The Wednesday card features eight races, half of which are carded on the turf. I think the races in the late Pick-5 could be very formful this afternoon. The Grade 2 Jessamine is the nightcap and the last Win and You’re In race for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. There’s an overflow field of 16, with as many as 14 that can run. The favorite, Turnerloose, will be tough in that race, but it’s juvenile race with 14 horses, so there’s definitely some prices worth taking a look at.
Best Bet: #2 Naval Laughter (Race 6, 10-1 ML)
Best Price Stab: #2 California Angel (Race 8, 30-1 ML)
|4||1,7||DBL, PK3, PK5,
|5||1,6||DBL, PK3, PK4|
Race 4: Top Pick: 1
The first leg of the late Pick-5 starts with a 12 Furlong N2X allowance race on the turf for fillies and mares. For me, I think there’s two logical horses to use to get you out of this race. Stand Tall (1) has a distinct class advantage in this race. She’s been running quality races against better fillies and mares with names like Family Way, Micheline, and War Like Goddess in her running lines. She ran a credible 5th in stakes company last time out at Kentucky Downs, when making her first start in almost three months. She’s won twice at Keeneland, once on the turf to break her maiden and again this spring, clearing the N1X condition in an off the turf race. She’s going longer than she’s ever gone before, but she has run like a horse that will stay at the distance. She runs as a coupled entry with First Course (1A), who I don’t love, but she is a track and distance winner, so I don’t mind getting the free insurance. Honor Hop (7) is the main danger, coming here in very good form. She moves up in class after winning at the N1X level going 1 Mile and 5/16 at Kentucky Downs last out. She got a little tired late at this distance at Churchill back in June, but I think she’s a better filly now.
Race 5: Top Pick: 1
It’s hard to look past One Fast Cat (6) for Wesley Ward in this $50K N2L claiming race who has been faster than most of these in his two career dirt races. He was very good in N1X allowance company here in the spring meet, finishing third, beaten less than a length when making his first start on dirt. He tired late at that level with a strong group on the Derby undercard at Churchill, and he’s been away since. Clearly, he’s had some physical issues, evidenced by some gaps in his worktab. He had two drills in July, and then didn’t resurface in the morning again until September. He was purchased for $145K, so the drop in to $50K claiming company is a little bit concerning as well. I’ll use him prominently on my tickets, but I’ll try Storming Lion (1) for Mike Maker as my top pick. He makes his first start as three year old and he appears to be the most likely horse to be rolling late. He was very good in two dirt starts at Churchill in the fall of his two year old season. Maker claimed him in November and broke his maiden right away 18 days later. He went back to the grass at Gulfstream, where clearly something went wrong, as he’s been unraced since. He adds Lasix and gets Gaffalione for his return today where four of his five rivals seem to want the front. That could be the right recipe for him today.
Race 6: Top Pick: 2
There’s another N2X race for fillies and mares on the grass, but this one goes at a mile. It’s not very often you get a Grade 3 winner in a race like this, but Naval Laughter (2) cleared the N1X condition when she won the Modesty back in July. She made her first start of the year on polytrack at Arlington back in June and she decimated a maiden special weight field by 19+ lengths. She was caught late in her next start at the N1X level, also on synthetic when that race was taken off the turf. She got on the grass for the first time in the Modesty, where she proved that she can win when stalking the pace. She faltered in her last start in the Grade 1 Beverly D. against the likes of the late Santa Barbara and Mean Mary. Her trainer, Christopher Davis, has had a career year, and if she is right, she’s probably better than the other eleven she’s up against. Unless someone unexpected is sent hard early, she also has a considerable pace advantage. She’s listed at 10-1 on the morning line, so maybe that may create some hidden value in the Pick-5, but my suspicion is that she’ll be much shorter odds at post time. Empress Eleanor (5) was a winner in a thrilling N1X allowance race where she dead-heated with Enjoyitwhilewecan, who runs in Race 4 today (and was beaten by Naval Laughter in the Modesty). She has been close in her three tries at this level, where she has run into some talented rivals. The same might be true today, but she’s shown that she has developed some tactical speed that should help her here. She can also close if the pace is unexpectedly lively.
