The six race Friday program gets under way at 5:00 PM, Eastern Time. Three of the six races tonight are carded for the turf. There didn’t appear to be a ton of rain in the area this week, so I’m thinking all three races will go off as planned on the grass. The feature race comes up early in Race 2, which is an optional claiming/N1X allowance race for fillies and mares going five furlongs on the main track.
|1||7||2||8,9 (AE)||DBL, PK3, PK6|
|2||1,2||6||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|3||1,3,4||2||DBL, PK3, PK4|
Race 1: Top Pick: 7
New Jersey bred fillies and mares run under maiden special weight conditions in the first of three races carded for the turf this evening. Nine are entered here, but only eight will run, with the rails being all the way out. Five of the nine ran in a race at this condition on 7/23, and the winner of that race, Ask Around, came back to blow up the toteboard, and beat state bred optional claiming/allowance foes to end the card here last Friday night. I’m not interested in any of the new shooters that drew into the body of the field, so I’m expecting this race to be formful, with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, place finishers of the 7/23 race, making the most sense. Rob The Treasure (7) seems to have the most upside and, barring anything crazy happening at the windows, she’ll be the shortest price. She had some early issues when Paco Lopez had to tap on the breaks while jockeying for position, but she still carved out a decent trip, sitting off a slower pace. Paco swing her three wide on the final turn, and she took the lead, while battling Ask Around, but that filly had a little more left. She was clearly better than both Ageless Artist (2) and Moon Unit Zapper (8) in that race and should be better in her third race off the layoff. Ageless Artist closed well to get third, closing into a slow pace. She, too, is making her third start of a layoff, and has some efforts at Tampa that would get her close in here. I’m thinking the pace will be slow again, unless one of the new shooters forces the issue. Moon Unit Zapper had everything her way, and still couldn’t muster up a better finish than 4th in that race. She had post two that day and now gets a wide draw, meaning that she might have to be used a little harder in the opening stages. She still should be able to secure an early lead, and I don’t see too many back markers making a legitimate challenge here. Trainer James Frangella sent out a pair of fillies that he owns and trains in a state bred maiden special weight race at 6 Furlongs on the dirt to debut on 7/24. Rachel Caroline (6) ran the better race, finishing a distant second to Pomtini that day, however, her stablemate, Big Lee’s Legacy (9) has the better pedigree for two turns and grass. She’ll need help to draw in, but if she does compete, she’d be the one I’d take a little flyer on, and maybe add to some deeper multi-race tickets.
Race 2: Top Pick: 2
The Friday Pick-5 starts with feature race on the program, which is an optional $16K claiming/N1X allowance for fillies and mares, dashing five furlongs on the main track. None of the seven entered here have really shown an ability to pass horses, which leads me to believe that speed will be king here. I think the Parx based mare, My Best Friend (2) can get the job done to clear this condition today. She was bumped pretty hard out of the gate when facing New York breds at the state bred N1X level last month over at Belmont. Prior to that, she won her 2021 debut on the front end, beating optional claiming/starter allowance foes at Parx going 6 and ½ Furlongs in gate to wire fashion. She’s had some trouble staying sound, as she was away from January 2019 to June 2020. She won her only race in 2020, and then was back on the shelf for almost another full year. She makes her third start off the layoff now and will be tough if she can rebound from her last. Fouette (1) is the main danger on the rail and the one most likely to battle My Best Friend for the early lead. She was third to a nice filly, Liam’s Light, thirteen days ago, when going six furlongs at the N1X condition. She backed out late finish third in her last two. Her best speed figure came in a race in the mud, so she’d be one to upgrade if the track comes up sloppy (in the event of a pop-up storm). She Answered (6) is coming off a big effort in N2L allowance company at Delaware last month, earning a career top speed figure. However, from a visual standpoint, she was under an all-out ride from the 3/8 pole, and was never really gaining on the winner, who was the favorite who sat a perfect trip, just off the longshot pacesetter. Jorge Duarte has brought many live horses here, winning with 9 of 20 of them. Perhaps the cutback in distance will help, but I think she’ll be too short of a price for me in this spot today.
Race 3: Top Pick: 4
$16K-$14K maiden claimers dash five furlongs on the grass to start the Pick-4. It’s interesting that the horse that would likely be the favorite on the turf, Will to Shy (9), is entered as a main track only horse here. Beach Warrior (1) and Make a Move (3) are the two principals in here, and I’ll definitely use both on the multi-race tickets, but this race feels ripe for a longshot. I’m going to swing for the fences and try Fitts (4), who makes his third start of the month already and tries his first turf sprint. He was last of ten in his only turf try, but that race was with better horses. He was also making his first ever two turn start, and doing so while making his first start in right months. He showed some brief zip last out on the dirt, while cutting back to a sprint. He’s bred by Maclean’s Music out of a Cozzene mare, so there’s reason to believe that formula could translate to a turf sprint, especially at this level, where it won’t take a huge effort to win. Veteran rider Deidre Panas has two wins at the meet, and both came in turf races. If he goes off near his 30-1 morning line odds, I think he’s definitely worth trying for a few bucks and adding to the multi-race tickets. Make a Move is likely to make a forward move in his second race off the layoff. He faded to third when going 5 and ½ Furlongs at this level on August 1st. His sprints are definitely better than his two turns races in his form line, and he probably finds his softest field yet. Beach Warrior has several efforts that would be fast enough to win at this level. He had some traffic trouble early on in his race two weeks ago for $30K-$25K maiden claimers at this distance on the grass. He was 5th, beaten less than two lengths that day in a wild finish. He is dropping to the lowest level yet in his career in his second start since the Patricia Farro claim. On deeper tickets, Jama Dillon (2) comes back from Colonial to make his first start in a one turn turf sprint. He’ll have to improve, as his form this year is trending in the wrong direction. However, he’s one that makes sense while cutting back from a pedigree standpoint, and his trainer, Douglas Nunn, has been hot at this meet, winning 27% of his races.
