Jim Hurley Racing Network
Under The Shedrow (Volume X - Number 53)
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Breeders' Cup Countdown
Today's edition of Under The Shedrow begins my run-up to the Breeders' Cup. Each of the issues will preview one or more of the fourteen BC races, take a look at the projected running styles and how they might or might not fit on the Santa Anita layouts and synthetic surface. I'll also take a look at methods of analysis, with an eye on which are germane to separating the contenders from the pretenders and which will lead you into a blind switch.
Also in today's edition is the weekly Horses To Watch inclusion, now featuring Belmont, Santa Anita and the recently opened Keeneland. So let's get started.
I was going to hunt for the two or three times that I wrote how Big Brown's high level of inbreeding was going to catch up to him either on or off the race track, but decided to spend the time on this article instead.
Injuries come from fragility, and one of the major causes of fragility in race horses is in-breeding, especially to great bloodlines, as Big Brown is. The foot injury that "hastened" (what hastened, he was only going to race once more anyway) his retirement is one of many he has suffered throughout his career. I said in the past that horses such as Big Brown rise mercurially to the top and crash as quickly. So has it come to pass. And pleeeeease let us not refer to him as a "great" race horse. He won two Classics against one of the weakest crop of three-year olds in recent memory and picked two soft spots since.
What might have been? Perhaps! Great? Far from it!
Last Is First…Are These The Best Two Horses In Racing?
In the current advance PP sheets for the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf BRIS publishes data on 50 contenders. By alphabetical order, the last of the 50 is Zarkava. For the Breeders' Cup Distaff there are 38 Past Performances and the last of those is Zenyatta. Each is undefeated in her career, each loves to run from the back of the pack and each is a filly…the former is a 3-year old and the latter a 4-year old. Arguably, they are also the Best Two Horses (male or female) in all of racing!
No I haven't lost my mind…and in fact were trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre, conditioner of Zarkava and John Shirreffs, who tends to Zenyatta able to see their way clear to run against the boys in the Classic we could have the Best Breeders' Cup race ever! Unfortunately, it appears as though Zenyatta will remain against her own gender in Friday's Distaff and that Zarkava isn't coming at all. Zenyatta is absolutely amazing. Yes she has won all 8 of her career starts, but that is only a statistical detail of the greatness of the daughter of Street Cry. It is the way she runs that amplifies the 8 wins. When a horse runs from well off the pace, as this filly does, there is always the chance of something going amiss. But there have been a few occasions in which a "mortal" filly would have retired until next time. Not this gal, and in fact, she has not only overcome a slow start, a slow pace or a bit of traffic a few times, she has also drawn clear in 7 of the 8 and in the
Grade I Vanity managed to put away a stubborn foes in the final strides. The naked eye has clearly registered her in front long before the finish line photo edged into focus. But it was probably her most recent that defines her career.
After a couple of late scratches the Grade I Lady's Secret on September 27 featured only 4 runners. Included in the group was multiple Graded Stakes winner Hystericalady, the lone speed of the race and a mare that had won three straight by a combined 19 ½ lengths racing just off or on the lead throughout all three. To say she was the controlling speed is the ultimate understatement of that identification. Not a problem. Jockey Mike Smith simply asked Zenyatta to run closer to the pace than usual, which she did, and once again when called upon for late run simply circled up three wide and was ridden out to the wire by 3 ½ lengths. When a horse is 8 races into her career, and is undefeated with six wins vs Graded Stakes foes, and has done so without any help whatsoever, there is little left to say. Perhaps the naysayers will point to her having raced all but one of her races in her comfortable southern California home environs, but she did travel to Oaklawn Park and on conventional dirt destroyed her Grade I Apple Blossom rivals, which included last year's BC Distaff Champion Ginger Punch.
As for Zarkava, the 3-year old filly is also undefeated, from 7 career starts, and topped her resume by becoming the first filly since Urban Sea in 1993 to win the recently run Group I Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
After almost losing rider Christophe Soumillon at the start, the daughter of Zamindar settled toward the back of the 16 horse field as they began to shuffle for position in the mile-and-a-half test. With a quarter mile remaining she still had only four rivals beaten but when asked wound her way between rivals and sprinted to clear two length victory. Had she done so over a marginal or depleted field would have been one thing, but she beat foes such as Duke Of Marmalade and Soldier Of Fortune, a well-regarded pair of Aiden O'Brien trainees that will likely be at Santa Anita on October 25. Things do change, but unfortunately it appears as though Zenyatta will be running on Friday and Zarkava will be elsewhere.
