The Labor Day Card is highlighted by the Sorority Stakes for two year old fillies at one mile on the main track. Like it’s companion race, The Sapling, run yesterday, the purse was recently increased to $200K this year in hopes of attracting better competition. This is a race that has been won by the likes of Forward Gal, Ruffian, Dearly Precious, and Hollywood Wildcat over the years. More recently, future graded stakes winners Pacific Gale and Micheline have won this race when it was carded as a sprint and as a turf race. This year, The Sorority will be run at one mile on the dirt, and it will be the nightcap today on the special holiday program.
|1||2||3,6||4||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|2||4||1,2||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|3||4||2||DBL, PK3, PK6|
|4||3||2,7||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|5||3,7||DBL, PK3, PK4|
Race 1: Top Pick: 2
New Jersey bred maiden special weight fillies and mares start the day on the grass, going 1 mile and 1/16. Tale Lights (3) and Ageless Artist (6) are familiar foes at this level, but they are 0-11 and 0-15, respectively. They often run well enough to earn a check, but neither has been able to graduate. I’m going to go price shopping and try Big Lee’s Legacy (2) who is stretching out and trying the turf for the first time after a pair of six furlong sprints to start her career. She was dull on debut in July, when never really getting involved in that race. She showed improvement, finishing 5th, while going off at 68-1 when facing the boys last out. Her stablemate, Rachel Caroline was the dominant winner that day. She adds distance and switches surfaces, which might not be a bad thing, as her dam sire is El Prado. I’ll use both the favorites as B horses, since they might just be better than their rivals. On deeper tickets, Moon Unit Zapper (4) comes back after running a disappointing 4th last out. Castillo had her in the garden spot, but she came up empty, finishing 4th beaten seven lengths. Her previous two were a little more encouraging, so if her odds float above her 3-1 morning line, I’d be inclined to use her more prominently.
Race 2: Top Pick: 4
This non-conditioned allowance race is a stakes quality sprint for fillies and mares, three year olds and up, going six furlongs. Honey I’m Good (4) struggled to keep up with some high quality sprinters in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss at Saratoga in July. She held off Bayerness, who was a next out winner of the Shine Again Stakes, also at the Spa, to win the Regret Stakes in the mud here in June. She has the best early speed in the group and could prove very tough to catch. Ray Arewethereyet (1) has cleared two allowance conditions at the meet thus far, beating older horses for the first time when winning an optional claiming/N2X allowance race here last month. She’s won her last two starts by open lengths, so I don’t think they’ve gotten to the bottom of this three year old filly just yet. This is a bigger test for her, but she’s in great current form. Bronx Beauty (2) is cross-entered in the Roamin’ Rachel later on in the day over at Parx. She’d have to face the ultra tough filly, Chub Wagon, if she ran there. If she stays here, she might be the one most likely to run down the pace setters if this race falls apart. She was the winner of last year’s running of the Regret Stakes.
Race 3: Top Pick: 4
$16K-$14K N2L claimers go one mile on the turf. Ten have entered, but only eight can run. I’m having a tough time trying to make a case for many of the prices here, and unless the stretch out sprinter on the outside, Lucky as a Seven (8) is sent early, I don’t see anyone that is going to seriously pressure Leading Factor (4) in this race. He was caught by Hard Count in a similar spot last month. That horse would be a sub even money favorite with this field. He’s in his third race off the layoff and has put together four solid efforts in a row when facing restricted claimers on the grass. He finished a little more than two lengths in front of Big Perm (2) who is the morning line favorite here, most likely because of the presence of Paco Lopez. Lopez rode him this winter at Gulfstream, and had him a little closer to the pace in those races than he’s been in his last few local races when Jose Ferrer was the pilot. Ferrer was able to guide him to his maiden victory when he made his 12th start back in June. He’s come up a bit short in subsequent efforts against winners on the turf, but he faces a softer field for the condition today.
Race 4: Top Pick: 3
This is one of the stronger maiden special weight races of the meet, featuring seven first time starters going six furlongs. Courvoisier (3) is the cleverly named son of the 2014 Juvenile Filly Champion, Take Charge Brandi. She won on debut that season, but was at her best in the fall when she won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, The Delta Princess, and the Starlet in a span of six weeks for trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Her son, sired by Tapit, has four straight bullet works for Kelly Breen. He was a $600K Keeneland November Purchase back in 2019 and he looks like he could be a serious runner. Watch for the Lute (7) debuts today after some decent works for Darien Rodriguez. He has a sprinters pedigree, sired by two time Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Midnight Lute, out of a Jimmy Creed mare. Rodriguez has fared well with the handful of first time starters he’s sent out in the last 20 months. Affable Monarch (2) is from the first crop from Arrogate, making his debut for Jorge Duarte and Colts Neck Stables. His works are a little slower, but that surface at the Colts Neck Training Track tends to yield slower times. His dam was better on the grass, but she was capable of winning races on the main track. He might want to go a little bit longer than the six furlongs he’s getting here, but anything from this barn at this meet needs to be respected.
