Eclipse Award winner and close friend Joe Nevills and I came up with a genius idea, one NYRA could use to make a significant chunk of change. Why not bottle Big Red Spring water and make it available to ship? While it’s true this “water” tastes like lighter fluid, few things are more emblematic of a summer day at the Spa than seeing an unknowing individual be cajoled/tricked into taking a sip.
Doing this brings that fun directly to your home, while also adding a revenue stream that didn’t previously exist. NYRA, if you do this, all I ask in return is a modest royalty and for 10 24-packs of this elixir to be delivered to the Nevills compound in haste.
SATURDAY’S RESULTS: Momos won like a good thing in the opener, and in doing so turned my $31.50 Pick Five ticket into confetti.
SUNDAY’S PLAY: I’ve got two tickets to finish off the weekend. First, I’ll try to extract some value out of my best bet of the day by singling likely third-race favorite #1 DOVIMA in $5 doubles starting in the second with #4 VINEYARD SOUND and #7 HARDCORE FOLKLORE. I’ll also put $10 to win on #4 CALDEE in the seventh, as I think she’s well-meant and the 6-1 morning line odds hit me as an overlay.
TOTAL WAGERED: $20.
Best Bet: Dovima, Race 3
Longshot: Caldee, Race 7
Sky of Hook (MTO)
Power Up Paynter
DUBB ENTRY: It’s tough to go against #1 DOWSE’S BEACH and #1A NEW YORK’S FINEST. They’re a combined 10-for-15 on this turf course, and it would be far from a shock if the entrymates ran 1-2 in the Sunday lid-lifter; #2 POWER UP PAYNTER: Is a consistent sort and seems best of the rest. He rallied from well back to light up the tote board at Belmont last time out, and Linda Rice tends to keep horses on the right track; #5 ROYAL ASSET: Hasn’t won in a while but has never finished worse than third in five starts over this turf course. He likely needed his last-out effort, and perhaps he takes a step forward to get a piece of this.
#7 HARDCORE FOLKLORE: Returns to the scene of his last victory after an improved effort second off the bench downstate. There’s plenty of speed signed on to set up for his late kick, and talented trainer Charlton Baker may have him trending upward; #4 VINEYARD SOUND: Comes back to the dirt after a failed turf experiment last time out. His dirt race two back wasn’t all that bad, given it was his first start in three months and the winner and runner-up both came back to win; #5 DEEP SEA: Is a short price on the morning line, but I’m going to try to beat him. He hasn’t won since late-2018, and he seems to find ways to get himself into trouble. He’ll have a shot with a clean trip, but can he finally get one?
#1 DOVIMA: Did everything but win in her debut downstate and looms very large in this event. Chad Brown’s numbers with second-out maidens are some of the best in the business, and she may not have caught the strongest group for the level; #4 IN FRONT: Is fittingly named, as she may inherit the early lead by default in what seems like an otherwise paceless race. She’s run into several next-out winners in the past, so there’s back class here as well; #5 JOHNNIE MERLE: Returns after being off since February following two efforts at Fair Grounds. She didn’t break well in either outing, and it’s entirely possible she’s matured during her five-month vacation.
#3 CANDY CORNELL: Is one of two contenders in here trained by Robertino Diodoro. He’s finished worse than second just once in five starts this season, and most of those efforts have come against groups that seem better than this bunch; #6 TWELFTH LABOUR: Was claimed by Diodoro last time out, and this barn has a track record of moving new acquisitions up significantly. He hasn’t won in more than two years, but his last-out effort at Churchill was solid and perhaps the change in barns will wake him up; #5 RELEASETHETHUNDER: May have needed his comeback race at Delaware Park, where he was beaten as the 3/2 favorite. That day’s winner has since come back to win again, though, and this one ran a number of strong sprint races a season ago.
#2 MARTINEZ: Has been working well downstate for Shug McGaughey and is bred to be a solid turf runner. He’s by Twirling Candy, there’s class on the dam’s side of the pedigree, and Jose Ortiz sees fit to ride; GENERAZIO ENTRY: I prefer #1A MISCHIEVOUS DREAM, who debuts for Christophe Clement and has a big shot despite an outside draw. He’s by Into Mischief, and his dam is a half-sister to multiple Grade 1-winning turfer Presious Passion; #4 THIN WHITE DUKE: Has hit the board twice in as many starts and tries turf for the first time. His turf Tomlinson rating of 333 is excellent, and Manny Franco has the return mount.
#9 KROY: Seems like the main speed in a race that came up very strong for the level. He chased stakes-quality turfer Halladay three back, and if he’s unleashed early and dictates terms from the front end, he could be tough to catch late; #7 SENTRY: Won two in a row before going to the sidelines last fall and comes back in this spot. His best race could absolutely win, but if he’s at that level, why is he being entered for a tag rather than going in an allowance event?; #2 WILLING TO SPEED: Hits me as an overlay at his monstrous morning line price. He’s been competitive against decent company in all five of his starts this year, and John Velazquez could get him into a prime stalking position.
#4 CALDEE: Has been working well for Brad Cox ahead of her unveiling and has every right to be a good one. Her gate drills, in particular, look impressive, and anything close to her 6-1 morning line price would hit me as an overlay; #9 LUCIFERS LAIR: Goes out for Todd Pletcher and gets a favorable outside draw in her unveiling. The work tab is consistent, and there’s lots to like, but why isn’t first-call rider John Velazquez aboard this one?; #6 PEACHY QUEEN: Fetched $180,000 at auction last September and comes in off of a bullet workout over this surface. She may be sitting on a big race, and if one materializes, rest assured you’ll hear about it ad nauseam given her sire.
Light in the Sky
My Sassy Sarah
#5 LIGHT IN THE SKY: Gets a tepid nod in what hits me as a two-horse race. She came up just short in her return to the races last month, and a step forward is logical second off the bench; #4 MY SASSY SARAH: Was third in the race my top pick exits, and like that one, that race was her first start in quite a while. Michelle Nevin’s horses tend to improve second off of layoffs, and she should be running well late; #2 SARATOGA LOVE: Responded to a drop in class with a wire-to-wire score downstate and tries winners for the first time. This is a tougher spot, but Rosario rides back for Clement and she should be prominent early.
#8 CAT’S PAJAMAS: Has won two in a row since coming back to the races as a 3-year-old. Furthermore, there isn’t much early speed signed on for a race of this stature, so she could get an easy trip near a slow pace and have first run turning for home; #3 LASHARA: Ran second behind my top selection last time out and has shown a strong turn of foot. She’s got plenty of talent, but can she overcome a likely race shape that doesn’t set up for her running style?; #6 STUNNING SKY: Has considerable back class, having run in four straight stakes races leading up to this event. She’s another that could be compromised by a slow pace, but if they go faster than anticipated early, she could be in line to pick up the pieces late.
#7 MALIBU PRO: Takes a big drop in class for aggressive connections and looms large in the Sunday finale. He’s been running up against much, much better horses, and anything close to his prior efforts this year will make him a formidable foe; #5 SHADOW RIDER: Is one of two Rudy Rodriguez trainees in here and may be the bigger price. Like my top pick, he’s dropping way down the class ladder, and the faster they go early, the better his chances figure to be; #8 MILLS: May be peaking as a 10-year-old (yes, a 10-year-old), as he’s won three of his last four starts. He beat several of these rivals last time out, and he’s hit the board in three of four starts at the Spa.