I hate having to use this space to explain archaic betting rules, but here we are. In Sunday’s first race, part of a Joe Sharp-trained entry was a late scratch. By rule, the other half of the entry ran for purse money only and was not an available betting interest. Of course, the other half of the entry won as much the best, and the second-place finisher was deemed the winner for wagering purposes. It’s a weird rule that’s burned a lot of horseplayers in the past, and I wish there was a better one in place (as I’ve explained in this section in the past and will explain again in this week’s edition of “The Dark Day Files,” which goes live on AndrewChampagne.com Monday night).
As far as the pick box is concerned, both the Sharp entry and runner-up Into Mystic were marked as winners. The lone handicapper who had the Sharp entry on top had Into Mystic second, so he would’ve scratched into the wagering “winner” anyway. We agreed that this seemed like the fairest way to go about it. Hopefully, that sits well with everyone, and hopefully, we never have to deal with such a situation again!
SUNDAY’S RESULTS: We were alive to Timeline in the Grand Slam, but that one sputtered turning for home as Realm pulled off a big upset. We dropped $24.
MONDAY’S PLAY: I like two horses on today’s program that figure to be bettable prices. I’ll put $5 to win and place on #1 OVER RIDER (race one) and #3 MARCH X PRESS (race eight, turf only). If one wins, it’s probably a profitable day. If both win, we stand to make a really nice chunk of change.
TOTAL WAGERED: $20
Best Bet: Therapist, Race 2
Longshot: March X Press, Race 8
#1 OVER RIDER: Likely needed his last race and drops way down in class. His best efforts have come in dirt routes, and he could get plenty of pace to rate behind in this spot; #4 BON RAISON: Takes an alarming drop to run here for one of the highest-percentage barns on the circuit. He’s certainly got back races that would win this, but the degree of the drop is a red flag; #7 PLAYWRIGHT: Was second against similar-level foes last time out downstate and makes sense given his early zip. He’s shown he doesn’t necessarily need the lead to run well, and that could be a big help.
Stoney Bennett (MTO)
#2 THERAPIST: Is incredibly imposing given his wins over open company. He cruised home against state-breds last time out at Belmont, and his usual race would make him very tough to beat; #7 COLLECTIVE EFFORT: Chased Therapist home last time out and has woken up since being switched to the turf. He figures to be running well late; #1 CODRINGTON: Makes sense if you can toss her last-out effort, and the yielding turf seems like an OK reason to draw a line through the running line. She could appreciate firmer ground and may be a price.
#4 DEVILS HALO: Was impressive in his debut before going very fast early on last time out. He still hung on for fourth and was beaten less than two lengths, and less speed being present here can only help him; #2 AJNADEEN: Was second in a swiftly-run allowance downstate. He certainly fits here, although I’m not sure he’s as fast as my top selection; #3 HOLLYWOOD STAR: Spent most of his career running against graded stakes horses and drops into the allowance ranks for his first start since March. His one-turn efforts are sharp, and while he may need the race, there’s a chance this is the route he wants.
#5 CHICLET’S DREAM: Was a solid second in her first start since November last time out. She should improve second off the layoff, and she’s half of a very strong one-two punch for trainer Chad Brown; #8 CHESTNUT STREET: Just missed last time out at Belmont, and that race’s winner came right back to win earlier this meet. If there’s any hesitation here, it’s that there isn’t a lot of early speed for her to chase; #12 SHANGHAI DREAMS: Was fourth in a solid sprint in her career debut. If she draws in off the AE list, she’ll add Lasix, and this barn does well with stretchouts.
Sheikh of Sheikhs
#6 CAPTAIN GAUGHEN: Has won two of his last three and figures to be running well late. His win at this distance last time out was sharp, and there’s plenty of early speed to set up for his late kick; #7 MAJOR FORCE: Comes back to the claiming ranks after being beaten two lengths in an allowance at Belmont. He won two in a row before that, and he’s never really run a bad race on turf; #9 SHEIKH OF SHEIKHS: Has won two in a row and goes to the barn of Eddie Kenneally, who’s very good with new acquisitions. He may be better on turf, but this outfit knows how to win turf sprints, and he’s shown plenty of talent in the past.
Internet of Things
Stop Me If You Can
#6 LONDON HOUSE: Fetched $110,000 at auction earlier this year despite a very average pedigree, and he’s been working lights-out at Belmont. The two five-furlong drills jump off the page, and he’ll be tough if he runs to those works; #9 INTERNET OF THINGS: Has a sharp recent work to his credit ahead of his debut for the powerhouse Chad Brown barn. If there’s hesitation here, it’s because she’s bred to go longer than she’ll run here; #4 STOP ME IF YOU CAN: Adds blinkers and has an experience edge over this group. He was second against similar foes last time out and could improve with the equipment change.
#3 PALINODIE: Hasn’t won since 2016, but she’s run very well against graded stakes company and seems to have a major pace advantage on this group. She could be the lone early speed in the race, and as a result could sit a dream trip; #5 SILVER SHAKER: Has run second three times in a row, and was favored on two of those occasions. An unexpected pace meltdown would certainly help her cause, and the added distance shouldn’t be a problem; #6 OSARE: Got up in the last stride to graduate at second asking. Arrogate’s younger half-sister has a right to improve with experience, especially for a high-percentage trainer.
March X Press
#3 MARCH X PRESS: Went 2 for 2 here last year and returns to her favorite route. Further helping her cause is what looks like an abundance of early speed, which could set up for her late-running style; #7 MENTALITY: Was a close-up third against state-bred stakes foes last time out. She could appreciate the cutback in distance, and her tactical speed is a plus (especially since she doesn’t necessarily need the lead in order to run well); #10 ELOWEASEL: Hasn’t won in a while, but has shown an affinity for running well late. This race could set up for that sort of running style, so a minor award is certainly plausible.
Merger of Banks
Giant Boo Boo
#6 MERGER OF BANKS: Is 0 for 14 and will likely be favored, which is usually a horse I go against, but he gets a hugely positive trainer switch from an 0 for 43 conditioner to Rudy Rodriguez. There doesn’t appear to be much other early speed signed on, so this could be a “now or never” spot; #1 GIANT BOO BOO: Has run second in both of his prior dirt starts and makes his first outing for Jeremiah Englehart, who claimed him last time out. The rail draw in such a big field isn’t ideal, but he’s certainly a logical alternative to the likely chalk; #7 GLOBAL IMPACT: Has ramped up the works of late, and the most recent four-furlong drill on the training track says he’s ready to run. This is far from an imposing group, so a first-time starter winning wouldn’t be the biggest shock in the world.