Let’s shake off yesterday’s bad opinions and try to build some momentum heading into Saturday’s big card!
Race 6: #6 Master Spy 7/2
Not a huge price in today’s 6th but a logical contender that should be in with a big shot. Master Spy is coming off a pretty bad trip in his last race. He broke terribly and was a bit rank heading into the first turn while wide. He sat midpack before attacking the fast pace heading into the far turn while 4-wide yet again. He put away the leaders and led to the final furlong where the wide trip and early move took a visible toll on him and he faded to finish fifth, but only beaten a couple lengths. The pace was fast and the two speed horses finished last and second-to-last so I’m giving him a few bonus points for making the first move into the pace. He’s a prime cutback candidate in my eyes and he’s getting the chance to make amends today switching to one turn. He’s drawn well on the outside and the switch to Wilson can’t hurt his chances. I also like that his figures have been steadily improving with each start of his five year old campaign and he’s nearly paired-up Beyer tops, indicating he could take yet another step forward today.
Race 8: #3 Midnight Arkle 8-1
Intriguing betting race to close out the Friday card, a full field of 14 go six and a half furlongs on the turf course. This is definitely a race where it’s hard to trust anyone, so I don’t want to take much lower than 8-1 on my top pick Midnight Arkle. I thought this gelding ran better than it appears on paper in his latest start. He was off very slowly and had no choice but to dart to the rail, save all the ground and hope a seam opened up when it was time to go. That seam never appeared however, at least not soon enough to give him a chance to have an impact. He was loaded throughout the far turn and much of the stretch before finally finding daylight and finishing up well enough to split the field. The huge longshot that led for most of the race finished off the board, but the horses positioned 2-3-4 early would finish 1-2-4 so ‘Arkle was definitely against the race flow that day. That was also against optional claimers and he’s dropping today to face restricted claimers so there’s no doubt this is a softer group.
His lack of early speed is a concern, but in a full field like this I would imagine the pace will be legitimate enough to give him a shot if he can work out a trip. That shouldn’t be a problem with Hernandez climbing aboard for the first time, he’s having an excellent meet. He’s a tad light on figures relative to the favorites, but that’s good enough for me in a big field like this and at this unreliable class level(especially if he’s four times the price). He also drew much better than those rivals as they could be hung wide while he’ll be able to save ground. Note that he ran an excellent third at this same trip against tougher competition two back, and he should have a fitness edge cutting back to one turn.