There’s another six races scheduled for Saturday night in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The feature tonight is the second race, which is an optional claiming/N2X allowance sprint at five furlongs on the turf. The rails are set at 17 feet tonight, making the maximum field size 10 horses this evening. The first race will be going off at 7:00 PM (ET).
I’ll be covering this meet for the second straight year on the ITM Blog, along with posting some updates and thoughts from time to time on Twitter @EricSolomon718. Feel free to reach out!
|Race||Top Pick||A||B||C||Exotics Menu|
|1||3||3,6||DBL, PK3, PK6|
|2||5||5||1,3||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|3||7||1,7,12||8||DBL, PK3, PK4|
The night starts with a state bred maiden special weight sprint at five furlongs. I was on Delightful Ava (#3) in her debut with $25K-$20K maiden claimers at the beginning of the meet. She showed a little early interest before fading to third that evening. Hector Diaz comes back for Kent Sweezy, who has good numbers with second time starters. I like the pedigree for turf sprints, especially in a race where there isn’t a ton of horses bred to get this kind of trip. Fixed Odds (#6) at 2-1 on the morning line, is the favorite, while trying grass for the first time. She’s been a speed and fade type in her three tries on the dirt at this level when going slightly longer distances. There is some turf pedigree there as well, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see her take to this surface, however, be mindful that at short odds, she’s being asked to do something she;s never done before.
Fore Harp (#5) feels like the most likely winner on the card in this optional claiming/N2X allowance sprint. I don’t see there being any real speed to go with him early. For the most part, the inner part of the course seemed to be in better shape than the outer lanes last night. We’ll see if that holds true tonight with the rails coming out to 17 feet. This Weigelia gelding tried the turf for the first time three back at Saratoga and was a decent third in $35K N3L claiming company. He went on to starter allowance level, where he tired late to be 4th there. He came to Parx where they only run five furlong sprints, and he went right to the front and never looked back when clearing the N1X level. I think this distance suits him better than the 5 and ½ furlongs he was getting in New York. I’ll cover with both Bam Bam Blu (#1) and Society Boy (#3) on some deeper tickets. If the top pick gets hammered at the windows, I might be a little more aggressive with how I use this duo. Both horses are nice runners that are coming off wins in N1X allowance company. I am concerned that both could be pace compromised tonight though.
I think Anvil (#7) is a solid play in this $25K-$20K maiden claiming race at one mile. He was sent off at 124-1 last out at Colonial Downs when facing maiden special weight types going 10 furlongs there. He was beaten by some well-meant runners that day, finishing 3rd, beaten 11 lengths. I think the cutback and drop in class should help this son of Suntracer at this level. His sire, who is sired by Kitten’s Joy, hasn’t sired many, but his runners have won at a 24% in turf routes. I think he can build off his last race, which was a career best. Southern Civility (#1) scratched at Aqueduct the other day when that race came off the turf. He’s going to be stretching out to two turns for the first time after finishing 5th with $40K maiden claimers there last out when traveling six furlongs. He’s clearly better on the grass and the pedigree is there to translate to getting longer distances on turf. Left On Boylston (#12) is on the outside looking in, stuck on the AE list here. He’s another NYRA invader that is dropping in class after running some credible efforts there. The wide draw will not be a picnic, but I do think he’ll be a factor if he’s running. Tap the Candy (#8) is the morning line favorite and the likely post time favorite. He’s been somewhat of a money burner up to this point in his career, so 5-2 is going to be too short for me at this level. However, he would be worth using as a back up on some deeper plays.
