News broke yesterday (per Equibase’s Dave Litfin and DRF’s David Grening) that Wednesday’s fifth race was run not at the listed distance of a mile and a sixteenth, but at a mile and an eighth. With all due respect to the powers-that-be at the New York Racing Association, how was this allowed to happen?
You don’t see baseball diamonds with bases 95 feet apart instead of 90, or NFL fields 110 yards long instead of 100. Forgive me for thinking this is unreasonable, but if a race is listed with a 3:15 post time and a distance of a mile and a sixteenth, racing fans should be able to expect a race at that time and distance. We need to get the small things right in order to tackle the big issues this sport has, and it’s incredibly frustrating that something as basic as it gets in horse racing was mishandled.
THURSDAY’S RESULTS: We took a shot with a price, but Gio Lucky didn’t fire, so we dropped $18.
FRIDAY’S PLAY: I’ll concentrate on the third race, where I think #5 THIRTEEN SONGS could benefit a great deal from the class drop. I’ll keep things simple and put $20 on her to win in hopes that we get the 6-1 morning line price.
TOTAL WAGERED: $20
Best Bet: Elios Milos, Race 6
Longshot: Thirteen Songs, Race 3
#6 CAVALLOTTO: Was fourth against better company and drops down to run in this event. He’s won two of his four career dirt sprints, including his lone start at this seven-furlong distance; #5 NINETYEIGHTTWO: Is a huge price on the morning line, but I think we’ll see something much shorter come post time. I’ll be happy if I’m wrong, though, as his two dirt sprints earlier this year at Tampa were both wins and Joel Rosario takes the call for a smaller barn; #4 PLANET TRAILBLAZER: Takes a colossal drop in class for his first race since October. He’s been gelded since his last effort and won here a season ago going longer, and while he probably wins if he’s right, the drop and this barn’s record with horses off of long layoffs will entice me to play against him on most of my tickets.
Mrs Vargas (MTO)
#4 AMAZING AUDREY: Drops in for a tag for the first time and cuts back in distance after two straight tries at a mile and a quarter. She should appreciate the class relief, and her best efforts have come with today’s pilot in the irons; #6 SECRET QUALITY: Has been competitive in both of her career starts, which came at this level. Mike Maker claimed her following her most recent performance, and she should appreciate two turns; #5 LOVE TO SHARE: Obviously didn’t care for sloppy dirt at Monmouth and returns to her preferred surface here. She crossed the wire first in her last try for a tag at Gulfstream, and she figures to be moving well late. DIRT SELECTIONS: MRS VARGAS, MISS LOYALTY, GOLDEN VALE.
You Know Too
#5 THIRTEEN SONGS: Found the Grade 2 Honorable Miss a bit too tough, as she ran a distant fourth behind Finley’sluckycharm. This seems like the right level, and she could sit a perfect stalking trip; #4 YOU KNOW TOO: Has been running against stakes company for most of her career, and is undefeated in non-stakes races. The blinkers go on, but it seems like she wants to go much longer, which is a red flag; #3 LUZ MIMI: Is a proven closer that seems to be in good form. She’s won two of four races this year, and both of those wins have come with today’s rider aboard.
Long Gray Line
Lookin At Blessing
#2 LONG GRAY LINE: Drops down in class and adds blinkers for a barn that’s had a tremendous year to this point. He boasts a win going two turns, as well as a recent bullet workout at Churchill Downs; #7 MALIBU STRINGS: Ships up from Gulfstream Park, drops down in class, and tries two turns on dirt for the first time. That’s a lot of changes, and while any one of them could wake him up, this seems like a panicky drop; #1 LOOKIN AT BLESSING: Hasn’t won in a while, but drops down in class and stretches out to two turns, where he’s run credible races before.
Mo Wheels Up (MTO)
#7 TWO SHAKES: Fetched $310,000 at auction last year and is bred to be a very good turf horse. She’s by Exchange Rate, out of a Dynaformer mare, and trained by Wesley Ward, one of the top first-out conditioners in the country; #3 FIERCE SCARLETT: Goes out for the always-formidable Chad Brown barn and is by the late Scat Daddy, a prominent turf influence. Her most recent turf work was solid, and she could be a runner; #6 GLOBAL EXCHANGE: Has a very similar pedigree to my top selection and goes out for Jimmy Toner, who certainly knows how to win with turf horses. She may need a race, but it wouldn’t be a shock if she shows talent at a price. DIRT SELECTIONS: MO WHEELS UP, TWO SHAKES, PAKHET.
Leap to Glory
#6 ELIOS MILOS: Won his debut and was a credible second in his first try against winners. He may have been a bit too close to the pace last time out, and there appears to be some speed for him to chase here; #4 LEAP TO GLORY: Put it all together last time out in his second start for Charlton Baker. That came against a suspect field, but Rosario keeps the mount, and when this barn gets a horse going in the right direction, look out; #3 PROLETARIAT: Makes his first start since a trainer switch and gets a rider switch to Luis Saez. He’s got plenty of early zip, and his usual race would likely get him a piece of this.
Empressof the Nile
#1 EMPRESSOF THE NILE: Chased Grade 2 foes last time out and drops into allowance company. She’s shown an affinity for marathon distances and broke her maiden here last summer; #3 VIOLET BLUE: Has done her best work going very long on turf and was fourth in a stakes race downstate last month. There’s a chance she’s in career-best form, and she should be moving well late; #6 BENGALA: Wired a lesser field last time out and hasn’t run a bad race since coming to America. She likely won’t get an easy lead here, but the inner turf is kind to horses with tactical zip.
Cause Me Grief
#9 THEATERINTHEROUND: Drops in for a tag after running fourth in her first try against winners. It’s an aggressive drop, and her past races seem a cut above those possessed by the rest of the field; #7 CAUSE ME GRIEF: Was claimed last time out by Patrick Reynolds and figures to be prominent early. Javier Castellano hops aboard, and she may be the one they have to run down; #1 QUESTEQ: Hasn’t won in a while, but was a good second at big odds against starter allowance foes earlier in the meet. This barn’s runners have fared well at the meet, and she can’t be ignored in vertical exotics.
My Boy Tate
#5 ALWAYS SUNSHINE: Gets my nod in a race light on numbers, but heavy on talent. This one was impressive in winning a minor stakes race last time out, and unlike many of these, he doesn’t necessarily need the lead to run well; #2 MR. CROW: Found the Grade 1 Vanderbilt to be too tough, but has a track record of success at Saratoga and should appreciate the class relief. He may be fastest out of the gate, and that could demoralize some of these rivals; #1 MY BOY TATE: Returns to the races for his first outing since February. He got very good over the winter, but this isn’t an easy spot and the rail draw isn’t ideal.
Lost in Manhattan
Not That Brady
#7 LOST IN MANHATTAN: Was fourth in his debut on dirt and goes to the grass, a surface he’s bred to like. His experience should help him, and this trainer/jockey combination merits respect; #6 WISECRACK: Fetched $125,000 at auction last year and is bred to be precocious. He’s by The Factor, whose offspring tend to like turf, and trainer Rick Violette is solid with debuting runners; #13 NOT THAT BRADY: Is unlikely to draw in off the AE list, but must be used if he does. He’s out of the mare Lisa’s Booby Trap, one of the best stories in racing during her career, and he’s worked well here of late.