It may seem incredibly early for such an announcement, but here in the Bay Area, kids are getting ready to go back to school. The same can be said for teachers, one of whom (a third-grade teacher at the Oakland Unified School District) happens to be my girlfriend. She busts her butt for her kids, and I’m extremely proud of her.
She’s got an Amazon wish list located here. It contains a bunch of supplies that would help the kids she teaches on a daily basis. If you feel generous and want to help some third-graders out, take a look. If you buy something, I’ll owe you a favor. One caveat, though: If we can avoid the sort of favor Don Corleone called in after Sonny was gunned down on the causeway, that’d be great.
SUNDAY’S RESULTS: My doubles were total busts, and we dropped $30.
WEDNESDAY’S PLAY: I’ll keep things simple, as my best bet of the day may be an OK price. That’s #3 LEAD GUITAR in the third race, and she’s the subject of a $10 win/place bet.
TOTAL WAGERED: $20
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BEST BET: Lead Guitar, Race 3
LONGSHOT: Evaluator, Race 9
#1 WIGWAM BABY: Seems like a deserving favorite coming back to the steeplechase ranks after a prep at Parx. She was second in this race two summers ago, and a repeat of her two-back effort would make her tough; #3 DOWN ROYAL: Is a consistent sort over fences, and the flat-race prep is a complete throw-out. She generally runs the same race every time, although she does seem to enjoy picking up minor awards; #2 OUR FROSTY: Comes back to fences and would be a contender if she channeled some of her late-2018 and early-2019 form. Those efforts came against weaker groups, but it’s tough to completely ignore a 59-length romp.
Sobersick N Sorry
#1 BEARS MAFIA: Drops in for a tag and looms large against what seems like a weak group for the level. His turf try last time out is a toss, and Carmouche has ridden him well in the past; #7 LEGION STORM: Has picked up eight minor awards in 12 winless starts, but was an OK second at this level last time out. Blinkers come back on and he draws favorably towards the outside; #8 SOBERSICK N SORRY: Gets my pick in the “name of the day” category and could improve at second asking. He was a one-paced fourth last time out, but this barn’s runners usually need a race or two to get going.
Qian B C
#3 LEAD GUITAR: Closed very well to be third in her debut, a race where the second-place finisher came back to win at next asking. She gets a huge rider switch to Irad Ortiz, Jr., and should improve for a barn that may be heating up; #6 QIAN B C: Was a close-up third going seven furlongs at Belmont and cuts back in distance. He seems to have matured a bit, but I have to wonder if this trip is a bit shorter than he really wants to go; #5 ALPHASTEST: Seems like the main speed and was reeled in last time out when beaten just a half-length. This shorter distance could suit him, and he may be a bit of a price.
#7 CONNECTIVITY: Takes a colossal drop to the claiming ranks after running in a pair of stakes races earlier this year. Even a repeat of her two-back effort, when she was second in an allowance at Keeneland, would make her a formidable foe; #6 DECORATED ACE: Has recorded all three of her wins going two turns on turf, including her last-out victory against slightly weaker competition. She makes her second start since being switched to the sharp Mike Dini outfit and could sit a nice trip; #4 WARM: Comes back to turf in her first start off the claim. She ran well on it three back at Tampa, won on dirt earlier this meet, and recently fired a bullet drill.
#2 THEA’S THEME: Hammered for $145,000 last summer and has worked like a promising horse. Jose Ortiz likely had options, but chose to ride this Jeremiah Englehart trainee; #7 LADY KAZA: Has been working steadily for Chad Brown and merits respect. This barn can win with first-time starters, and her second and third dam were both stakes-winners; #6 CRITICAL VALUE: Is the second Englehart trainee in the field, and her pedigree shows speed top and bottom. She appears to have worked with my top pick a bit, and it wouldn’t be shocking if this barn runs 1-2.
#1 UNCLE BENNY: Makes his 3-year-old debut more than nine months after a troubled-trip second at the Breeders’ Cup. Jason Servis can have a horse ready to run off a long break, and he’s likely matured in his time off; #7 ARCHIDUST: Has won two in a row ahead of this event, including a minor stakes race at Monmouth Park. He earned a 92 Beyer Speed Figure that day and could still be improving; #2 ELEKTRONIC: Ran well at a price in the Grade 3 Quick Call, where he was a fast-closing second at 11-1. The faster they go early, the better his chances appear to be.
Lost in Manhattan
Liam Lets Go
#7 LOST IN MANHATTAN: Drops in class for Danny Gargan, who has enjoyed a very strong meet to this point. He likely needed his last start, which was his first outing since December, and he’s got plenty of early zip; #5 BRUSH COUNTRY: Was second last time out and got claimed out of that race by a barn that doesn’t drop many slips in. The solid local race certainly helps, and he could sit a great stalking trip; #3 LIAM LETS GO: Comes north from Gulfstream Park, where he’s been running against allowance and optional claiming foes. He may find these waters a bit more shallow, and Luis Saez climbing aboard is a plus.
#3 CLENCH: Was second behind Shancelot last time out, and that one has since run a hole in the wind over this track. He likes running second or third, but he could be coming into his own in the latter half of his 3-year-old season; #4 LASER LOOP: Rolled home against much weaker earlier this meet and was claimed that day by Gary Contessa. Unlike many others in here, he comes in off of a victory, and he may be closing at a bit of a price; #8 EL ASESINO: Hasn’t won in nearly a year, but he was most recently second in a stronger heat and cuts back in distance. He’s got some flexibility in his running style and should get every chance from an outside post.
#2 MR. BUFF: Has won five of his last seven starts and seems to be in top form. If he gets an easy lead, he’ll be very tough, but longshot players may point to the presence of other early speed in this race; #5 EVALUATOR: Makes his 2019 debut for new trainer H. James Bond and could get a perfect setup. Javier Castellano riding is a positive sign, and he’s worked well several times ahead of this race; #4 DYNAMAX PRIME: Ran second to my top selection last time out at Belmont and is another that could benefit from a fast pace. However, while he’s won going two turns in the past, he may be at his best at one-turn routes of ground.
#10 GHOSTLY BEAUTY: Will have to work out a trip from a tough post, but she seems like the one to beat. She just missed behind a horse that has since come back to beat winners, and the third-place finisher won earlier this meet as well; #3 TELETYPE: Was claimed by Rudy Rodriguez last time out and was second behind another next-out winner back in June. She’s been rested since that start and is a contender if she’s ready; #8 SWEET GISEL: Finally tries turf and has a pedigree saying she’ll love it. She’s by Street Boss and out of a Dixieland Band mare, and her 320 turf Tomlinson rating hints that she could take a step forward here for Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas.