RACE 1: 6-4-1/1A-3
#6 KAON is strictly the one to beat for trainer Chad Brown as he drops in for a tag for the first time. Brown’s high percentage stable is 29% with dirt routing maidens dropping in for tags over the last five years, good for a nearly breakeven ROI. This colt is facing a particularly weak bunch here.
RACE 2: 1A-6-5-2
There’s little to go on in here so #1A WEST STAR gets a tepid nod. He represents connections that do well off the claim (21%, $2.06 1st off claim on dirt at AQU) and he has had trouble at the start of each of his prior outings. This is only theoretically a tougher race than the one that he exits and here’s to hoping his stablemate scratches and helps the price.
RACE 3: 5-6-4-1
IN looking through the past performances for the runners in his last race, you have to upgrade #5 MONEY MIKE. The 1-2 finishers in there would tower over this field on paper and he’s getting some serious class relief down to the 35k level today. His tactical speed is also a weapon.
RACE 4: 4-5-3-9
#4 SWEET AS SUGAR is the one to catch on a sizable class drop for a solid barn. She was last seen chasing inside against considerably tougher on a day when you probably wanted to be a few paths off the rail. This is a great spot class-wise and she has the right pilot on for an aggressive ride.
RACE 5: 3-4-2-6
The potential play of the day is #3 SALTY HEIR, who is better than his last two starts would lead you to believe. He ran two solid races to begin his career against much better with some trouble in his debut. His 3rdstart came against tougher and he was away from the gate so poorly his rider was nearly knocked off. He wound up breaking slowly again last time and was glued to a dead rail against a better field. This field is woeful and he’ll be over 20-1.
RACE 6: 7-4-9-3
While the pace edge goes to #4 SHEZA RAJUN CAJUN, the horse to beat is #7 BIG BEAN CHRISTINE. She comes in off of two improved runs since joining the barn of Michael Catalano, Jr. and has the tactical speed to stay within range today. This is the right spot class-wise for her first try against winners as well.
RACE 7: 9-3-7-8
If the plan was to stretch #9 SWEET MYSTERY out to two turns then strangle her into submission early, it was executed flawlessly. She had little to no chance to win the Empire Distaff with those tactics and understandably made no impression late. This is a far more reasonable spot class-wise, she drew perfectly outside and will be a fair price.
RACE 8: 5-4-3-2
The reunion with Joel Rosario might be just what the doctor ordered for #5 TAP THE FAITH, who has been a massive disappointment since a flashy rail-skimming debut win 13 months ago. She has worked her way back into form, goes 2nd off a short layoff while exiting a live race and should get some pace to run at late, especially if #4 MISSY GREER gets any pressure early.
RACE 9: 3-2-10-6
There’s been money to be made with Randi Persaud this fall and #3 FOREVER WICKED is one of a number of his runners who has improved of late. This is a great spot for this plodding son of Wicked Strong as there is plenty of pace to set up his late bid. This class level likely suits him a bit better as well.