Race 5: Top Pick: 7
The last leg of the Win Early Pick-5 is for three year olds an up that have never won twice, going 5 Furlongs on the turf. The claiming tag for this race s $30K-$25K. I liked the effort from Patriarch Artie (7) in his last start at this level here. He set the pace before yielding late when going 5 and ½ Furlongs, while making his first career try on the grass. Looking at his pedigree, it’s crazy to think that it took him four starts before he got on the grass, but the weather hasn’t always cooperated for him. There’s not a ton of early speed for a race at this distance, and he may be able to use his speed to take them gate to wire here. The Predicament (3) got back on turf and ran well after a pair of dull efforts on the main track. He was claimed by Andrew Simoff at Keeneland for $40K, so he’s dropping below his purchase price after a pair of third place finishes in allowance company. He’ll need to work out a trip, but he’ll likely be finishing the fastest in this race.
Win Early Pick-5 Play: $54.00 Ticket
Race 1: 2, 3, 6
Race 2: 1, 2, 4
Race 3: 2, 4
Race 4: 2, 3, 7
Race 5: 3, 7
Race 6: Top Pick: 1
This is a strong N1X allowance for fillies and mares going one mile on the main track. Tom Amoss ships Misty Vail (6) down from Saratoga after two strong races at their meet which wraps up today. She was a dominant winner in starter allowance company there in the mud in July and she finished a solid second at the N1X allowance level there last month when going nine furlongs. She continues to improve on the main track and is in better form than the rest of this group. I’m going to guess there’s a desire to keep her at two turns, which may be why she ends up here instead of waiting for a race at Belmont. I think she’s going to be very tough, but I’ll look for a little bit of value and make Perfect Choice (1) my top pick after drawing off impressively to break her maiden at first asking last month. She ran on like she’d be able to get the two turns. She’s sired by Quality Road out of a Giant’s Causeway mare, so this distance should be just right. She’ll have to take a big step forward to tackle the Saratoga shipper, but she ran a strong enough race to make one think that there’s plenty more in the tank for her.
Race 7: Top Pick: 8
Fourteen are entered in this open $12,500-$10,500 claiming race on the turf, but with the rails all the way out, only eight will run. There’s some definite talent on the AE list, and if Bold Daddy (13) or Flowmotion (14) draw in, they are definitely worth putting on some tickets. However, they’ll need a lot of help and there’s still a decent amount of talent in the body of this field. Hot to Seek Her (8) ran a big race to hold second at 25-1 last out. He was in his second race off a long layoff that day and he proved that at age 10, he still has a lot of run left in him. He’s run big efforts on this course many times in the past and he should be right in the thick of it once again if he can clear from outside draw. King Bubble (6) has two North American turf races and both are sharp, winning them both at Pimlico. He was claimed in his first American start, which came at this level on the turf. He then tried the main track when the optional claiming/N2X allowance race that he was entered in was taken off the turf. He showed nothing that day, so he returned to this same level, and quickly rebounded, scoring as the 13-10 favorite. This six year old gelding has only 11 career starts, but five of them are wins. He will dangerous with this group. Blackline (4) was the only horse to beat Projected (who won again yesterday at the open $22K-$18K claiming level) at this level this season, using his inside draw to work out a perfect trip, and hold that one off late. He made a bid last out, but couldn’t sustain it when he finished 4th, beaten less than two lengths. He usually has some run, but it always seems to come down to him getting a good trip. My Point Exactly (5) is the 5-2 morning line favorite. He gets back on the grass after a pair of local dirt efforts in July. He’s been more effective on grass in his career, but it’s been 20 months since his last turf win. As the favorite, I’ll try to beat him, but he’s one I could consider upgrading if his odds float over that morning line figure.
Race 8: The $200K Sorority Stakes: Top Pick: 2
This stakes race is a nice way to end the long weekend, as you could build a logical argument for six of the seven two year olds here. After watching the replays, I liked the most recent effort from Gimmick (2) the best, as she seems like a horse that is ready to go two turns right now. She was well backed in her debut at Churchill, but missed the break and was all over the track. She improved in her second start, where she came up a bit short. She was more relaxed in her third start when she shipped up to the Spa. She wore down a well-meant first time starter from the Todd Pletcher barn, Jester Calls Nojoy, to break her maiden by two lengths. That one flattered her yesterday when Jester Calls Nojoy dominated an open maiden special weight at Saratoga by ten lengths. Gimmick was a $450K purchase last year, so there are obviously lofty expectations. Her inside post and newfound ability to rate should serve her well when gong two turns today. You Look Cold (4) was one of the more impressive maiden winners at the meet thus far, battling early and then pulling away to win by six lengths. She’s certainly bred to get the one mile distance, being sired by Frosted out of a Lookin’ at Lucky mare. O’Connor has slowed her down in the AM with her works, after working her faster prior to her six furlong debut. Microbiome (6) was a dominating maiden special weight winner on opening day at Saratoga. She was locked in a pace battle when fading to 5th in the Grade 2 Adirondack in her next start. She has two solid works for Tom Amoss since that race. She definitely has shown ability, so if she can relax, she could be tough today.
Meet Stats: 120/425 (Top Pick Winners) – $802.70 / $1.89 ROI per $2 win bet