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Yesterday was a mostly overcast and cool day for August but no one was complaining as the clouds didn’t drop rain on the beleaguered racecourse and those among the 39,743 paid attendees that were actually there seemed grateful. The stakes were yet again lessons in age old racing axioms about saving ground, trips and taking advantage of the nebulous advantages that the surface gives.
🎖️ The opener featured the 2 year old half brother by Into Mischief of the immensely popular Cody’s Wish making his racing debut in the six furlong maiden special weight race. Named Hunt’s Ball and like his famous half-brother, also trained by Bill Mott for Team Godolphin, the colt ran well in his first start, overcoming being bumped hard at the start to rally on the turn and down the stretch to run second behind a fellow first timer named Risk It. That Gun Runner colt from the Asmussen two year old maiden factory, made his unveiling a winning one by powering away from the starting gate out of post one, opening up a clear advantage on the backside run to the turn while in hand, being asked to give more by Tyler Gafflione as the field turned for home, retaining a safe margin under the wire 4 1/2 lengths clear in 1:10.75. Risk It looks like a colt who will be dangerous wherever he shows up next though a side note should be added that five of the seven starters encountered some manner of issues leaving the starting gate with the chart caller labeling the start as poor. This simply is happening far too often to not mention.
🕺🏼 Race two was supposed to be a 2yo maiden special weight going 1 1/16 on the inner turf but was shifted to be a main track Wilson chute mile race (btw not that it’s really important but Key Contender’s mile track record shouldn’t be listed as the standard as it came from a much different set up and the Wilson chute races should have their own record). We considered wagering on the winner Dancing Groom for two reasons, the fact that he attracted leading jockey Irad Ortiz to ride for Antonio Sano (the combo was 45% from 22 starts) and his pedigree unlike most of his rivals was geared toward going longer on dirt (Vino Rossi out of a Bernardini mare). Alas in a series of poor wagering choice on the day (I didn’t pull the trigger on a win bet) and watched the colt rally from off of a fast pace to win easily as much the best at 9-2. Rocket Night was sent off as the post time favorite from post nine for Mott-Alvarado but didn’t get away alertly, trailed for a half mile, passed some tired horses late while never really threatening finishing 4th by 11. Tom Collins, a Frosted colt for McGaughey-Rosario, took some tote action, set a relatively quick pace and faded to be sixth beaten 23 as Shug’s tough meet continues.
👃🏼By the 5th race veteran racing observers had noted that the inside portion of the main track seemed like it was very much the place to be with early speed also holding well. Manny Franco and David Jacobson must have been paying attention as their entrant in the NW1x allowance race 4 yo Distorted Humor gelding, Durante was gunned from the gate directly to the lead, out sprinting the expected pacesetters, the rapid Daufuskie Island and Abadin, who had been battling for the lead in all of his three career starts. To use data to show how unlikely it was for Durante to beat those two to the front, the TimeformUS early pace ratings for Daufuskie Island was 122 and Abadin’s was 111 while Durante had a rating of 88. Nevertheless, Durante and Franco blasted to the front, set rapid fractions ( 22.21 x 44.96) and was never headed, stretching his lead to a little more than 4 at the finish. Daufuskie Island chased throughout and was a clear second while his entry mate Laffit’s Fleet rallied to be third after a tardy beginning. Abadin never got involved and showed little run at any time.
