We’ll close the week with a nine race card this Sunday afternoon, featuring several competitive starter allowance contests. On Saturday, there were two strong performances from three year olds we could be hearing more from. Verifying was a confident winner in allowance company, earning a 97 Beyer Speed Figure. Shopper’s Revenge, the second foal from Breeders’ Cup Distaff Champion Stopchargingmaria, broke his maiden with a strong five length victory in his first try at two turns, earning an 85 Beyer Speed Figure. Both look like they could be stakes bound sooner than later. First post for the Sunday program is 12:30 (CT).
I’ll be covering this exciting meet on the ITM Blog, along with posting some updates and thoughts from time to time on Twitter @EricSolomon718. Feel free to reach out!
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|2||7||7||6||4||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|5||5||5,7,8||2,6||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|6||9||9||1,2||DBL, PK3, PK4|
The two short prices in this optional $40K claiming/$40K starter allowance race for three year old fillies are Bizzy Gal (#2) and Always Angels (#5) and I’ll use both of them. However, I’ll try Tattered Heart (#6) on top in the opener. It took her a little while to figure some things out, but her last two dirt sprint races were solid, running a decent second with N2L claimers at the Fair Grounds. She’s trending in the right direction and should offer a better price. Always Angels should rebound off a dull effort in stakes company at Delaware. She caught a sloppy track and probably wasn’t ready for two turns. Her maiden score two back was very sharp. Bizzy Gal comes in from Southern California for Peter Miller, who won the feature yesterday with Ginobili. She was unsuccessful in her last two dirt starts, but she was a winner in her last two dirt sprints.
I think Stylin N Profilin (#7) is the one to beat in this $20K claiming race for fillies and mares. She’s stretching out to a mile after a win with $15K claimers in a 6 and ½ furlong sprint at Remington. She has handled the distance well in the past, winning two of three starts at this trip. She’s in good form and has been very consistent lately, Reliant (#6) is also stretching out today after some nice efforts in Oklahoma. Even though she’s never routed on dirt, she has gone two turns on turf earlier in her career and she was competitive in those races. The morning line favorite is West Side Gal (#4), doing the claim and drop move for Riley Mott. She was claimed for $30K last month and is wheeled back with a $20K tag today. While I know this move can work, it’s not one that inspires much confidence in the horse. I’ll back up with her on deeper tickets.
It’s hard to look past the favorite, Olliemeister (#7) in this $50K starter allowance race, which is also limited to horses that are eligible for the N1X condition. He was 2nd at this level behind Ninja Warrior, who ran a huge race to win by four lengths. He was in the winner’s circle in his two prior starts in Kentucky, looking like a horse that is in some sharp form at the moment. Matt Shirer has done well with limited starters at the meet, winning twice and finishing in the money with all but one of his seven runners. Cold as Hell (#3) is the second choice and the other logical horse to use in this race. He’s been on an up and down pattern lately, and if that continues, we should see one of his better efforts today. He’s been more of an on the board type, so he’s likely better suited underneath.
This $10K starter allowance is a bit more wide open than the previous two races. I like Herd Immunity (#5) on top in this spot, looking for his third straight win. He won with $6,250 claimers last out while entered with the waiver. Jason Barkley had him ready to fire in his first start off the layoff and now he keeps him protected today. He was very good in Southern California earlier in his career, so I think there’s room for improvement. Love My Jimmy (#2) might be quick enough to run them off their feet. Diodoro claimed him at Del Mar in November for $8K. He made his local debut in the slop at this level and was a dominant winner last month. While that big figure could have been slop aided, I like that Diodoro keeps him protected. He was too good to ignore him last out. Hot Pastrami (#8) closed well in the slop in that same race last out to get into third. There was no getting to the winner that day, however, if there is more pace pressure applied to the favorite, his late charge might be more effective. The same could be said for Bravo Bravo (#7) who is making his first start off the Karl Broberg claim. Broberg started off this meet red hot, but hasn’t had a winner here since opening weekend. I like the move to re-claim this five year old for the same ownership group that lost him two starts back. He’s been very good in his last four sprint races.
