The Sunday card offers thirteen races, highlighted by the Rainbow Heir Stakes, which is a turf sprint for three year olds and upward at 5 and ½ Furlongs. However, all eyes will be on Hurricane or Tropical Storm Henri. As of now, the Oceanport area is expected to be impacted with heavy rains and winds throughout the day. The annual Classic Car Show event was scheduled for today, but track management rescheduled that for September 19th. I’ll share my opinions for the both surfaces for the races carded for the turf, and I’ll handicap the dirt races for an off track, but don’t be surprised if this card is cancelled. I will link a video tomorrow morning if the card is a go. I had to unexpectedly travel back from Rhode Island a day early, spending several extra hours in the car due to traffic related to the storm.
EDIT: As expected, today’s card has been cancelled due to the storm. Racing resumes Friday, August 27th.
|1||Turf: 2,5||Dirt: 2,3||1||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|2||1,5||3,6||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|4||Turf: 1,3,9||Dirt: 6,11||10||2||DBL, PK3|
|6||Turf: 2, 6, 7||Dirt: 4,5||5||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|8||Turf: 4||Dirt: 8||3||1,12||10||DBL, PK3, PK6|
|9||1,5,9||8||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|10||Turf: 4,7,9||Dirt: 10||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|12||Turf: 6,9||Dirt: 10,11||1||9||DBL|
Race 1: Top Pick: 5 (Turf) / 3 (Dirt)
The day starts with a New Jersey bred maiden special weight race on the grass, where six of the eight were defeated by the heavy favorite, Kratos, in the 7/25 race at this condition. There’s no one of that stature in this race. I would think that Leo Monte (5) has the most upside of any here. He ran 6th that day when making his first start at two turns and first try on grass. He was part of the early pace, but he couldn’t stick with Kratos, and faded to 6th, beaten only 4 and ½ lengths. Others might have a more forward turf pedigree, but I think he can build off a respectable try last out. Pal (2) was the best of the rest in that 7/25 race. He got within a length of that very promising young New Jersey bred last out. His first two starts as a five year old have shown some growth from his four year old campaign, so this race might just be his turn. However, he’ll be a short priced favorite as a maiden making his 12th career start.
On the main track, Steel Pier (3) could be one to upgrade as he showed improvement in his first two races at this level when sprinting on the main track. He tried the turf at two turns last out and faltered after getting a wide trip. He draws inward today and should run a better race on the dirt. Pal (2) has shown enough on both surfaces to still be the heavy favorite. He was a decent third in an off the turf race at this level last year. Cash Kid (1) would also be one that is worth upgrading. He has shown improvement in his last two starts, one in the mud and the other on grass. He could be starting to figure things out.
Race 2: Top Pick: 5
There are many ways to go in this $5K multi-conditioned claiming contest, but I’m leaning toward House Arrest (5) to rebound after a dull effort when he was cooked in pace duel with better last out. He was a winner at the $8K-$7K N4L claiming level two back when he defeated the next out winner, Plato. He finds a field where he clearly has the best early speed, and Montalvo might be able to get away with some slow fractions. He has 4 wins in 6 starts on this oval, so you know he likes racing here. Paul the Waiter (1) drops after running a decent third with better last out. He races for the lowest level in his career, so he could very easily just be better than this group. He’s in his third race off the layoff and is another live mount for trainer Claudio Gonzalez. Allied Invasion (3) has been decent at this meet, winning twice already. His game is coming from off the pace, and he got the right setup last out when he cleared the N3L claiming condition, scoring at 15-1. He’ll likely need someone to push House Arrest early to have a legitimate chance of winning, but he still is a player underneath, especially on a wet track. William Crotty (6) was running quality races with similar fields at Tampa over the winter. His starts at this meet have been up and down. His last was not good, but he had trouble at different points in that race, so his dull effort could be forgiven. If the price is right on him, he could be upgraded as well.
Race 3: Top Pick: 5
There’s a lot of early speed signed on in what looks like a very good multi-conditioned claiming race for three year olds and upward at 6 Furlongs. Race Craft (5) should be beneficiary of that hot pace, as he came within a length of getting to Algebraic (3) in allowance company last out when they finished 4th and 3rd, respectively. Algebraic, who has been very good at this meet, is going to have to deal with Portal One (1) to his inside and both R Goodtime Charlie (4) and Don’tlosemymoney (8) on the outside. Race Craft was closing fast into that fast pace last out and could definitely get the same set up here. Algebraic has shown the ability to handle pace pressure, so he’s still worth using, as he’s a head and a neck away from being 4-4 at this meet. Don’tlosemymoney is cross entered in a PA bred stakes race at Parx on Monday. He drew wide in that race and is 15-1, so he has the better chance of winning here, but he’d be offered up for the tag. If he doesn’t go here, that makes life easier on Algebraic. He is still a threat if he goes here though, as his race two back was very good.