Early Look - Part I - Breeders' Cup Dirt Marathon
On Saturday, the first of nine Breeders' Cup races will be the inauguration of the Dirt Marathon. The race, which is not graded and "only" has a purse of $500,000 (paltry by Breeders' Cup standards) could easily be called the "Rodney (as in No Respect) Dangerfield Stakes." They aren't exactly household names, but horses such as Big Booster, Delightful Kiss, Delosvientos, Dominican, Fairbanks and Zappa, a handful of the long-winded warriors that are very likely to see action in the BC Marathon are the heart and soul of racing. Those five may not have grabbed headlines, but among them they have accounted for $3,819,008 in earnings from a collective career mark of 148-45-12-24.
When horses have raced as often as these guys have, yet are still racing at a level high enough to average over $600,000 in earnings, they must be doing something right. They aren't among the elites, but they are the foremen on their job…they're the kind of working class heroes Americans love. Heck, Sarah Palin should make an appearance to call "riders up" and actually extol the anti-elitism of these hard knockers.
The bottom line is..this race will feature a full field of fit and determined athletes that should get the nine race Breeders' Cup festivities off to a great start.
Here is a preview of the pool from which the likely starters will be drawn…
Angliana - The 6-year old horse hasn't won a race since January 19 of this year when he topped the 75K Aqueduct Handicap. But until trainer Gary Contessa got a little too optimistic and handed him over to the starter I the Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup last time, the son of Giant's Causeway had hit the board in six straight starts since that last win, including a third in the Grade III Excelsior Handicap and a third in the Grade II Brooklyn Handicap. He has a steady stride that keeps him in contact over a long distance of ground and while he is short on win potential…5-28 lifetime vs mainly overnight and high claiming opponents, he will stay in the race for a long time. One very big obstacle is the fact that he has never raced over a synthetic surface.
Barcola - One of a number in here that like to run hard early, he may be the fastest of that bunch, so that alone brings a threat. However, based on is recent form, he is much more likely to back-up earlier as well. The son of Old Trieste has managed to carry his speed wire-to-wire twice from his last nine starts, but those were in the 100K Kelso Handicap at Delaware and the mile and a sixteenth 75K Brandywine…also at Delaware. The Mark Hennig trained horse does have a few races on his resume that would make him competitive on 10/25, but given his current form, he looks to be the pace-setter they will run down.
Big Booster - The 7-year old son of Accelerator very seldom runs a bad race. He also has the type of long-winded versatility you want in a horse going a mile-and-a-half. In his last two he rallied mildly at 10 and 12 furlongs in the Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup and Cougar II Handicap respectively and prior to that he won the mile and five eighths Gallant Man Handicap and Grade II San Juan Capistrano Handicap on the turf at a mile and three quarters. He is all hickory, has run ten times on synthetic dirt (six on-the-board finishes) and has garnered show honors in his two starts on dirt at 12 furlongs. Trainer Mike Mitchell will bring him into the race off works (his last start was in the Cougar II on 7/30) but the conditioner wins with 22% of layoff runners and hits the board 56% of the time.
Da' Tara - If the 3-year old surprise Grade I Belmont Stakes winner is going to run anywhere on Breeders' Cup weekend this is probably the logical spot. But one has to wonder why trainer Nick Zito keeps throwing this guy to the wolves when he is still eligible for non-winners of two other than. Yes he won the Belmont, but he also did so when no one came to him despite the fact that he staggered home through a final six furlongs in 1:16 4/5 and hasn't come close to carrying his speed since, getting beat an average of 16 lengths in three starts. He not only appears to be off form, but even should he want the lead, which is his only way of performing positively, he has never run fast enough even when on it to indicate that he would outrun Barcola among others. Tough spot.
Delightful Kiss - Right after this guy completed his second of back-to-back Grade III victories by copping the All American at Golden Gate on 9/27 trainer Pete Anderson wasted little time in announcing that the son of Kissin Kris wouldn't even pretend to match up with the top players in the BC Classic and would run here instead. Obviously the 4-year old colt likes the synthetic surface as both the All American and the prior victory in the Turfway Park Fall Championship were run over it with the latter also being at the Marathon's 12 furlong distance. The deep closer rarely fails to kick in (20-6-3-2 lifetime) and is better at the longer distances. He could be improving at the right time over the right surface and is definitely in the right place class-wise.
