Closing Day is upon us, and it’s time for my usual round of shout-outs. Most notably, thanks to the staff at The Saratogian for once again having me in The Pink Sheet. Managing editor Charlie Kraebel, sports editor David Johnson, and the entire sports staff all do fantastic work all meet long, essentially putting out two newspapers’ worth of content, and this year, they did it while moving shop from the old office on Lake Avenue.
I’d also like to thank those who read my work this summer. Whether you saw it on AndrewChampagne.com, bought a copy of The Pink Sheet, or mooched someone else’s paper while at the track, I genuinely appreciate those who took the time to check out what I wrote and which horses I picked. It’s been a lot of fun, and I’m already looking forward to next year!
SUNDAY’S RESULTS: With the rain came surface changes and scratches, and we were washed out of all of our action.
MONDAY’S PLAY: Last year, I opted to let it all ride and it paid off, getting me closer to even on the year. This year, I’m doing something very similar. #7 YOUR LOVE looms large in the fourth race, and I think she’s a very likely winner, albeit at a short price. I’ll put all $828 of my bankroll on her, with $414 each to win and place. The question is, what do I do with the remaining 35 cents?
TOTAL WAGERED: $828
Best Bet: Your Love, Race 4
Longshot: Something Joyful, Race 10
MARZO: Was a million-dollar baby at last year’s Keeneland September sale and has worked to that price for powerhouse connections. The outside post is a plus given his inexperience, and I think John Velazquez can make his own trip; DIRTY: Has worked strongly here for a barn that can win with first-time starters. He fetched $120k at auction earlier this year, and is by promising young sire Maclean’s Music; ENTICED: Is bred to be a very good one. He’s by Medaglia d’Oro and out of It’s Tricky, who was a very good filly at her peak. The rail draw isn’t ideal, and this barn’s horses sometimes need a race, but he could win on his best day.
Escape Velocity (MTO)
Son of Oahu
CARBON DATA: Drops down in class for an aggressive barn that clearly wants to win the training title at the meet. He’s been competitive against better horses, and his usual race would make him tough to beat; SON OF OAHU: Hasn’t won in a while, but has run well in each of his last two starts. Both of them came at this level, and he figures to come running late; SUTTER’S MILL: Was claimed out of his last race by Charlton Baker, who’s done very well with new acquisitions. He likely needs to step up, but his debut win at Monmouth was pretty good. DIRT SELECTIONS: ESCAPE VELOCITY, ITSABIGBOY, BUNYAAN.
Driving Me Crazy
No Hiding Place
DRIVING ME CRAZY: Has improved considerably in two starts for Jason Servis, one of which was an impressive victory at this route. He showed he didn’t necessarily didn’t need the lead that day, and given the speed signed on here, that’s a plus; NO HIDING PLACE: Takes a big drop in class after flashing speed against much better horses last week. Jose Ortiz hops aboard, and this one could appreciate the considerable class relief; DROVER CRAZY: Was claimed last time out at Belmont and takes a steep drop in his first start for new connections. He’s another that could relish the shallower waters, but such a steep drop this quickly also raises some concerns.
YOUR LOVE: Found the Grade 1 Test too tough last time out but won two in a row before that downstate. This does not appear to be the strongest race for the level, and her usual race would make her tough; RING KNOCKER: Must be a fun horse to own, having hit the board in 22 of 30 career races. She has not run a bad race in nearly a year, and she figures to be running well late; KELSOCAIT: Sports a solid win over this course, albeit against a weaker group. She has tactical speed and figures to be prominent early.
My Bronx Tail (MTO)
RUSHING FALL: Fetched $320k at auction last summer and is bred up and down for the turf. She’s by More Than Ready and out of a Forestry mare, and some of the recent workouts appear very sharp; TROPICAL WAVE: Didn’t do much running in her debut, but I’m drawing a line through that effort. She’s bred to go much longer, and this barn’s first-time starters don’t hit at a high rate. Improvement is logical, and we may get a big price; CRITIQUE: Was an OK second in her debut, which was rained off the turf. The experience helps, but the recent workouts have been a bit on the slow side. DIRT SELECTIONS: MY BRONX TAIL, LADY BY CHOICE, CRITIQUE.
Home Run Maker
ENGAGE: Ran very well in his debut, finishing a strong second behind a Hopeful contender. They went very fast early on in that event, and any improvement would make this one very formidable; HOME RUN MAKER: Fetched $205k at auction earlier this year and has been one of the fastest-working 2-year-olds on the grounds. He’s bred to be a good one, and he certainly merits consideration; HE’S BANKABLE: Probably wants to go longer, but can’t be ignored. His recent works are very sharp, and given the pedigree (by Arch, out of a Seeking the Gold mare), he could benefit if there’s any moisture left in the track.
Heart to Heart
HEART TO HEART: Has one way of going, which is on the lead, and that could help him here. There’s not much other early speed signed on, and this one shouldn’t be hurt by any moisture still left in the turf course; DELTA PRINCE: Has done very little wrong since being switched to the turf. He’s won three out of four starts on the lawn, including an impressive win here earlier in the meet; PROJECTED: Has run second in each of his last three starts, including last month’s Lure. That was a swiftly-run race, and this one’s back class makes him a contender.
Jcs American Dream (MTO)
Driven by Speed
TIZZELLE: Has two wins and two seconds in four career starts, including one that came earlier in the meet. That day’s winner came right back to win again, and this one has beaten several of today’s rivals in the past; DRIVEN BY SPEED: Has woken up since going to the turf, winning two races in a row. Both victories came in wire-to-wire fashion, and while there’s other speed here, this may be the horse they have to catch late; BAREEQA: Has won three of her last five starts, including a win going longer here last month. This is a class test for her, but this barn has had a very strong meet and Lezcano’s ridden well on this turf course. DIRT SELECTIONS: JCS AMERICAN DREAM, LEGALLY BAY, IRON MIZZ.
Free Drop Billy
MOJOVATION: Was extremely impressive in his debut, winning in wire-to-wire fashion while being geared down late. The rail draw isn’t ideal, but the unveiling suggested there’s a lot of ability here; NATIONAL FLAG: Broke through last time out after a disappointing debut. That day’s runner-up runs in the sixth, and if that one wins there, it bodes well for this one’s chances in this spot; FREE DROP BILLY: Was a late-running second in the Sanford, and he’s bred to improve as the races get longer. The extra furlong should be a welcome change, and he figures to be going the right direction late.
Lulu’s Pom Pom
LULU’S POM POM: Was the subject of a controversial disqualification many didn’t agree with last month (spoiler alert: I didn’t, either). She had a rough trip that day, and a repeat effort could be good enough to win; SOMETHING JOYFUL: Is bred to be a strong turf runner and has worked well ahead of her debut. Joel Rosario doesn’t ride for Jeremiah Englehart much, so it’s noteworthy that he’s signed on here; OBJECTIVE COMPLETE: Probably needed the race last time out, since it was her first effort in about seven months. Improvement is logical second off the bench if she draws into the meet’s final race.