Race 4: Top Pick: 1 (Turf) / 6 (Dirt)
We get our first local look at maiden two year olds on the turf at two turns in this race. I usually prefer horses with experience in these races, but I’ve seen little on the track and not much grass pedigrees of those with experience to make me think they’ll be successful here. I’m going with three first time starters. Chad Brown sends out a pair, Rio King (1) and Unanimous Consent (9) and both have turf forward pedigrees. They have been working well here, with a strong foundation of drills on the main track. Rio King is likely to get the easier trip, breaking from the rail, where Unanimous Consent was the choice of Paco Lopez. Brown had a winner yesterday when sending out a pair of three year olds that made their debuts on grass. Cedar Beach (3) debuts for Mike Dini and is owned by Ballybrit Stables. They sent out a first time starter yesterday by Long Island Sound in a turf sprint. That one came up empty in a race that was dominated by a two year old filly with a pedigree that was suited to the surface and distance. I think that one could be a productive turf sire and offers decent value with a $5K stud fee. I think his horses will appreciate longer distances, and American players might not recognize that name yet, allowing for better value.
On dirt, Midnight Chrome (6) becomes the one to beat. He faced a promising colt, Defend, who won by eight widening lengths, in his debut in a sprint on the main track at Delaware. While his sire, California Chrome, was a Grade 1 winner on turf and dirt, I prefer his horses on the main track. John Servis does very well with second time starters, and the added distance shouldn’t be an issue. Servis also sends out Bossman Jones (11), a homebred from the same connections as their Kentucky Derby winner, Smarty Jones. He’s on the also eligible list, but I’d think he’d be able to run if this race comes off the turf, as I’m sure there would be at least one scratch. This one should be able to handle an off track without any issue. Star Bhai Union (10) debuted in the mud here last month for Anthony Margotta. He hopped at the start and spotted the field several lengths. I feel he’s one that would benefit from the added distance as a son of Union Rags out of a Smart Strike mare. He’s Got Jump (2) was about six lengths better than Star Bhai Union in that race. He regressed from his debut on a fast track though, and, even though he’s sired by two-time Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner, Goldencents, his dam sire is the sprinter, Caller I.D.. As a result, the added distance and likely wet track become a concern for me. I’ll cover with him on some of the deeper tickets, but I think he’s vulnerable here.
Race 5: Top Pick: 5
This optional $30K/N2X allowance sprint features some very good horses. Two are coming off impressive local wins where they cleared the N1X condition and two others have gone off form after being graded stakes placed earlier in their careers. There’s a good amount of inside speed signed on, so I’m thinking that this race could set up for a closer. Steadytilready (5) makes a lot of sense in his second race off the layoff. He was flat last out at Parx when making his first start in three months. Prior to that, he had some sharp efforts at the Fair Grounds, some of which would make him very competitive here. He’s shown the ability to sit off a fast pace and finish strongly. He is 0-2 on a wet track, but he’s sired by Curlin who won the Breeders’ Cup Classic on this course in a sea of slop back in 2007. Steam Engine (1) is one that could be dangerous on a sloppy course. He was a dominating winner in his N1X race here two weeks ago. He has shown the ability to run big races back to back and he boasts a front-running win in the slop from the rail earlier in his career.
Win Early Pick-5 – $48.00 Ticket
Race 1: 2,5 (Turf) / 1,2,3 (Dirt)
Race 2: 1, 3, 5, 6
Race 3: 3, 5
Race 4: 1, 3, 9 (Turf) / 6, 11 (Dirt)
Race 5: 1, 5
Race 6: Top Pick: 2 (Turf) / 5 (Dirt)
Both Summery (2) and Just Jeremy (6) are exiting a race at this maiden special weight condition on the turf two weeks ago, sprinting 5 and ½ Furlongs. Summery was in a bit tight, but ran well enough to be a close third in that race, with Just Jeremy finishing a half-length behind him, going off at 28-1. Summery probably has a higher upside in his second career start, so I’ll give him the slight edge, but I think both are definitely playable. Angeli Blu (7) finished mid-pack in a tough maiden special weight heat at 6 Furlongs on the turf at Belmont in his debut. He was dull when trying the main track when his last race was washed off the turf. His pedigree suggests a softer course wouldn’t be an issue. Watch for the Lute (5) has been working well for his debut and could take to the turf, as his dam is Jimmy Creed. He has a steady string of works to prepare for his debut. I prefer him on the main track though, as his sire, Midnight Lute, was a dramatic winner in the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Sprint in the slop here. Slaats (4) was a bit dull when racing in a deluge last out on a very sloppy course two weeks ago. He didn’t get away well though when breaking from the rail in a large field. I could play him back in this spot.