Race 4: Top Pick: 1
I’d have to think that Nick The Cardshark (1) is better that what he showed last time out, when running at this multi-conditioned $5K claiming level. He was definitely flat last month, finishing last of six, when Jersey Joe B threw down the gauntlet early, and kept finding throughout the stretch. Prior to that, he ran three sharp races, all of which would be very competitive with this field. Jose Delgado claimed this seven year old gelding that has 11 wins in 62 career starts and has finished on the board 30 times overall. He has shown the ability to rebound from poor efforts in the past, and should be able to do so again here. It’s a Risk (3) was claimed two back at this level when he ran 5th in the same Jersey Joe B race that Nick the Cardshark is coming out of. He ran against better last out two weeks ago, and finished 5th again, after being bumped hard early and failing to get close to the lead, where he likes to be. He was a determined winner here three back at this level. He is running for a low percentage barn that has yet to win in 2021, with a limited number of starters. However, Isaac Castillo, who continues to ride well at this meet, retains the mount as he drops back to this $5K claiming level. Karen’s Cove (2) is another off the board runner in the 7/23 race at this condition. He was making his local debut after shipping north from Gulfstream, where he had run some solid races with similar fields. He was claimed by Juan Avila that day, who is going to try to get him back to the form he was in the spring. On deeper tickets, Irish Roar (8) might appreciate the return to the main track. He’s coming out of a pair of turf races here, neither of which is anything to write home about. All four of his career wins have come on the main track, with the most recent being at Finger Lakes in June. He’s capable of stepping up and running big races from time to time, and it wouldn’t shock me if he did so in with this field.
Race 5: Top Pick: 2
Multi-conditioned $30K-$25K claimers go 1 Mile and 1/16 in the final grass contest of the evening. I think a few of the three year olds have the advantage over the older horses that have never won twice in this spot. T Minus Ten (2) faced a considerably better field of allowance foes in his last start at Delaware. He had trouble at the top of the backstretch, steadying off heels and never really looking like he had a comfortable spot to run. Two back, he outran his long odds at Pimlico when facing optional claiming/starter allowance foes in his second career turf race. He won his turf debut three back at Penn National, beating a softer field of $16K N2L claimers. He continues his Mid-Atlantic tour today, stopping at his 4th track in four starts, and he drops to a level where he should be able to find success. I think he can work out a stalking trip from his inside draw here. Mister Leonardo (8) was away slow in an off the turf allowance sprint in his local debut last month. He ran some quality races at Gulfstream earlier in the year at two turns on the grass, running well in open $35K claiming company in races strictly for three year olds. He’s been overmatched when facing allowance company in his last two starts, so I believe he’ll appreciate the class relief today. Shore Magic (6) is likely to be the post time favorite for Christophe Clement and Paco Lopez. He makes his first start since September when he was last seen finishing a close 5th with $50K N2L claimers on the grass at Belmont. He is the class of this field, but he has no early foot, and it remains to be seen how strong he’ll come back after being away for eleven months. I’ll cover with him on some of the deeper the multi-race wagers, but I think there’s value trying to beat him.
Race 6: Top Pick: 7
The nightcap is a multi-conditioned $12,500-$10,500 claiming race for fillies and mares going 1 Mile and 1/16 on the main track. I like One Night Stand (7) moving up in class and making her first start off the Rory Huston claim. She battled with R B C Gold in her last start all the way around, before falling back late, while still holding second. She was on the outside of the winner that day. She ran a better race when stalking the pace from a midpack position two back and making one run, narrowly missing to a next out winner in Paddy’s Princess. She’s had wide trips in her last two starts, and breaking from post seven isn’t ideal. Mychel Sanchez will have to work out a trip, but I think she can be the one to beat here. Absolute Anna (8) is another one making her first start since being claimed. She was slow to get in stride in a sprint last out at this level, when Matunuck was a much the best winner. Kelly Breen claimed her and gets her back to two turns. Her two most successful races have come at one turn, but she seems like a horse that will be better a two turns. Her route races all came at Oaklawn against significantly better competition, so even though she’s never hit the board in those races, I think she still has the ability to get the distance. Lady Normandy (5) was the easiest of winners, winning the way a 3-5 favorite should win when breaking her maiden in a soft $10K maiden claiming field. She definitely has a forward move in her, but the question is if that forward move is good enough to win at this level. Paco Lopez keeps the mount, which suggests that the value might not be as it should for her. I’ll be watching the tote to see if we can get better than her 3-1 morning line figure.
Friday Pick-5 Play: $48 Ticket
Race 2: 1, 2
Race 3: 1, 2, 3, 4
Race 4: 1, 2, 3
Race 5: 2, 8
Race 6: 7, 8
Meet Stats: 91/341 (Top Pick Winners) – $571.50 / $1.68 ROI per $2 win bet