My girlfriend is a third-grade teacher. She doesn’t know what the upcoming school year will look like, but she’s constantly working hard to make sure her kids have the best possible learning environment while they’re in her classroom.
One of her primary goals before students return is to diversify her classroom library. She’s noticed that children from underrepresented groups don’t always encounter literary characters that look like them, which can make engaging them in books more difficult than it should be. She’s got a plan to do that, and she’s raising funds to make that happen.
To learn more, go to my Twitter page (@AndrewChampagne) and check out my pinned tweet. If you feel compelled to help, know that I appreciate it very much, and that a bunch of third-graders in the Oakland Unified School District will as well.
SUNDAY’S RESULTS: It was a lousy opening week for yours truly. Both bankroll plays fizzled, and I dropped another $20.
WEDNESDAY’S PLAY: This will be tough, as heavy rain is in the forecast as I type this. However, I’ll gamble that #7 TENDERFOOT, who exits a key race that has produced two impressive next-out winners already, will respond to an aggressive class drop. I’ll put $20 to win on him and hope we get that 4-1 morning line price.
TOTAL WAGERED: $20.
Best Bet: Snap Decision, Race 1
Longshot: Choose Happiness, Race 10
#2 SNAP DECISION: Turned into one of the better steeplechasers in the country last year and comes in on a five-race winning streak. His seasonal debut was excellent, and I just cannot see another horse beating him here; #4 GALWAY KID: Won two in a row after being ambitiously spotted in his debut back in October. He hails from the barn of Jonathan Sheppard, who’s no stranger to success in jump races at Saratoga; #7 BODES WELL: Merits a look in the exotics due to the likely race shape. There doesn’t seem to be much early speed signed on, and there’s a chance this one could lead them a long way at a price.
Box of Chocolates
Bernin’ Thru Gold
#3 BOX OF CHOCOLATES: Has lost 15 of his 16 career starts, but he was a good second against slightly better last time out and was claimed by Robertino Diodoro. There’s plenty of speed signed on, and that should set up for his late kick; #7 BERNIN’ THRU GOLD: Drops way down in class and has run up against some stakes-quality foes in the past. The outside post could help him, and he may have found his friends; #6 PASSCODE: Ran reasonably well here twice last summer and comes in second off a long layoff. The 12-1 morning line odds hit me as an overlay, and if you’re an exotics player, he hits me as a must-use.
Yankee Division (MTO)
#1 CROSS BORDER: Will likely be the shortest-priced favorite of the day if the Lubash stays on turf. He was beaten just a length in the Grade 1 Manhattan last time out, and he looms large against what seems like an overmatched group; #6 BLEWITT: Is head and shoulders above this group if it goes to the main track, but has a respectable turf pedigree and may not be out of his element if it stays on the grass. The Velazquez/Pletcher tag team merits respect; #4 DANTE’S FIRE: Came from another zip code to win going away on Independence Day and may be rounding into form for Mike Maker. Irad Ortiz, Jr., sees fit to ride back.
Lost in Rome
#7 TENDERFOOT: Exits a race that’s proven to be incredibly strong. Winner Yaupon was one of the most impressive horses of opening week, third-place finisher Savvy graduated at Keeneland, and this one drops in for a tag first off the geld; #2 BREITHORN: Goes second off the bench for Bill Mott and is another dropping in class. The turf experiment last time out didn’t work, but perhaps the shallower waters are what he needs; #8 LOST IN ROME: Has been competitive against similar and rallied to be second downstate last month. The faster they go early, the better his chances figure to be.
#4 THREE JOKERS: Looms large on either turf or dirt. His pedigree says grass will not be a problem, and he’s shown significant early zip against better in three stakes starts on the main track; #8 MAXWELL ESQUIRE: Goes out for Christophe Clement, who won everything that wasn’t nailed down during opening week. He was fourth in a stakes race downstate and will likely be rolling late; #3 INSIDE INFO: Was claimed by Linda Rice last month and goes for his third straight win. This is an aggressive jump up in class, but there’s some turf in his pedigree and he’s 1-for-1 over a wet dirt track as well.
O Shea Can U See
Eye Luv Lulu
#4 O SHEA CAN U SEE: Hasn’t run a bad one in his last five starts and was second against similar at Belmont. With so much early speed in the race, I want a horse that will be running well late, and this one fits the bill at a bit of a price; #3 EYE LUV LULU: Makes his first start since leaving the Jason Servis barn in the spring, and does so taking a steep drop in class. These connections are aggressive, so perhaps it’s not a total red flag, but at his likely price, I’ll look elsewhere for my top selection; #7 JUST RIGHT: Comes off an 11-month layoff for Todd Pletcher and cuts back in distance significantly. He broke his maiden sprinting here two summers ago, but this spot came up pretty tough for the level.
#1 MADISON PARC: Goes back to the lawn in a wide-open race. Her debut going two turns on turf at Santa Anita was fine, the recent bullet workout at Keeneland inspires confidence, and she may be speedy enough to utilize her rail draw; #12 CRESCENT LADY: Drew a terrible post but may be talented enough to overcome it. She’s one of only a few in here with a desire to be on or near the lead, so she may be able to clear most of her rivals early; #4 TWO CENT TOOTSIE: Has had many chances but exits what may be a career-best effort downstate. Jose Ortiz sees fit to ride back after that near-miss, and she may be a contender with a clean trip.
#6 LA HARA: Was 2-for-2 last year before going to the sidelines and looms large in his return to the races. Joel Rosario rides for Chad Brown, and the turf workout on June 26 jumps off the page; #2 WILD MEDAGLIAD’ORO: Is the one to beat if this gets rained off the turf, and may also have a shot if it stays on. He showed speed when third in a stakes race at Gulfstream last month, and he may be dangerous if he’s left alone early on; #5 GAUGUIN: Enjoys running second and third, which makes him an owner’s dream and a bettor’s nightmare. Still, if you’re playing vertical exotics, he can’t be ignored second off the bench.
#8 SINGULAR SENSATION: Is the only runner in here to have had success going two turns. She was second at this route last summer, and she may take a leap forward second off the bench going back to her preferred configuration; #3 SHARP STARR: Stretches out after a runaway maiden win earlier this month. Two turns is a question mark, but there’s stamina in her pedigree, one that also hints an off track won’t be an issue; #7 ELOQUENT SPEAKER: Edged a next-out winner in her return from a four-month break last time out. She’s another stretching out from a sprint to a route, but she’s also eligible to move forward with conditioning.
#12 CHOOSE HAPPINESS: Gets the nod on the class drop in a puzzling Wednesday finale. Her debut sprinting on dirt at Aqueduct back in February was fine, and it helps that that day’s runner-up came back to win at next asking; #3 LOTTIE’S MIZZION: Rallied to be third off a brief layoff last month and could enjoy the extra furlong she gets in this spot. There’s some mud pedigree here, and unlike others, she’s shown an ability to pass horses late; #7 GRINGOTTS: Comes back to dirt after a failed turf experiment downstate. She hit the board two and three back against similar company, and she’s another that could be charging late.