Delosvientos - Whereas a number of the pace-setting or pressing speed horses nominated for this race have also shown liabilities as to stamina, this guy has proven he can sustain his pressing tactics. The 5-year old Siphon gelding has won four of his last five and the victories have all been in non-threatened wire-to-wire fashion. Three of those wins came at the mile and a half distance and the four wins came at three different race tracks. He is also a perfect four for four at 12 panels. He is as consistent and as fit as they come. His only negative? He traveled west in August to try the synthetic surface in the Grade I Pacific Classic at Del Mar and stalked the pace a bit before retiring in a way that indicated he might not care for the artificial surface. But that race also featured a number of runners that will be well considered for the Classic, so at this level he might easily find a fondness for the synthetic stuff.
Dominican - Once a serious player on the Triple Crown trail, this 4-year old colt has found it much more comfortable racing in allowance optional claiming, overnight money allowance and lower Graded company. In his most recent he finished third behind Delightful Kiss in the Grade III Turfway Park Fall Championship as his rally stalled in the final furlong. But that was his first career start at 12 panels following a series of 2008 races that saw him travel a mile to a mile and a sixteenth. The Darrin Miller trained son of El Corredor certainly isn't among the elite group of his class (Curlin, Hard Spun, Street Sense), but he has nonetheless managed to construct a 15-4-1-6 career mark that includes the Grade I Blue Grass and $675,578 in earnings. It is very possible he could just be coming into his own for trainer Darrin Miller.
Fairbanks - Eight of his last ten have been in a graded stakes and he has won or placed in five of those. He has won two and finished second twice in his last five races. The son of Giant's Causeway has by far the most consistent and sustainable tactical or pressing speed in the race. There is very little not to like and it is possible he will be the post time favorite. Add in the fact that he is trained by Todd Pletcher and is the top earner in the field and there is little to dislike. He was easily the best in the recent Grade II Hawthorne Gold, laying just off the pace in third through first and second call before taking over in the lane and drawing clear in the 10 furlong event. So what might be his downside? He has never been a mile and a half and never raced over a synthetic surface…which are of course, two huge hurdles. He has great form and significant possible drawbacks. The 5-year old is definitely a microcosm of the entire field, which shows how wide open and value laden it is for a Breeders' Cup bettor.
Ready's Echo - Another from the Todd Pletcher barn and another head-scratcher. The lightly raced 3-year old is still eligible for entry level allowance laurels, and has never faced older horses. On the other hand, his last four races have been vs graded stakes company. He finished third to Casino Drive in the Grade II Peter Pan, and the Japanese shipper will get serious consideration in the Classic. He was third in the Grade I Belmont Stakes and third on the turf in the Grade II Jamaica Handicap last time out behind division leaders Court Vision and Gio Ponti. The son of More Than Ready is out of a King Mambo mare so as he showed in the Belmont, should not have a problem getting the distance. If he continues to mature he has a shot, but class and experience still remain a big issue.
Star Plus - If experience and class are an issue, then this Ken McPeek trained 5-year old should probably stay in the barn. The son of Alpha Plus has been to the post only three times in his career…all this year. He has obviously had his problems, but an interesting side-note is that he has never faced maidens. However, he remains one himself after beginning his career vs money allowance/optional claimers (5th on the turf at a mile and a sixteenth) continued with a start in the 110K Duke Magenta at Saratoga, where he finished an even fourth at a mile and three sixteenths vs Fairbanks, Angliana and Magna Graduate. In his most recent he was a solid tracking second behind Delightful Kiss over the synthetic surface in the Grade III Turfway Park Fall Championship. He lacks class and he lacks experience, but he has proven to be competitive with a number of rivals he will see at Santa Anita. If memory serves me, and he runs, he will arguably be the best maiden to ever race in the Breeders' Cup.
Winchester - The 3-year old Dermot Weld trainee gave no indication he was ready for this level when he went to the gate in the Grade I Secretariat Stakes on Arlington Million day, but after the race was completed the son of Theatrical had stamped his ticket. With only a maiden victory from five European starts the colt was sent off at 7.50-1 at Arlington, but he was well rated from the start of the restricted to age group mile and a quarter race and easily opened up through the lane. The Irish bred is impeccably bred for the mile and a half on dirt, so though he has never raced on the surface, could find the transition from grass to synthetic much easier than to traditional dirt. He is also entered in the BC Turf, but it is possible that his connections might be considering how Shamdinan won last year's Secretariat after shipping from Europe but wound up well beaten vs his elders in the Turf and take this apparently easier route instead.