Race 7: Top Pick: 4
Curlin’s Thrill (4) has been very good with soft fields since trying the dirt two starts ago. He moves up in class again after destroying a $10K maiden claiming field and getting up in time to beat multi-conditioned $7,500-$6,500 claimers last out. He was claimed by a sharp claiming trainer in Darien Rodriguez, who moves up him the class ladder to a multi-conditioned $12,500-$10,500 race (N3L/3yo) where he should be very tough once again. He’ll likely have to contend with a wet track, which, as a son of Curlin, shouldn’t be a problem. Roaring River (6) may have the pace advantage here, as he looks faster than Kentucky Cool (1) or Juan Boly (2) in the early stages of this race. He ran a pretty good race in the mud three back at Pimlico, fading to third against $16K-$14K N2L claimers. He cleared that condition in his subsequent start. He’s hit the board in 6 of 8 career starts and should be right there with these today. Kentucky Cool had a very odd trip nine days ago where he took the early lead on the first turn, using the rail post to his advantage. I’m not sure if Montalvo was sleeping, but he was passed, causing him to lose his position. He looked like he was fading out of the picture and destined for an up the track finish. However, he swung widest of all coming off the second turn, and re-rallied to get up to be third, beaten less than two lengths. He has better races in his past and two turns on the dirt is where he has been best. I’m expecting a better effort today as he wheels right back at the same level with Jomar Torres piloting him now.
Race 8: Top Pick 4 (Turf) / 8 (Dirt)
I loved Contained (4) when she was entered at this N1X allowance level two weeks ago, however a lot of Sunday rain washed that race off the turf. Looking at the forecast, she’s probably in for the same fate once again today, but if this storm somehow takes a right hand turn out to sea, and this race stays on the turf, I think she’ll be very tough. She was very good in her second start off the layoff and her first turf race of the year when she beat starter allowance foes at Belmont back in June. She showed some potential here last year at two turns in maiden special weight company. She’s come back much bigger and stronger as a three year old and should be the one to beat here. Equal Measure (3) has some big races on the grass in her form lines, but her last two have not been good. I can forgive both as she was sprinting at Belmont and running in the slop in an off the turf race last out. I think she can turn things around here. Miss Dracarys (10) was also scratched out of the allowance race that was taken off the turf two weekends ago. She has exclusively sprinted on the turf in her four career starts thus far. She’ll be stretching out for the first time, and she doesn’t draw very well to do so. I’ll try to beat her, but I’ll cover her on some deeper tickets.
On dirt, Toned Up (8) has some strong races last winter and fall on off tracks in New York, and I think she might be an under the radar type to run big here, especially on a sloppy track. She was a winner in the mud at Belmont in October, and she outran her long odds in the Grade 3 Comely and in allowance company in her next two starts. Her lone start of the year was back in June when she was wide most of the race at this level on grass. She makes more sense on the dirt to me. Fate of Ophelia (1) might be another sleeper if this race is transferred to the main track. She’s another one on the card sired by Curlin, so running on a wet track should be agreeable. Her lone dirt race was in her debut, and it was disastrous. I think she’s better than that effort, which I’m willing to toss out. Reina La Kelsy (12) is one of two MTO’s in here. She was third in the slop in a race carded for the dirt at this level two weeks ago. Misty Taste ran a monster effort that day and she followed that up yesterday with a respectable second place finish with N2X allowance types. She’ll need some pace in front of her as she doesn’t have much early speed, but she is capable of making up ground on an off track.
Race 9: Top Pick: 5
Multi-conditioned $7,500-$6,500 claimers sprint six furlongs in the race that starts the late Pick-5 sequence. Tamiami (5) is a sneaky longshot in here that could benefit from a sloppy track. She was originally in the barn of Todd Pletcher before shipping to Mountaineer and barn hopping for a few races. She’s run a few okay races sprinkled in with some poor efforts in other starts. She ran a decent figure in the slop in the Florida Stallion Series last year as a two year old though, and her race on the dirt two back with similar at Parx wasn’t bad at all. Shang’s Sister (9) burned a lot of money getting back on the dirt last out at this level, finishing third as the 11-10 favorite. She was claimed by Jose Delgado who brings her right back at the same level. She’s shown that she can handle an off track as well. Hightime Valentine (1) takes a significant drop in class for Darien Rodriguez after struggling in her first three starts of the meet. She was trending in the right direction when she left Tampa and perhaps a wet track at this level will be where she can right the ship. Mi Cleopatra and I (8) has two straight wins that this level, but she does face a tougher field this afternoon. She has definitely improved, but I’m not sure she wants a wet track. I’ll cover her and look for better value elsewhere.
Race 10: The Rainbow Heir Stakes: Top Pick: 9 (Turf) / 10 (Dirt)
It’s tough to figure who is going to go in this race as there are some other races at Presque Isle and Parx that are being run at similar conditions this week. Belgrano (9) has been off since pulling off the upset in the first leg of the Malouf Starter Series here in June when he sat off a torrid pace duel and blew by the pacesetters on the turn to win in dominating fashion. He can run on a course with some give in it, as he won the Virgil “Buddy” Raines Stakes here last fall at this distance on a good course. Shekky Shebaz (4) was claimed by leading trainer, Wayne Potts for $80K at Saratoga last week. He runs him back nine days later in stakes company. He’s not the same horse that he was two years ago when he dramatically improved in the Jason Servis program. He was winless for Christophe Clement in six tries for him after being moved to his barn following Servis’ indictment. He’s still been good enough to compete with this group as the better mid-Atlantic sprinters are looking at the Grade 3 Parx Dash on Tuesday. Grateful Bred (7) is an improving Maryland bred that is stepping in to open company following two straight wins in restricted allowance and stakes company. He’s won half of his career starts and is third off the layoff, so there’s reason to believe this five year old has another forward move.
On the dirt, the lone pick will be Chateau (10), who is way undervalued in the morning line at 4-1. If this race goes on to main track, he’ll likely be even money or less. He was a Grade 3 winner four starts back on the dirt, and he likes to run on off tracks. He is the class of whatever would be left here.
Race 11: Top Pick: 1
The conditions of this race are identical to the conditions of the 9th race, as that race oversubscribed and was split into two heats. The Boy Who Cried Wolf (1) was dominant in the slop in his debut four back at Parx. He’s struggled in his last three starts against significantly better foes over in Philly. He joins the Jose Sanchez barn that has 5 winners in 13 starts at the meet and is winning at 30% overall with 40 starters in 2021. This is a big drop and a good opportunity for him to get right. Super Wise (2) was also a dominating maiden breaker in the slop, beating $10K maiden claimers here two starts ago. He tried two turns last out at this level and was soundly defeated by Curlin’s Thrill and Threeninetytwo. Both horses would be heavy favorites in this spot. Kwist (5) was a winner with $16K N2L claimers two back at Pimlico. He bounced a bit last out with similar there. He’s another one taking a decent drop in class. He’s never been on a wet track, but with Citidancer as a dam sire, I’m thinking he’ll be okay.
Race 12: Top Pick: 9 (Turf) / 10 (Dirt)
The last race carded for the turf today is a maiden special weight race for three year olds and upward, sprinting 5 and ½ Furlongs. Magical Marriage (9) returned from an eight month layoff and tried the turf for the first time in a maiden claiming turf sprint three weeks ago. He ran a credible race to finish 6th when he really had nowhere to run. He’s not without a chance on the main track as well, as he debuted nicely last year at six furlongs on the dirt. Either way, I’m expecting a better effort from him today. Noble Cross (6) has been trying to get a second start on turf in a for a little while now after finishing second in his debut. Paco Lopez stays aboard this three year old son of Noble Mission who should improve off his last. He might want to go a bit farther though, so I’m not willing to take too short of a price. Morethanaconqueror (1) ran two decent races in turf sprints at this level last year, but has not sprinted on grass since. His last three efforts have not been his best, but he’s worth a shot at decent odds in hopes that returning to one turn races will help him wake up.
On the main track, Douglas Nunn continues to enter Will too Shy (10) as a main track only entrant in these turf sprints, despite running a solid effort on grass in his debut. He was claimed out of that race and is moving up to maiden allowance company. I respect the confidence from a barn that has done very well with runners in the first start since being claimed at this meet. Urban Warrior (11) struggled in an off the turf race at two turns last out. He has three respectable tries on dirt, including a decent try in the slop three back. He’s an also-eligible on turf, but should get in if he wants to go on the main track.
Race 13: Top Pick: 4
The card ends with time restricted $12,500-$10,500 claimers going six furlongs on dirt. It’s not a creative choice, but Jose Delgado picked a crafty spot for Sneakiness (4) to make his next start. He was second in optional claiming/N1X allowance company, while being offered for the $16K tag on Haskell Day. He was the beaten favorite in that race, finishing a strong second to Powerfully Built, who ran a monster effort that day. Blinkers come off this gelded son of Into Mischief who was claimed for $5K three back. He’s already been a productive claim and anything else would be icing on the cake. He’ll almost definitely go off at odds below his 6-5 morning line.
Meet Stats: 98/360 (Top Pick Winners) – $606.30 / $1.68 ROI per $2 win bet