Every once in a while, I see something that restores my faith in humanity. Earlier this week, I was at my pizza place of choice in Los Angeles, and two men were leaving when they noticed their car had a flat tire. They went into the restaurant, where an employee didn’t just call a tow truck or roadside assistance. She went into the back room, got a jack, and offered to change the tire for them. Let me repeat: SHE OFFERED TO CHANGE THE TIRE.
That’s one of those things you don’t fully appreciate as it’s happening, and it took a few hours for the, “wait, very few in that position would ever do this,” realization to set in. Having said that, in an age where it seems like everyone hates everyone else for reasons that are mind-bendingly stupid, this moved me, and maybe it moved some of you, too.
MONDAY’S RESULTS: It’s never fun to go 3-for-4 in a Pick Four, but to do so with both singles getting home was particularly brutal. We dropped $20.
WEDNESDAY’S PLAY: If you’re able to cue up a replay of the July 31st finale at Saratoga, do it and watch the trip I MISS MY FATHER (#9 that day, #2 Wednesday) had in his debut. He was soundly bumped at the start, was rushed up between horses, and naturally had nothing left in the stretch. I hope he’s a price in today’s 10th race, and I’ll put $10 across the board on him.
TOTAL WAGERED: $30
Best Bet: Destin, Race 2
Longshot: I Miss My Father, Race 9
MOSCATO: Has not run a bad race over hurdles this year and was a solid second in a stakes race earlier in the meet. A repeat of that effort would make him tough to beat; SURPRISING SOUL: Set the early pace in said stakes race before fading midway through the event. He looks like the main speed in here and could lead them a long way; MY AFLEET: Was a very successful horse on the flat, winning the 2014 Dueling Grounds Derby and running second in last year’s John’s Call. He’s made the transition to steeplechase racing with aplomb, and was second in stakes company last time out.
Seeking the Soul
DESTIN: Almost certainly needed his 2017 debut off such a long layoff. His 3-year-old campaign featured a close second in the Belmont and a third in the Jim Dandy, and anything close to those efforts would make him very formidable; SEEKING THE SOUL: Rallied to win at this route earlier in the meet. That day’s third-place finisher has since come back to win, but will he get a pace to run at in this short field?; DONEGAL MOON: Ships north after running a distant second to world-class miler Sharp Azteca. His back class is imposing, but he’s run his best races at the Jersey Shore, and this surface is much different.
MACHISMO: Comes in off a debut effort that was too bad to be true. He goes to the lawn, which he’s bred to love, and Velazquez sticking around is a big, big plus; ELUSIVE MISCHIEF: Is one of two first-time starters from this barn that appears well-meant in this spot. This one, though, is bred to be a bit more precocious than stablemate MR. CHEERFUL, and he’s worked to that pedigree; MAJESTIC DUNHILL: Was fourth in a live race earlier in the meet. That winner came back to run well in an off-the-turf stakes race, and this one’s experience could come in handy.
ENDURING ERIN: Hasn’t won in a while, but takes a huge class drop for a barn that’s woken up in a big way of late. She comes back to the dirt, and this spot represents a ton of class relief; AREWEHAVINGFUNYET: Drops back into the claiming ranks after finding starter allowance company too tough. Her start at a similar level two back was a win, and she’s 2-for-2 at this seven-furlong distance; FROSTIE ANNE: May have bounced off a strong win two back in a state-bred allowance race, where she went wire-to-wire. If she gets the early lead in this short field, she may be tough to run down.
SPECTROLITE: Has never run a bad race and seems to draw an ideal setup here. He’s the only horse in this entire field that has shown substantial early speed on turf, and he may be tough to keep up with early; CONSUMERCONFIDENCE: Takes a big jump up in class after dusting maiden claimers earlier in the meet, but that was a sharp effort, and both of his one-turn races this season have been solid; DADDY’S HOME: Was claimed by the red-hot Linda Rice barn after his last start, which came going longer. She’s had a ton of success wheeling horses back at this meet, and first-call rider Jose Ortiz taking the mount serves as an indication he could be live.
Zap Zap Zap (MTO)
LE PIN: Came off the bench running last time out at Belmont, when he was a good second behind a next-out winner. He chased a stakes-winning sprinter in his debut, and the two-turn route shouldn’t be a problem; BUSINESS EXPENSE: Has worked well and merits respect based on handicapping the connections in here. Stablemate OISEAU DE GUERRE may be favored, but he’s owned by similar connections to my top pick, and Chad Brown also saddling this one in here could mean that favorite is beatable; OISEAU DE GUERRE: Ran second earlier in the meet in his first start since November. That was a good effort, but it was also a lifetime-best race for him, meaning a bounce could be in the cards. That, plus the odd situation with the connections, gives me some pause.
TAPELLA: Was second in the slop in her debut and has worked very well since that effort. She’s bred up and down to go long, and she should take a big step forward today; PARADE: Rallied for third going seven furlongs earlier this month despite being extremely green. This barn excels with horses stretching out, and this is another filly that’s crying out for distance; HEAVENLY GRACE: Hasn’t shown much in two one-turn starts, but stretches out and couldn’t possibly be bred better for such a route. This is a daughter of future Hall of Famer Havre de Grace, and she may be a price given her mediocre form so far.
RED RIFLE: Hasn’t won in a while, but was a good second behind the Woodward-bound Rally Cry in the Alydar. His back class is substantial, and his usual race should give him a big shot; INFINITE WISDOM: Was headed by a next-out winner earlier on in the meet, and the horse that edged him two back is no slouch, either. He’s a contender, but the barn couldn’t be running any colder; RENOWN: Won four of five not too long ago, and that stretch included a Grade 3 at Keeneland going a similar marathon distance. He likely wants to be closer early on than he was last time out, and I think he’s worth a look.
Cliffs of Dover
NEVISIAN SKY: Did everything but win last time out, when he was nosed as the favorite at this level and route. A similar effort would make him the one to beat; VOODOO SONG: Returns after winning twice in less than a week earlier in the meet. He steps up out of state-bred competition, and this is an OK field, but you can’t deny the success he’s had on this turf course; CLIFFS OF DOVER: Most definitely needed his 2017 debut, so you can draw a line through it. His 2016 form was solid, and that campaign included a win over this turf course with this rider aboard.
I Miss My Father
I MISS MY FATHER: Is a huge trip play for me based on his debut. He was rushed up between horses after being slammed into at the start, and it’s likely that a considerable step forward is in the cards. The rider switch to Jose Ortiz is a massive one; SOUPER COLORS: Ran third in that race and was moving pretty well late. This is a big field, which could mean a fast early pace, and such a setup would benefit this gelding; MAST STEP: Woke up a bit when dropped to this level last time out downstate. He was a late-running third that day despite a slow start, and is another who would benefit from a pace meltdown.