Zappa - Hoping that a pair of very competitive tries vs Grade I tests in his last two and what amounts to a drop in class for this will be the mother of all inventions, trainer John Sadler will send the 6-year old here. The son of Afternoon Deelites was, for a brief time, being considered for the Classic, but although competitive in the Pacific Classic and Goodwood in his last two, he was behind a number that will go in the Breeders' Cup feature. The gelding has 12 wins and has hit the board 21 times in 35 career starts so there is no question his consistency is a major consideration. He has also won 4 of 12 on synthetic surfaces and 1 for 2 at the distance. Frankly speaking, Zappa is a prolific performer.
TheThe Breeders Cup takes place over two profit-filled days at Santa Anita Park on Friday October 24th and Saturday October 25th. Two Days...And Now 14 Huge Races!!
DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH MONEY YOU COULD WIN?
Just think about it--5 Races on Friday...9 more on Saturday!
In Last Year's Breeders' Cup...Based On a $2 Bet
The average winner paid $13.35
The average exacta paid $122.45
The averagte trifecta paid $925.30
The average Superfecta paid $5,505.40
The average Daily Double paid $103.00
The average Pick 3 paid $682.46
The average Pick 4 paid $2,539.30
The average Pick 6 paid $321,813.20
Click here to learn more about how you can cash in at Breeders!
Maybe You're Going About This All Wrong…Or, What Trends?
2003 - Santa Anita Park
2004 - Lone Star Park
2005 - Belmont Park
2006 - Churchill Downs
2007 - Monmouth Park
Quick Question - What do those five locations have in common? Quick Answer - They were all host sites for the Breeders' Cup.
Quick Question Number Two - What else do they have in common? Quick Answer - Absolutely nothing!
And that is the point of this brief overview.
In 2003 Santa Anita Park was as far removed from what it is in 2008 as it is in 2008 from what Monmouth was in 2007. That tongue twister is a way of saying that trying to judge the Breeders' Cup based on performance stats such as post position success, horses for courses or like-type courses or off-odds or jockey or trainer location success will only do one thing…take you further away from the sort of accurate appraisal you'll need.
Look at it this way. Last year they ran the Breeders' Cup Distaff (now called The Ladies' Classic) a 1 1/8 mile race over the slop mile oval at Monmouth, meaning the race started at the furlong marker and went past the finish line and around the oval. In 2006 the race was run over a much more clay oriented fast surface at Churchill Downs. In 2005 at Belmont Park the race was also run over a fast surface that is much more sandy in nature than Churchill and more importantly was run at one turn out of the backstretch chute because Belmont is a mile and a half oval. From the biggest to the smallest…in 2004 the Breeders' Cup was run at Lone Star Park where the main track is, like Monmouth, a one mile oval with a 7 furlong turf course, and on Breeders' Cup day that year the track was labeled good. In 2003 the races were run at Santa Anita Park, to which they return in 2008. But about the only thing this year's Park shares with 2003 is the name, as the surface, in its third synthetic incarnation is now Pro-Ride.
The same progression can be traced back through Arlington in 2002, Belmont in 2001 etc. The construction of the tracks, where the starting gate is, how close or far from the first turn, the size of the turns, the pitch in degrees, the conditions of the track…these are all as different from each other as are the horses. In both years at Belmont the winning horse in the Distaff came from way off the pace, at CD in 2006 Round Pond settled in mid-pack and made a strong move on the turn and between rivals through the stretch. Last year at Monmouth Ginger Punch stalked the pace over the sloppy oval, poked her head in front at the 3/8th marker and prevailed by a neck following a protracted stretch long battle with Hystericalady. And in 2004 at Lone Star Ashado saved ground behind the dueling leaders and moved to the fore at the furlong pole before drawing clear.
Make no mistake, there are strong winning patterns in some of the Breeders' Cup races that it is germane to attend…such as cruising speed and late kick in the Mile Turf, something I will address in future coverage. But do not think that because more speed horses than closers or a certain range of post positions has an overall sample edge that you have an advantage. There just isn't one. In fact, it might be just the opposite. Since that kind of data is easy to assemble and apply, enough amateur bettors will probably use it to actually deflate the price of the horse(s) you would equally be drawn to.