Race 7: Top Pick: 5
It’s been a rough start to the meet for Steve Asmussen, going 0-15 during the first three days, but I think he could get off the duck with Swiftsure (5) in this optional claiming/N2X allowance race restricted to three year olds. He makes his first start since fading to 7th when trying two turns in the Grade 3 Lexington here in April. He caught a sloppy track that day and was part of a ridiculously fast pace in that race. He looked very good when dominating a good maiden special weight field at the Fair Grounds to win on debut back in November. He came back in January to easily clear the N1X condition, beating a salty group of sprinters at Oaklawn. He returns today to face some quality sprinters, but I feel like he has more upside than anyone else in this spot. Asmussen has been on a roll with sprinters on the main track in his barn over the last few years, and he might have yet another good one here. Therideofalifetime (2) tried the turf and two turns when facing Grade 1 company in the Bruce D. at Arlington last out. He finished 6th, and while he didn’t embarrass himself by any means, one turn racing on the dirt is where he has thrived. He has enough tactical speed to stay within striking distance of the front runners, but he could very easily sit the perfect trip off the speed, and run them down in that final furlong. On deeper tickets, I’ll use the entry of Upstriker (1) and Kinetic Sky (1A). Upstriker didn’t run his race in the Jersey Shore Stakes at Monmouth last out, not challenging for the early lead in a speed laden race. He’s never run well when he’s been off the pace, and drawing the rail commits Luis Saez to send him to the front. There’s a lot of speed signed on to his outside, so if he can outsprint them early, he may be able to keep finding while taking the shortest path home. Kinetic Sky is a definite wild card in here, running at one turn for the first time in his eight race career. He was very good back in June when clearing the N1X condition at Churchill. He was overmatched at Mountaineer in the West Virginia Derby, and has been away from the races since. His pedigree definitely leans sprint, so I wouldn’t be shocked to see him run well here.
Race 8: The JP Morgan Chase Jessamine Stakes: Top Pick: 14
This 14 horse scramble is the last race in the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In series, giving the winner a fees paid berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and Mares Turf on Future Stars Friday. This sequence could be very chalky today, so this is the most logical place to maybe catch a price. The morning line favorite is Turnerloose (3) for Brad Cox and Florent Geroux. She has a pair of wins in one mile turf races at Ellis and Kentucky Downs, the latter coming in stakes company. She wants to be forwardly placed in a race that doesn’t have much early speed. She makes a ton of sense, but her speed figures suggest that she’s not miles ahead of these. She’ll be on my multi-race tickets for sure, but I’ll try to beat her in some of the vertical wagers. Diamond Wow (14) will be my top pick, despite a brutal draw. She has enough speed to hopefully secure a decent position on or near the lead in the early stages of this race without conceding too much ground. She’s undefeated in two starts and she’s from the same family as dual surface graded stakes winner, Diamond Oops. Mike Smith gets the mount on this filly that opted out of the Alcibiades on Opening Day in favor of this spot. Her debut on the grass was solid and she improved in an off the turf stakes race last out at 7 Furlongs on the dirt. I don’t worry about her getting the distance, and we’ve seen over the years that post 14 is not necessarily a death sentence on this course. I’ll still want every bit of the 8-1 (or better) on her, but I believe she has a definite shot. California Angel (2) and Misthaven (10) are both graduates from maiden special weight races at Kentucky Downs where each filly overcame some notable trouble to go on to win at first asking. California Angel is a significantly better price on the morning line at 30-1. I thought her debut was very good after getting bumped hard shortly after the break and being relegated to the back of the pack. She made a sustained middle move and then was able to re-break and surge in the final furlong to pull away as a much the best winner. I don’t get the second start at 6 Furlongs on the dirt, but she finished well to be 3rd that day. She comes back to a longer race on the grass, and the two turn trip should be a plus for her. I’d like to see her use her post to secure a better early spot on the stretch out. If she does, she has proven that she can finish well. Misthaven had some issues as well, checking a few times in the first quarter mile in her debut in a 6 and ½ Furlong sprint. Joel Rosario was very patient on her, waiting to make his move and then getting her to accelerate late. The pace was not particularly fast, so I like that she was still able to make up so much ground. This will be a big test for her in her second career start, but Sharp does well getting his horses to stretch out and being sired by Candy Ride tells me that 1 Mile and 1/16 shouldn’t be an issue. Both horses on the also-eligible list are worth paying attention to if they draw into the body of the field. Haughty (16) was a much the best winner in a one mile contest at Belmont last month, but she veered in and potentially cost another runner a placing, thus warranting her disqualification. She cost her owners $310K, so it makes sense that she tries stakes company here instead of trying another maiden special weight race. She’ll most likely be in post 14 if she starts, so that’s no bargain. However, she likely has a higher ceiling than many of those in the body of this field. Blissful (15) won on debut at Saratoga in August for Cherie DeVaux. DeVaux already had one winner on the grass at this meet, and this Empire Maker filly is clearly well meant. I would think Saez would wind up on her instead of Roughly A Diamond (5) if she does draw in.
Pick 5 Wagering Strategy: I feel this sequence could be pretty chalky , so I’d probably increase the base wager for the All A’s ticket. I’ll put these tickets together assuming that neither AE in Race 8 draws in and then if they do, I’d adjust accordingly.
All A’s: ($32.00 for base wager of $1.00)
4 A’s 1 B: ($16.00 for base wager of $0.50)
4 A’s and 1 C: ($8.00 for $0.50 base wager)