (Ire) (#1)

It’s hard to see anyone outside of the three shortest prices on the morning line winning the 6th race today, but it’s the longest price of those that I think is the most likely winner. Flop Shot (Ire) (#1) has faced much tougher fields than this one in his two starts over the flat this year. Two-back he lost to Doctor Davis who has finally been able to realize some of his early promise turning into a stakes-quality colt for the Arnaud Delacour barn. Flop Shot also finished just behind Eons who came back to win a stakes at Laurel with a massive speed figure. Last time out, he didn’t get the best pace setup finishing behind Win for the Money (who wasn’t disgraced when 5th in the Arlington Million) and Glider (who came back to win a race on the Million Day undercard). It appears Flop Shot is still nearly as good at age 7 as he was when running in high-level allowances for the Chad Brown barn earlier in his career. No One to Blame (#2) is certainly dangerous for the meet’s leading trainer Michael Trombetta, but was really with the race flow in both of his starts this year. The same can be said for Carronade (#7) who got a wicked pace to close into in his win over the course on August 12th.

Colonial Downs Race 8: Starlifter (#6)

My eye is drawn to the runners dropping in for a tag for the first time in this 2YO maiden claiming event, but the morning line favorite Pirate Radio (#8) isn’t necessarily one of them. While the Casse barn has had a fantastic meet, this is a runner who has surely disappointed thus far. With already having two starts under his belt, he’s less likely than some of today’s rivals to take the pronounced step forward he needs to in order to win this race. Masterofhiscraft (#10) exits the same race as Pirate Radio and essentially ran equally as well as that rival on debut. He’s more liable to improve at second asking and put forth an eye-catching work six days ago. My top pick is going to be Starlifter (#6) for a barn that I’ve mentioned a few times as having a banner year with his 2YO’s in Phil Schoenthal. This gelding ran uncovered for most of his journey on debut and was still trying hard in the lane. I think you could see the lightbulb coming on for this guy late in the stretch and it signaled to me he’s ready to take a step forward in his second start. Another one that intrigues me is King’s River (#3) and while not my top pick, is one I’d want on most of my tickets. This gelding looks like he needed his debut as he was off slow and caught wide in behind on a track that was carrying speed. Now he switches to the turf and with his unraced dam being sired by G1W turf miler Data Link, there are enough signs that he’ll handle it and it doesn’t hurt to have Forest Boyce in the saddle.

Colonial Downs Race 9: Battle of Bastogne (#1)

Based on the morning line, there are two horses projected to take all the money in the nightcap with Rennie (#8) and More Than Five (#9) the only runners sitting below 8-1. Of the two, I much prefer the latter and view him as very much the one to beat. This gelding got a nice run in over the dirt earlier in the meet and now returns to what I believe is his preferred surface. While I’ll use him prominently, the fact he’s never sprinted on turf before and could be a bit outrun early on is enough of a reason to avoid making him my top pick. In both of the last two starts for Rennie, he’s lost to a Mike Trombetta runner and I think that will be the case again today. Battle of Bastogne (#1) faced a pretty decent field for the level in his last start at Laurel and I like him as the new face in this group. Trombetta has racked up the wins in turf sprints this meet and this gelding has a similar look to many of the ones who have had success. There are two others I’d want to include somewhere at even longer odds. I doubt Code Name (#3) ends up going off anywhere near his 20-1 morning line with such high profile connections attached, but there was enough to like from his debut to think he’s worth including. This gelding was bet down to 9-5 before being “speed-and-fade” in his first start over a Laurel dirt track that was tilted towards outside closers. As a son of the British bred Noble Mission, he should be able to handle the switch to the grass and could be the proverbial speed-of-the-speed. I’d rather take Band Leader (#2) than Rennie out of their common races since this guy has better positional speed. The low-prifile connections will guarantee he’s another big price.



Meet Statistics

Top Pick: 191-54-37-32 (28%, $1.68); Featured Horses: 78-14-16-14 (18%, $0.98)
Percent of Races Won By: A’s: 49%; B’s: 25%; C’s: 21%; X’s: 5%

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