Horses To Watch At Belmont , Santa Anita And Keeneland
The horses listed below ran during the week of 10/1 - 10/5 at Belmont Park, Santa Anita and Keeneland and gave plenty of indication that they are ready to run back to a top performance soon. You should play the horses listed under the conditions described in the analysis and play them twice or until they win…at which point they should be dropped.
Ain't Love Grand - After failing to get it done after a good second place effort in mid-August at Saratoga the juvenile daughter of Dixie Union left little doubt in her most recent. The Richard Dutrow trainee broke alertly in the 7 furlong MSW affair, continued out in the track, widened her margin at every pole and opened up under wraps to win off by 11 lengths in good time. Should go through early allowance conditions quickly.
American Dancer - The first time starting juvenile MSW colt was no match for the 1-2 favorite last time but did well to press that one deep into the stretch. The Todd Pletcher trainee actually took the lead to the 3/8ths pole in the 7 furlong event and when collared dug in to continue gamely to the finish, holding the place spot 5 ½ lengths in front of the show runner. It was a promising effort that should propel the colt to the winner's circle soon.
August Rex - The well meant entry level allowance/optional 75K claiming colt had a rough trip as the 2-5 favorite in his last. The Bruce Levine trainee was coming off a second vs better at Saratoga on 8/30 and after breaking alertly from the gate was taken back and moved to the outside. After losing ground he remained off the pace while three wide in the 6 furlong dash and had to go five wide into the lane for position before flattening out. He is better than he showed and should be able to regroup vs the same.
Dockmaster - The 4-year old Mizzen Mast colt broke from an outside post and was caught behind a slow pace in his most recent, but did well to get the show. The Dale Romans trainee has run consistently on both dirt and grass at the 35K claiming level since returning from a three plus month break at the end of July and in his last rallied mildly in the mile and a sixteenth turf test. He is probably a step better on grass, but all he needs is a bit quicker pace up front and he'll win another soon at the distance and level.
Leap Day - The NYSB MSW gelding was bounced around pretty well at the start of the 6 furlong test in his most recent and was able to recover to get the place. The 4-year old was making his first start since mid-June but off a second in that race was sent off as the even money favorite. Trainer Mike Hushion definitely had him ready and he got to within less than a length of the winner while 7 ¾ lengths clear of the show horse in a quick 1:10 4/5. Breaks through next time.
Oceanography - After a rough trip in her prior race, trainer Bob Frankel dropped the son of Aptitude into a 40K maiden claimer and sent him to the turf at a mile and a sixteenth. It proved a good move as the late developing 4-year old gelding went wire-to-wire over the good surface. Look for the runner to move forward from the effort and bet him back on the grass vs 35K-50K open claimers.
Silver Stetson Man - The 4-year old colt appeared to move a bit prematurely in last and it probably cost him the race. The Bob Baffert trained colt broke just off of the dueling leaders in the early going of the six furlong second level money allowance event and swept up 4 wide on the turn in the short 5 horse field. He assumed the lead at the quarter pole but weakened under pressure and settled for the place…well clear of the show horse. Just needs better handling early to eclipse this level next time.
Smartgabrielle - The Bruce Levine trained turf mare made her first start since November of last year a winning one as she caught a field of 35K claimers. The 5-year old was taking a drop in class and was sent off as the 1.10-1 favorite with an entry mate. She settled into stride along the rail early in the 6 furlong test, moved out on the turn, moved up when urged in the lane and took control at the furlong marker before drawing clear. She stayed with her current connections and should be able to handle better. Wins again soon if kept short on the weeds.
Smokin Sarah - The consistent daughter of Smokin Mel hit the board for the sixth time in seven starts in most recent and was haltered from her second straight race. The NYSB 4-year old stalked the pace setter while a bit wide in the second level allowance/optional 25K claimer, got the lead at the furlong pole, but was unable to withstand the rush of the 8-5 favorite. She dug in to hold the place to run her last seven mark to 2-1-3 and her last ten to 2-3-3 so she is sitting on a win soon vs the same for new conditioner Richard Dutrow. Follow closely.