State bred $30K maiden claimers go six furlongs here. The morning line favorite is Westover (#10) for Brad Cox. Cox has had two first time starters run in state bred races this week and both finished off the board despite taking a decent amount of money at the windows. I’m not sold on this one either, so I’ll try to spread to beat her. Miri A Coincidence (#5) was in the early mix in his debut with state bred maiden special weight company, but he couldn’t keep pace with King Peanut, who drew off to win by seven lengths. He drops in class and figures to be right there with this level. Wicked Prince (#7) is also coming off an effort where he showed early interest and faded with state bred maiden special weight types. He caught a sloppy track that day, so he could improve on a drier course in his second time out. His trainer, Lynn Chleborad, is off to a slow start at the meet, with all fifteen starters finishing off the board. This barn did win at 13% in 2022, so better times should be coming. Ron Moquett won a race at this level for fillies with a first time starter yesterday, and he sends out Just Because (#8) for his unveiling today. His works are a little slower than his stablemate’s and Keith Asmussen taking the mount over Bejarano, who has been riding first call for Moquett at this meet, is a bit concerning. However, Asmussen rode very well to get his first local win yesterday, so if this horse can run, I think he can get the best from him. On deeper tickets I’ll use both Hardscrabble (#2) and Mr Works (#6). Hardscrabble was very good. Nearly winning with state bred maiden claimers in his debut back in March. There isn’t a ton of difference between the state bred $30K maiden claiming and the state bred $12,500 maiden claiming condition that we saw later in the meet. He misfired in his second start in April and has been on the sidelines since. He now runs for Martin Villafranco, who doesn’t have great numbers with new acquisitions. I have mixed feelings about him. I feel that 4-1 (ML) is a little too low for me, but I could certainly be willing to take a chance if that number floats up. Mr Works debuts for Jason Barkley after some respectable five furlong drills. There’s a lot of speed in this race so perhaps those stamina building drills will be helpful if the early pace falls apart.
This is another $50K starter allowance for horses that would also qualify for the N1X allowance condition. I’ll try to beat the Peter Miller trainee, So It Would Seem (#7) here. When she steps up into this level ,she has consistently fallen short. Her races with lesser have been good, but at short odds, I’ll look elsewhere. My top pick Argumental (#9) for Mike Maker. She just missed in a 6 and ½ furlong race at this condition at Churchill in her most recent start. He claimed her for $50K here in March and ran her once more before the meet ended. She was on the sidelines for six months and returned to beat a $75K maiden claiming field at Keeneland with ease. I liked her effort last out, despite falling just short. She looks like a much better horse than we saw here last year. Cost a Fortune (#2) is an interesting longshot to consider in this spot. On figures, she seems a little light, however she won all three of her sprint races on this oval last season. Her only off the board finish at Oaklawn was going one mile when she ran into a Brad Cox monster in starter allowance company. Two of those wins came at long odds last spring, so I won’t be deterred if her price floats over her 15-1 morning line figure. Chris Hartman has been on an absolute roll, so I can’t ignore Shell Shock (#1), who will be making his first start for him after being claimed for $30K at Churchill last out. She has struggled to string good races together, so 2-1 feels light. However, when a trainer is winning at a 45% clip with their first 29 starters at the meet, the tax the bettor is going to have to pay on their runners will naturally go up.
The last Pick-3 of the week begins with a $30K-$25K N2L claiming race for three year olds and up, going a mile and one-sixteenth. I’m going to try a bomb here and use Wildwood’s Warrior (#4) on top. He’s moving up in class after narrowly missing with $20K N2L claimers at Hawthorne last out. He appears to be the quickest early, and the other horses that have some speed are slotted to the outside. Most of them have shown that they are content to rate off the lead, and I think the riders will concede the front to this longshot. Scott Becker races mostly in Illinois, winning 33% of his races over the last two years. Overall, he’s won with 13% of his runners here, and 21% of his runners here in route races. I think this lightly raced runner is capable of improving and could blow up the toteboard if Tyler Baze can have him feeling brave on the front end. Greatheart (#7) comes back to Arkansas after some disappointing efforts on turf and synthetic. He was absolutely empty in a ten furlong contest with better last month at Turfway. He was an impressive maiden winner on this course in April though. His dirt form from earlier this year would make him an easy winner with these. However, it is a question if he can get back to those races. Conspiracy Fact (#9) was caught wide when facing starter allowance foes in his most recent start here. He draws another outside post, but he does get a rider upgrade to Cristian Torres. He was very competitive at this level two back at Churchill.