🥇 The Lake Placid (Gr II) featured a field of eight well matched three year old fillies going 1 1/16th on the inner turf labeled good. The race wasn’t dissimilar to the last months Lake George (Gr III) with the theme being a gang of relatively lightly raced Chad Brown trainees surrounding the other half of the field. The Lake George was won by the Brownie who got the best trip, which turned out to be one start maiden breaker, Surge Capacity, who parlayed post one and a rail skimming ride from Joel Rosario to the winner circle by narrowly beating fellow Brownie Tax Implications whose trip wasn’t as fortunate. This go-around seemed to best favor a different Brown trainee, Aspray, who exited the Belmont Oaks (Gr I) at 10 furlongs, which seemed to be a touch further than she wanted, but the daughter of Quality Road was also drawn ideally yesterday from post two with the 2 main speed horses, Heavenly Sunday and Gloria’s Princess right beside her in post 1 and 3. As expected the early pacesetters set a solid pace with Aspray under Flavian Prat tucked away nicely right behind them, biding his time while the rest of the field jockeyed for positioning. About midway on the final turn, Prat angled Aspray to the three path and pounced quickly on the tiring leaders, opening a narrow lead mid-stretch, prevailing under a strong drive to win by 2. Surge Capacity again took the inside path and rallied to be the runner up with longshot Soviet Excess finishing strong after trailing, narrowly beating Tax Implications (GB) for the show dough. Clearly Aspray is a talented filly but trips matter ALOT in these events and any one of the top four could probably have been the winner had their journeys been switched around. It was also a small victory for domestic breeding as we see many of our graded turf stakes winners/placings go to European-bred’s and the first three across the wire in the Lake Placid were all bred in Kentucky.
🏆 The Alabama (Gr I) was a confounding affair to handicap as the question of who could handle the 10 furlong distance loomed as well as how the potential early pace scenario would play out in the large group. It turned out to be simple as Randomized seized control of the race early, Joel Rosario intent from the start on grabbing the lead, setting a solid pace while being dogged by Defining Purpose, with those two a few lengths clear of Sacred Wish with usual one run closer, Wet Paint sitting much closer than usual in 4th. That was pretty much all you needed to know as that quartet proceeded down the backside and through the final turn before Sacred Wish threw in the towel leaving the other three to battle it out for the win and on the board finishes. It really wasn’t much of a tussle though, as Randomized created some separation between her and Defining Purpose at the top of the stretch and try as she may, Wet Paint just couldn’t cut into her margin though still out-finishing Defining Purpose for the place money. Randomized is a daughter of Nyquist out of an Elusive Quality mare and was exiting a stakes win in the minor Wilton Stakes here on the opening Friday of the meet for Brown-Rosario-Klaravich. While I don’t believe that this is a particularly strong group of three year old fillies this year, the results of the Alabama beyond the first three really spell that out. Accomplished fillies Taxed, Gambling Girl, Sacred Wish and Julia Shining were beaten 17, 19, 28 and 57 lengths…and if you don’t believe that some of those results are because of EIPH…well you probably don’t believe in gravity either. Oh the official equibase chart caller described the start as “Poor” and you can make what you’d like of that…
⛈️ Del Mar is canceled today because of inclement weather expected to bring heavy rains to the San Diego area and a track/backside that isn’t set up to handle that sort of storm. More about that here.
🇨🇦 It’s Kings Plate day at Woodbine and even though British King Charles is creepy (I’d be a far better King Charles) his race is a wild 17 horse affair and you can find free DRF Formulator PP’s Here.
🏄🏼♂️ The Sorority at Monmouth looks like a good race with several Saratoga shippers. It goes as race 8 on the 10 race card. Read about it here.
💵 DRF’s David Aragona looks at todays 4th from the Spa Here.
7️⃣ For the degenerates among us Parx has seven stakes for Pa breds on their Monday card and you can read more about those Here. Tuesday the Bensalem oval hosts the preps for Pa Derby day card headlined by the Smarty Jones Stakes and those details can be found Here.
💰 The Going in Circles Spa Play of the Day from Barry ‘the Sniper’ Spears nailed yesterday’s Lake Placid with an $8.70 winner and he has more free wagering love for you today!
😴 We were tardy in getting the Digest out today due to fatigue from the doubleheader yesterday culminating with the great match race at Saratoga Harness last night that attracted a huge crowd to see Flavian Prat take on local driver Brett Beckwith in a charity race. The pro driver beat the pro jockey but Prat did well for his first actual driving attempt and looks like he could switch over and be a successful driver as well (He is better than Ake already)
👎🏼 No preview today as a six horse turf sprint isn’t part of our lexicon.
It’s Travers week starting tomorrow and I figured this would be a good race to kick off the week. If this doesn’t get you going, you might be dead already.