This week’s edition of “The Dark Day Files” went live late Monday night and chronicled what I took away from a day trip to Lake Tahoe. I’d never been, but a trip there gave me a sense of perspective I didn’t really have before, in a number of different ways.
The write-up is online here, and a link’s also available on my Twitter page (@AndrewChampagne). As a reminder, I read everything that comes in through my site’s “contact” function. If you’ve got something to get off your chest, now’s the time to do so, since we’re less than a week from closing day!
MONDAY’S RESULTS: As I expected, Dr. Shane was prominent early on in the sixth, but he couldn’t hold off the closers in the race. We dropped $28. Sorry, Dan!
WEDNESDAY’S PLAY: It’s tough for 2-year-olds to go two turns. It’s even tougher when the track running the race gets the distance of said race wrong and adds a sixteenth of a mile to the journey. That said, #7 SOMELIKEITHOTBROWN was incredibly impressive in his last-out victory, and I think he’s the one to beat in the Grade 3 With Anticipation. I’ll play $6 exactas that use him above #1 HENLEY’S JOY, #5 SEANOW, and #9 SWAMP RAT, and $3 saver exactas that use him below that trio. Finally, I’ll play $2 doubles starting in that race that single Somelikeithotbrown and end with longshots #5 JIMMY JAZZ, #10 WHISKEY RUN, and #11 MILARDO in the finale, a race where anything could happen.
TOTAL WAGERED: $33
Best Bet: Brown entry, Race 4
Longshot: Milardo, Race 10
Dancin in the Rain
#3 DARK GEMINI: Always seems to fire and looms large in here following a second-place finish against similar earlier in the meet. He may benefit from the added distance he gets in this spot; #6 DANCIN IN THE RAIN: Put forth a career-best effort in graduating last time out at Monmouth. He was loose on the lead that day and seems like the main speed in here; #4 LAST SHANI: Goes out for Jonathan Sheppard, who must always be respected in these spots. He won two back and could sit a stalking trip.
#3 BROOKLYN GERTY: Showed speed last time out in her first start since May of 2017, but faded to fourth as the 6/5 favorite. She may have needed that race, though, and this certainly seems like a softer spot; #6 SALT POND: Took a step forward last time out when second at this level over a muddy track. Jose Ortiz sees fit to ride back; #5 JORDY’S READY: Has run reasonably well in three dirt tries at this level and gets a big rider switch to Luis Saez. Phil Serpe has sent out several horses that have won at prices at this meet, and he can’t be ignored.
A Bit of Mischief
#5 A BIT OF MISCHIEF: Gets my top selection partially based on being a first-time starter in a race without much proven form. In addition, she’s bred to be a solid turf sprinter, and this barn has had plenty of success with similar stock; #11 PADDYDUNALOT: May have needed the last-out effort, which doubled as her first race in more than two months. She gets back to a sprint distance and drops further down the ladder for a barn whose horses are firing at a solid clip; #3 NO DEAL: Came from way back in her first start at this level and route to be beaten just a length. The 0 for 11 career mark isn’t ideal, but a repeat of the most recent effort could get the job done.
BROWN ENTRY: Both #1 PROGNOSTICATION and #1A FINANCIAL SYSTEM could win this race. The former has won two in a row and came back running off a long layoff, while the latter is 2 for 2 and has worked his way up the class ladder; #6 SHORTLIST: Stepped forward in his first start for a new barn with a close-up second earlier this month. Luis Saez rides back, and he’d benefit from an early speed duel given his late-running style; #9 SLEWACANDY: Was left alone on the front end last time out and made his rivals pay, winning by more than nine lengths. This is a significant step up, but Velazquez rides back, and a similar trip isn’t impossible.
#3 MORE MISCHIEF: Dueled early in her debut, which came over a sloppy track she may not have appreciated. Her two works since that race have been sharp, and of the ones that have run before, she seems like the one with the most zip out of the gate; #6 CHILLINWITHFRIENDS: Had an adventurous trip in her debut, but still salvaged a third-place finish. That day’s runner-up has since come back to win, and she may have gotten a lot out of that race; #10 MIDNITESALRIGHT: Ran third in a stakes race last time out and draws a cushy outside post here. A repeat of that race puts her in the mix, although she may have been aided by the wet track she caught.
#8 SENSIBLE MYTH: Drops in for a tag for the first time after trying stakes foes at Laurel Park. She may not have liked the Laurel turf course, and a repeat of her efforts two or three back would make her very tough; ENGLEHART ENTRY: #1A JAZZY JUDER almost certainly needed her last race, which came off a 10-month layoff. That day’s winner has since won again, and this one’s worked well of late on the training track; #4 TRES CHARMANT: Returns to the grass and to this route of ground, which brought this filly her lone win to date last summer. Some horses simply relish this trip, and this barn has done great work with turf sprinters of late.
Out of Orbit
#4 FAIR REGIS: Was a solid second against similar foes earlier in the meet and always seems to fire. She’s yet to run a bad race this year, and her usual effort would put her right there; #2 Y’ALL WICKED: Took a huge step forward with a wire-to-wire score last time out at Finger Lakes that doubled as her second win in a row. This is certainly a class test, but when this barn gets sprinters on the right track, they tend to stay there; #3 OUT OF ORBIT: Has run well twice at this level this meet and comes back for another try. The last-out winner ran well in a stakes race last week, and she could improve cutting back in distance.
#9 AVEENU MALCAINU: Won twice at last year’s Saratoga meet and has flashed potential at times during his career. The blinkers come off after a failed experiment last time out, and he draws well in this large field; #6 SUMMER BOURBON: Hasn’t won in a while but figures to benefit from this race’s likely pace scenario. The faster they go early, the better this one’s chances figure to be; #4 THE CARETAKER: Has won two in a row after a long drought and could be figuring things out. His victory earlier in the meet was sharp, and it helps that he doesn’t need the lead in order to run well.
#7 SOMELIKEITHOTBROWN: Won the infamous race contested at the wrong distance earlier in the meet and did so looking like a serious, serious turf runner. A repeat of that effort could make him formidable in an intriguing renewal of the Grade 3 With Anticipation; #5 SEANOW: Wired the field last time out at this route and is bred to be a strong router. He may not get a similar trip, but there’s also a chance he’s improving and doesn’t need a perfect journey in order to contend; #9 SWAMP RAT: Is wheeled back fairly quickly after finishing second going shorter in the Skidmore. He’s shown a big closing kick, but there are serious distance questions on the stretch-out to two turns.
#11 MILARDO: Is a reluctant top pick in a race where I would advise using as many runners as you can afford. He makes his first start for this barn after missing the break in his debut at Arlington, and I’m gambling he wants this distance; #5 JIMMY JAZZ: Has been one-paced in two career starts to date, but is a recent gelding and gets a rider switch to Joe Bravo. Two turns could be right up his alley given the distance-heavy pedigree; #10 WHISKEY RUN: Has shown some speed going shorter, and while the pedigree doesn’t say distance, there’s a chance Luis Saez boots him to an easy lead and plays “catch me if you can.” In a confusing race without much proven form, that trip may be enough.