Thoroughly Holy - The juvenile daughter of Holy Bull was amazing in winning her debut last time out. Entered vs 75K maiden claimers by trainer Linda Rice the filly went off as the just under 4-1 second favorite and broke towards the back of the pack from the inside post in the 6 furlong dash and moved outside of horses off the turn. She began a rally along the inside and after being steadied and stopped moved back to the outside at the furlong marker and surged between rivals to get the win. With that kind of heart and talent she wins right back…stay with her. (SANTA ANITA PARK)
Carrie With a C - The Mike Mitchell trained mare continues to hold good form as she followed up a sprint win two back by rallying for the place in a 6 ½ furlong turf sprint last time. She was a bit slow to begin and pulled herself into contention approaching the turn in the 40K claiming event. She moved aggressively while 5 wide and continued to move towards the leaders and was well clear of the show horse under the wire. Will win another soon vs the same so stay with her.
Gato Go Win - Courageous effort by the second longest shot on the board as the 55-1 shot rocketed through a :43 4/5 half on the lead and weakened late while holding on to the place spot in the juvenile MSW test last time out. The Jeff Mullins trained colt was visually impressive dueling down on the rail and even though caught continued hard to the wire. It was a strong improvement from his previous try at Del Mar and sets him up as one to watch vs the same next time out.
Hewitts - Back in vs third level allowance foes after chasing better in his prior the 4-year old gelding got caught in a short field three-way speed duel last time and settled for the show. The Bob Hess trainee was close up from the start of the 6 furlong event, battled between rivals to get a head in front in the lane and continued to battle to the wire after giving up position and was only beaten less than two lengths after running a 44 1/5 half and finishing in 1:08 1/5. Jumps the third level hurdle soon. Stay with him.
Hurley's Way - The longer they run the more chance this guy has of wearing them down. In his last, the MSW juvenile got away to a slow start in the mile event and chased while between rivals down the backstretch. He began to move out on the far turn and in the lane moved out for his rally and just missed the show spot in the ten horse field. The Bob Baffert trainee definitely showed improvement over his prior and is moving towards breaking through. Stay with him.
Love To Siphon - The 3-year old Siphon filly lost in her 7th bid at breaking her maiden last time out, but the switch from turf to synthetic makes it look as though she's about to get over the hump. The Bob Baffert trained miss didn't exactly disgrace herself in four two turn MSW grass tries prior to her most recent, but going 8 ½ furlongs on the main track put her in play. She got away a bit awkwardly, rushed up to take the lead and then held it until caught in very deep stretch. She held the place 2 ½ clear of the even money favorite and will get there next time.
Miss Lydia - The Jack Carava trained claiming filly made her first start vs winners last out and after a slow beginning got into stride late and showed enough to indicate career win number two is right around the turn. The 4-year old got her first win at Del Mar at the end of August and vs 25K foes in her most recent chased from the outside after breaking slowly from the rail. She went willingly between foes on the turn, moved out in the lane and was beaten a little over two lengths vs the NW2L field in the 6 furlong affair. Gets win number two soon.
Ms Toomsuba - The 3-year old Bertrando filly has yet to run a bad one from 5 career starts. The Steve Knapp trainee checked in second for the second straight time vs starter allowance foes since breaking her maiden at the 40K claiming qualifier three back. She has shown solid tactical sprinting speed and in both her two back try and most recent was either on the lead pr pressing it before weakening late. The Cal-bred definitely gets over the hump vs the same soon.
Play Nine - After trying hard and failing to negotiate the tighter turns at Fairplex the Brian Koriner trained juvenile filly ran out of ground when rallying from far back in the 75K maiden claimer last time. She was still well back at the 5/16ths marker in the 5 ½ furlong event and after swinging to the outside continued to close ground and got up for the show. She just needs a bit more ground and she'll get career win number one vs the same or even with a move back vs MSW rivals.
Restless Soul - The Ben Cecil trained turf filly had very little pace to run at last time out and had to settle for fourth. The 4-year old English-bred filly had finished a good second vs entry level allowance foes two back and just needs to get a decent pace in front of her to surpass the level. She is perfectly adept at getting a distance of ground and should find 9 to 10 furlongs within her scope. Follow closely.
She's A Real Keeper - First try vs winners was promising for the 3-year old Unusual Heat filly. The Jerry Fanning trainee broke her maiden vs restricted Cal-bred MSW foes when she rallied from far back over the Del Mar turf course. Back in vs restricted rivals she got caught 4 wide around the first turn, tried to save ground down the backstretch and had to come out 4 wide again off the far turn and through the lane. She did a good job to get the show in the state bred first level allowance and should get career win number two soon.