Lady Simpatia (#3) takes a deep drop in class, going from $25K-$20K N2L claiming company to this $7,500-$6,500 N2L race going five furlongs. Her previous two efforts at Delaware were good enough to win this race. She handled a course labeled good at Delaware when breaking her maiden three starts ago. She was a competitive 7th when facing optional claiming/N1X allowance foes two back. She folded up quickly in her last race over at Monmouth when facing a better group than what she’ll be up against tonight. Moon Party (#4) has three career turf sprints on her resume. Two of those efforts were solid, while the other one sandwiched in between was a disaster. She proved she can win from off the pace, which could be valuable asset with this field. Jairo Rendon timed his ride perfectly with her last time out and he’ll get the return call tonight. I do like playing horses that have had success on this course, and the only runner in this field to break there maiden here is Little Red Button (#6). She’s been held winless in her last 8 starts after scoring with $25K-$20K maiden claimers last October. She came close at Monmouth two starts back when facing $16K-$14K N2L claimers when going a mile. She’s back sprinting tonight for the first time since moving to Darien Rodriguez’s barn. I like her here, but I do feel that her 7-2 morning line figure feels too light for a race like this.
Fillies and mares sprint five furlongs in this optional $20K claiming/N1X allowance race. Rambert (#10) was cross-entered in the Honey Bee Stakes last night and wound up defecting from that race in favor of this spot. She has five career starts under her belt, finishing second four times and winning once. She just missed with state bred stakes company in her last start at Colonial Downs. She’s drawn wide, but should have enough speed to get herself into a contending spot before they hit the turn. Her skipping out yesterday and staying her, makes it harder for either Mispelled Mooon (#11) or Opeongo (#12) to compete in this race tonight. Both are on the also-eligible list, but both should definitely be considered if they race. Mispelled Mooon would be my top pick if she’s running. She was very good when breaking her maiden at Monmouth early on in the summer. She went up to Saratoga where she finished in the money twice while running in starter allowance company. Six furlongs might have been a little too far for her, so the cutback to five furlongs seems like a good idea. Opeongo starts for Kevin Patterson who is winning at a 31% clip this year. He does very well with his turf sprinters. This mare has won 18-48 of her starts. On deeper plays if these two don’t get to run, Band Sweetheart (#5) often gets close, but hasn’t finished first in a long time. She ran very well on this course last year, losing in a photo. Jomar Torres will likely need to get his timing just right, but I think she can hang with these. Miss Sakamoto (#9) makes her first start since April for Christophe Clement. With the added moisture on the course, this race might be more demanding than Clement could have expected. I think she’ll be better once she heads back to Florida. However, she’s not without a shot tonight.
Eight are entered in this $10K maiden claiming contest, sprinting five furlongs. I had a tough time making a case for the longer priced horses in this race. I ended up using the three shorter priced runners, making Almond Cider (#7) my top pick. He almost pulled off a 94-1 shocker with $16K-$14K maiden claimers three weeks ago at Monmouth. Rafael Schistl has taken over for John McAllen as the trainer of the Kingdom Racing horses, and I’ve noticed that many of them have been running better, while going off at solid prices. Looking at this modest group, I’m not sure we’ll do any better than his 3-1 morning line figure, but he showed enough in his first turf sprint to make me think that he can run a similar race tonight. Get Them Digits (#4) ships in from Colonial Downs for Ferris Allen after finishing third with $16K maiden claimers there. He was part of a contested pace while breaking from a wide gate. Like Almond Cider, that was his first try in a turf sprint, and progeny of Dialed In win 12% of the time when sprinting on the turf. The Big Calico (#6) might be a notch below the top two, but he’s worth including on this ticket because the other two are going to have to prove they can run back to their last races. He dropped into $16K-$14K maiden claiming company last time out. Suit of Armor, who beat him that day, was a professional maiden , but he was running figures that were significantly better than the runners in this field. He’ll need to step forward, but he’s playable with this group, especially if his odds float over the 5-2 morning line.
Pick-5, $54 Ticket:
The ticket that I’ve put together costs $54, but there are three also-eligibles on that wager, meaning that the cost is likely to drop. Fore Harp (#2, R5) will be the lynchpin of this operation in the first leg. I don’t see anyone going with him early and catching him late in that race. If Mispelled Mooon (#11, R6) or Openogo (#12, R6) are excluded from the race, Band Sweetheart (#5, R6) or Miss Sakamoto (#9) could be viable replacements.