I wish I could use this space to talk about something witty, or amusing, or easy to digest. Having said that, the events of the past few days have made that impossible for me to do. I posted a piece to AndrewChampagne.com Wednesday morning about the events in Charlottesville, Va., and there are some things that are just plain more important than who I like in the fourth race.
If you’re interested, it’s here. If you aren’t, I get that, too. Having said that, my great-uncle, who still resides in upstate New York, fought similar evils in 1944 when wounded at the Battle of Saipan. We shouldn’t be fighting the same battle more than 70 years later.
WEDNESDAY’S RESULTS: My Mr. Wonderful was dueled into defeat in the fifth, and as such, all of our plays fizzled. We dropped $30.
THURSDAY’S PLAY: I’ll gamble that #5 CLIPTHECOUPONANNIE bounces back after a dud last time out over a very sloppy track at Belmont. My play is a $10 win/place bet on the Todd Pletcher trainee, and I’m hoping we get her 6-1 morning line price.
TOTAL WAGERED: $20
Best Bet: Dreamy Margarita, Race 4
Longshot: Clipthecouponannie, Race 8
Friend of Liberty
Easy Way Out
HONOR WAY: Was an incredibly hard-luck loser earlier in the meet (trust me, I know, I bet her). She was claimed out of that race by an outfit that excels with new acquisitions; FRIEND OF LIBERTY: Was second Sunday and is wheeled back quickly by the new connections. Her best race is certainly good enough to win; EASY WAY OUT: Has not run a bad race to this point in her career. She faces winners for the first time, and these connections must be respected.
BROOKLYN SPEIGHTS: Stretches back out to two turns, and he’s run fairly well at such routes in the past. This is a very confusing race, and this one’s past races at similar routes appear best; HEAT CHECK: May have simply detested sprinting at Belmont. He stretches back out here, and note that his two best races came going long; SARATOGA COLONEL: Comes back to the turf and tries two turns for the first time. The pedigree seems to indicate that the distance shouldn’t be a problem, but I hesitate to take a short price on a horse trying something new.
THEBIGFUNDAMENTAL: Was a beaten favorite earlier in the meet over a tiring track that was not kind to his running style. The surface has been a bit more speed-favoring of late, and that should help him; SAIL AHOY: Was a promising 2-year-old back in 2015, and while he hasn’t moved forward a ton from that form, he’s run well in tough spots and should be going the right way late; SECURITIZ: Has plenty of ability, and his best race could win this, but he’s run second a lot, and I don’t like endorsing such horses on top.
DREAMY MARGARITA: Ran a puzzling clunker last time out after breaking her maiden impressively two back. I’m drawing a line through the most recent race, and she should appreciate the drop in class; MOJO’S QUEEN: Woke up when switched to the Ralph Nicks barn earlier this year. She led briefly at this level downstate, and Irad Ortiz returns to ride; VEIL DANCE: Just missed last time out in a race that did not set up for her late-running style. There should be more pace signed on here.
SMOKIN PLATINUM: Did everything but win in his debut, when he set the early pace and was reeled in late. Rosario rides back, and a repeat of that effort would make this one tough to beat; DARK OPS: Has worked very well ahead of his debut, and Rudy Rodriguez and Irad Ortiz must be respected. If there’s any hesitation here, it’s that he may want to go longer; SEA FOAM: Is bred to be a good one. He’s by Medaglia d’Oro and out of an Unbridled’s Song mare, and he’s another that may be worth watching as races get longer.
HARD SCRAMBLE: Was third behind a well-meant horse last time out at this level. This race seems to set up for a closer, so this colt’s flexibility could be a big, big plus; BEASLEY: Returns off a long layoff after tackling heavy hitters in Florida earlier this season. He merits plenty of respect, but this seems shorter than he wants to go, the rail is a concern, and there won’t be any value here; GRUMPELSTILTSKIN: Is another coming off the bench, and he does so making his first start for Jeremiah Englehart. The recent works are very sharp, and he figures to be a major player if he’s ready to run.
SUMMER LUCK: Was third in a Grade 3 two back, and that day’s runner-up won a graded stakes here earlier in the meet. She’s got some tactical speed, which could come in handy given the relative lack of early zip in here; TAPERGE: Was beaten less than a length in a stakes race back in April and has been rested since that effort. She’d benefit from a quick early pace, and these connections are formidable; INITIATE: Just missed last time out when setting the early fractions, and she figures to be the main speed. If she’s left alone, she could be tough to run down.
CLIPTHECOUPONANNIE: Was a big disappointment last time out at 2/5, but I’m willing to draw a line through that race, which came over a very sloppy track. She was also coming off a career-best effort, and a return to that form would make her morning line odds very appealing; QUEZON: Was second in this race last year and once again is worth a look. She may be at her best on a wet track, but her most recent effort was solid and she should be going well late; COURT DANCER: Hasn’t won in a while but figures to be a main pace player. She was second in a stakes race last time out, and this barn has had a tremendous meet to date.
Tayler’s the Boss (MTO)
Centr of the Stage
CARRERA CAT: Needs some luck to draw in off the AE list, but seems to be the one to beat if she does. She was fourth in her debut behind a well-meant Todd Pletcher charge, and improvement is logical at second asking; CENTR OF THE STAGE: Adds blinkers in her second turf start and is eligible to improve with a better trip. She’s had no trip luck in either of her first two starts; SCATBACK: Was bet heavily in her debut, where she ran fourth while racing greenly. She should improve in her second start, but the rail draw is a concern.