She's Cheeky - The daughter of Black Minnaloushe followed up her solid place try two races back by destroying her MSW rivals in her most recent. The Peter Eurton trained 3-year old stalked just off the pace while on the outside, moved up when asked and drew clear once they reached mid-stretch in the 6 furlong test. It was an impressive effort and the filly should move right through the early allowance levels. Play her right back
KEENELAND RACE TRACK
NOTE - Remember, the Keeneland meet is only 17 days so many of these horses could make their next start at the Churchill Downs meet which follows directly.
Alter Rail - The 3-year old MSW filly was much closer to the early pace in career start number two last time out and closed mildly for the show. The daughter of Orientate was no factor in her debut at Arlington in early August, but this time the George Arnold trainee stalked in the three path, moved up to get position through a quick half mile and continued doggedly to the wire in the 6 ½ furlong event. The filly should put it together soon and get her initial win.
Budget - Difficult to understand why the Albert Stall trained son of Seeking The Gold debuted at 21.60-1 last time but he did and smartly outran his odds in a very strong effort. The trainer wins with 20% of his debut MSW runners and the homebred Claiborne Farms youngster had worked steadily over the Keeneland surface since mid-July. The gelding moved within striking distance at the 3/8ths marker and continued his 4 wide rally for the place in the 7 furlong test. He won't be a maiden long or 21-1 either.
Diamond Tycoon - The European shipper acquitted himself quite well in his NA debut last time out. The Irish-bred son of Johannesburg made his first start since July art Newmarket in the mile turf event for entry level allowance runners and after settling back early commenced his rally while three wide on the turn. He continued to advance through the lane and was beaten a neck for the victory after clearing the pace setter late. He'll beat this kind going 8-9 furlongs on the green. Stay with him.
Dottie Booth - The veteran claiming mare proved once again in her most recent that she is a solid threat at 6-7 furlongs. The Michael maker trained 6-year old turned back from 8 ½ furlongs two back to 6 panels last time and tracked the pace setter in second throughout the 25K affair and then closed sharply when asked only to miss by a nose. She has good tactical speed and ran her record to 8-3-3-1 on all-weather surfaces. Bet her back vs the same.
Evade - The only bad race the son of Smoke Glacken has ever run from 7 career starts came in the slop at CD this past May. In his most recent the 3-year old was steadied early in the 9 furlong entry allowance test and went up to press the pace and take the lead into the stretch where he was passed late and then dug in to battle back before dropping a nose decision. He broke his maiden over this surface and should surpass the level soon, especially if he runs back at the meet.
Hi Flyin Indy - The 725K Darley yearling purchase found his best stride a bit too late in his debut last time, but will get his initial win soon. The son of A. p. Indy broke under a hand ride and was in mid-pack down the backstretch in the 7 furlong juvenile MSW test, moved out 6 wide entering the stretch and closed mildly for the show without being pushed. He's bred to ruin all day and will be much more urgently handled next time.
Honchis'n Ponchis - Good looking debut effort by this juvenile daughter of City Zip last time. The Dale Romans trained filly rated well in hand just off the early pace in the 7 furlong event, moved up a bit while racing three wide on the turn and took command at the furlong marker before driving clear under intermittent urging. She appeared much more mature than her experience would indicate and should win back vs allowance foes right away. Stay with her.
Loving Embrace - The 3-year old filly showed improved speed first time in a maiden claimer and first time for new connections last time out. The daughter of Golden Missile showed little in her first two career starts vs MSW foes while in the barn of Larry Jones. But making her first start since early May and for trainer Phil Sims in her most recent, she broke alertly vs her 50K rivals and pressed the pace for 5 of the 7 furlongs before giving way. She needed the race and the same speed at 6 panels vs the same gets her career win number one soon.
Spring Honour - The Michael Pino trained gelding continues to hold good form on either turf or synthetic surfaces vs 10K-16K claiming rivals. In his most recent the 5-year old faced 10K foes going 8 ½ furlongs on the main track and was well placed early as he pressed the pace. He continued to move up and rallied sharply between foes to hold the show spot 5 ½ lengths clear of the fourth place finisher in the eleven horses race. He was beaten just a nose and a neck so his recent 14-4-3-5 run indicates another win is coming vs the same and will happen under the guidance of Robert Pincins who haltered him out of the race.
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