This week’s installment of “The Dark Day Files” is a wee bit different than usual. I posted a hint on my Twitter page (@AndrewChampagne) a few days ago, but by and large, everyone’s pretty much in the dark about what I’m doing. It’ll be online on AndrewChampagne.com and my social media pages Monday evening, and if you think I’m being cryptic about what I’ve got in store…well, you’re pretty much right.
SUNDAY’S RESULTS: Our late Pick Four went up in smoke in the eighth, when Magician’s Vanity looked like she couldn’t lose at the top of the stretch and then, somehow, did. After scratches, we dropped $36.
MONDAY’S PLAY: I’ll dive back into the late Pick Four, and because my ticket is on the skinnier side, I’ll play it for $1 instead of the usual 50-cent denomination. I’m singling #3 RUN AND GO in the sixth, using #2 VINTAGE MATTERS and #7 CONVERGE in the seventh, singling #5 DIVERSIFY in the eighth, and punching the “ALL” button in the ninth.
TOTAL WAGERED: $20
Best Bet: Run and Go, Race 6
Longshot: This Bird Can Sing, Race 4
THE BERBER: Ran well when second in his debut earlier in the meet, and he did so for a barn whose horses often need a race to get going. Improvement is logical at second asking; MICHAEL WONDERFUL: Has a few strong works on his tab ahead of the debut. His dam is a half to several real runners, and this one could be ready to run; FINAL BLESSING: Is another first-time starter that could be prepared to win right away. The recent workouts are OK, and this doesn’t appear to be the strongest race for the level.
SHE REMEMBERED: Has just missed in back-to-back starts at this level, and in doing so has beaten a number of rivals that show up in this spot. It may be graduation day following a few hard-luck losses; GRAND BANKS: Has finished behind my top pick in back-to-back races. This barn has quietly had a solid meet, and the presence of strong turf rider Joe Bravo is a plus; ITSTHEMONEY: Was protected last time out in her first start since December and ran fairly well. She could improve off of that, and doing so could get her a piece at a price. DIRT SELECTIONS: SHE’SAKITTYKAT, FROST DELAY, IRISH SWEETHEART.
Summer of Joy
MADAM AAMOURA: Has not won in a while, but exits a pretty tough race for the level. She bested the rest of the field by more than four lengths, and this one should be prominent early; SUMMER OF JOY: Drops down in class after an unsuccessful try against unrestricted, $25k company. Her race two back was pretty solid, and a repeat of that would make her a contender; CHARIS: Ships in from the Midwest for her local debut. On figures, she fits, but how she’ll take to the surface is an unknown.
This Bird Can Sing
Song for the Soul
THIS BIRD CAN SING: Was claimed last time out by Brad Cox, who tries her on turf for the first time. Few are better than Cox at moving horses up, and I like when a trainer claims a horse and tries something completely different; SONG FOR THE SOUL: Comes back to the turf for Wesley Ward second off the layoff. She showed speed at this route last summer, and that day’s winner turned out to be a solid horse; TRES CHARMANT: Showed speed against maiden special weight foes on Independence Day and drops back in for a tag. Linda Rice’s barn is firing on all cylinders, but this one may not be alone on the lead early on. DIRT SELECTIONS: SAME.
Cinderela El Crome (MTO)
HEMBREE: Was a strong second last time out against allowance company and drops in for a tag for the first time. He was bet in a Grade 3 two back, and note the presence of up-and-coming apprentice Katie Clawson; HE’S CHEEKY: Has a “good race, bad race” pattern going, and this would be the spot for a good one. His race two back against similar company was very strong, and he exits a swiftly-run starter allowance; BEN OF THE BRIDGE: Merits a look underneath at a big price. Neither of his last two races really set up for a closer, and if they go quickly early on, he figures to come running late. DIRT SELECTIONS: CINDERELA EL CROME, HEMBREE, BEN OF THE BRIDGE.
Run and Go
RUN AND GO: Looked like a big-time prospect when she won her debut by four widening lengths. She went to the sidelines shortly after, but she’s been training well for powerhouse connections ahead of her return; AWESTRUCK: Was fourth in a Grade 3 last time out and cuts back to a sprint distance. This route should be more to her liking, and she can’t be ignored; KNARSDALE: May have needed her last effort, which came off a three-month layoff. She gets Lasix for the first time, and note that she beat eventual Queen’s Plate winner Holy Helena back in April.
CONVERSE: Comes back to the state-bred ranks after a try in open company. He ran into Hello Don Julio that day, and that one was an impressive winner against better horses Saturday; VINTAGE MATTERS: Was beaten less than a length last time out in a weirdly-run marathon race. There appears to be some speed signed on, and this one should be running well late; HIDDEN VOW: Is a threat if he draws in off the AE list. He generally runs the same race every time out, and the Jason Servis/Irad Ortiz duo has put up eye-popping numbers this meet.
Good Luck Gus
DIVERSIFY: Is 4-for-5 against New York-breds, and that one loss came on a sloppy track. There doesn’t appear to be much other early speed in this race, and this one will be very tough to run down if he’s left alone; PAPA SHOT: Stretches back out in distance following a third-place finish against similar-level company earlier in the meet. He doesn’t have a bad race on the form, and his best effort would give him a big shot; GOOD LUCK GUS: Hasn’t won in a while, but came back running off a long layoff earlier in the meet. If my top two picks lock up early, this closer could be the chief beneficiary.
CONQUEST SANDMAN: Wired the field two back against allowance company before running into much better in the optional ranks last time out. He seems like the main speed, and the rider switch to John Velazquez is significant; TRICKED UP: Beat allowance foes last time out at Monmouth and would benefit from a fast early pace. The post position isn’t ideal, but he may be talented enough to overcome it; ACOUSTIC: Has taken a significant step forward of late. He’s won two of three turf starts this year, and he’d also be formidable if this race was moved to the dirt. DIRT SELECTIONS: ACOUSTIC, BANKERS HOLIDAY, DEVINE DENTAL.