I expect a strong performance from Digital (#7) in this spot, coming off a 5th place in the slop in the Claiming Crown Jewel last out. That was a strong race and with the conditions being so miserable, I’m willing to draw a line through that effort. His prior races with optional claiming/N2X company in Kentucky were very sharp. That condition is always deep at Churchill and these races are no exception. He was a 20-1 upset winner at that level back in August and he hit the board at the same condition in his two starts leading up to the Claiming Crown Race. I think he can beat this group. Fore Left (#2) is another runner for Chris Hartman, coming off a pricey $62,500 claim. He was overmatched in the mud with better last month, but he’s shown he can compete with horses like this. The barn has been too good to ignore lately. Full Authority (#1) left Arkansas in great form last season, good enough to be considered for a Grade 3 Stakes on the Preakness undercard in May. He was a non factor in that race and his next start in stakes company at Delaware though. He’s been on the sidelines since, making his first start since the beginning of July today. He might need a race or two before he’s at his best, but he was so sharp here last year, I can’t leave him off too many tickets.
The week will conclude with a $75K-$65K maiden claiming race for three year olds sprinting six furlongs. Many of the big players at this meet are represented here. Robertino Diodoro, Brad Cox, and Steve Asmussen each send out a pair, and Chris Hartman is also represented with one starter in this overflow field. Trying to beat those seven runners could prove lucrative, however, the other five runners are not inspiring much confidence. I ended up going with J J’s Joker (#7) on top in this race. He ran okay in his two career starts with maiden special weight types, both of those races coming in the slop. He should get a fast track today for his third career start and a drop in class. Permafrost (#9) is the better of the two Asmussen runners, making his 4th career start today. He debuted with a dull effort on the turf at Kentucky Downs and followed that up with an equally dull try at two turns at Keeneland. He dropped for a tag into this level last out and ran a much better race. That was his first one turn start on the main track. I don’t see an issue cutting back from seven to six furlongs and the addition of Lasix should be beneficial as well. Bold d’Oro (#12) is a big longshot, making his first start for Greg Compton. Of the five starters not trained by the big barns, he’s the one that interests me the most. His works are average, but there are some win-early parts of his pedigree that intrigue me. Bolt d’Oro gets 16% winners with his first time starters and that number goes to 19% with firsters in dirt sprints. The dam was a graded stakes placed sprinter who finished second to Groupie Doll in her debut. She would go one to win her next three starts and then two stakes races later in her career. Her first two foals were competitive early on, so there’s reason to believe that he could run well at long odds in this race. He’ll be the second 30-1 (ML) horse that Tyler Baze rides today that I have some interest in.
Favorite Wager Today: Late Pick-4 ($40.50 Ticket, $0.50 Base Wager)
There’s not a lot I love on this card, so I’ll try a caveman ticket to end the week in the Late Pick-4. There are some live longshots that I’ll be using in three of the four legs, hoping to connect with one or two to make this ticket pay out well. I think Cost a Fortune (#2, R6 15-1 ML), Wildwood’s Wonder (#4, R7, 30-1 ML), and Bold d’Oro (#12, R9, 30-1 ML) are all capable of upsetting their given fields today. I’ll include some of the more logical plays in each leg as well, knowing that on smaller tickets, I’d be okay using either Argumental (#9, R6) or Digital (#7, R8) as singles.
Meet Statistics: Top Pick 27/122 (22.1%), $205.00 $1.68 ROI
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