Race 2: #2 Castleton 8-1
I liked what I saw from this filly in her debut. She broke sharply from the rail, but the rider decided to take back and stalk the pace rather than getting involved in a three-way duel. In the far turn she appeared to be calling it quits as she lost touch with the leaders and fell nearly five lengths behind the speed. But she dug in and came running again to close the gap and get up for third, beaten just three lengths. It seemed to me like she was still figuring things out in her debut and the “Z” pattern in the running line makes me believe she will love today’s added distance. The pace scenario is murky for today’s heat and I’m hoping she can use that gate speed to her advantage and be forwardly placed throughout. I think the low-profile connections can help maintain her morning line price because there’s a chance she takes money since that speed figure she earned stacks up really well against the favorites. Easy work since the debut and it looks like she’s all set for start #2.
The Play: $15 win #2 at 7/2 or higher
$10 W/P at 8-1 or higher
Race 7: #6 Smart Bird 6-1
Smart Bird showed some ability as a two year old until she missed some time, made one start at three, then hit the shelf again for another year. Clearly things haven’t turned out the way the connections hoped, but she’s realistically spotted at the bottom level here so if she has anything left in the tank she figures to show it today.
I thought she had a useful prep just 12 days ago in a 5 furlong dash on the turf. She chased a quick pace and just ran evenly around the track in a race where the speed went one-two throughout. The gallop-out looked strong so she should be able to move forward off that performance, especially since she’s getting an extra furlong to work with. I also think she’ll appreciate getting back to the synthetic where she earned her only victory. It doesn’t appear that the pace will be particularly fast so I’m envisioning she’ll be within a couple lengths of the leaders and have every chance at the top of the stretch. She only needs to get back to the speed figures she earned as a two year old to be competitive against this group and if she’s improved at all as an older runner she’s the one to beat. Given the class placement I’m not exactly confident she has improved, but I think it’s worth a gamble at 6-1.
The Play: $20 win #6