Thursday’s sixth included the type of antics that sometimes happen in races with full fields of inexperienced 2-year-olds. The stretch run featured plenty of weaving and bumping, and as a result, a lengthy inquiry took place before the result was declared official.
I give NYRA plenty of flack when it’s warranted, but in my opinion, the stewards made the right call by not making a change, both with winner Dufresne and the underneath horses. 2-year-olds are going to do things older horses won’t, and I’ve always felt that leeway should be given in those races with regard to calls that could go either direction. In this instance, unfortunately, a DQ of the winner would’ve benefited me immensely (I had 10-1 runner-up Cricket West, both in the pick box and in the wallet!), but that’s the way it goes sometimes.
THURSDAY’S RESULTS: In the words of my friend Laffit Pincay III, who hosted the second half of Thursday’s NYRA/Fox broadcast, “what just happened?” Hey It’s Tati was spun wide and ran out of gas in the seventh, while 38-1 shot Take It Off led from gate to wire. I dropped $30.
FRIDAY’S PLAY: I’ll attempt to extract some value out of likely sixth-race favorite #7 DOC DOC ROCK with both vertical and horizontal exotics. I’ll key her on top of $5 exactas that use #2 HOWDYOUMAKEURMONEY, #5 SUE ELLEN MISHKIN, #9 ACE UP HER SLEEVE, and #13 MAKIN MY MOVE underneath. I’ll also single her in $5 doubles starting in that race and ending with #1 PURE BODE and #2 MORE GLITTER in the seventh.
TOTAL WAGERED: $30.
Best Bet: Klaravich entry, Race 3
Longshot: More Glitter, Race 7
Arms an Armor
Big Little Risk
#1 ARMS AN ARMOR: Flashed some speed last time for a higher claiming tag and adds blinkers for the Friday opener. Saratoga’s main track has been playing very kindly to early zip of late, and the Santana/Asmussen tag team merits plenty of respect; #7 BIG LITTLE RISK: Has been gelded since his last outing and goes turf to dirt in this spot. They’ve certainly found a soft one for him, and the presence of Luis Saez is noteworthy, but his one dirt start to date wasn’t overly impressive and I can’t put him on top at his likely price; #8 BIELEFELD: Has certainly had plenty of chances but goes back to the dirt, which I feel is his preferred surface. He ran a few respectable races over the main track here last summer, and perhaps the change in footing will wake him up at a price.
Summer to Remember
#5 SUMMER TO REMEMBER: Has shown plenty of back class and has been competitive in several tries against stakes competition. He’s also got some tactical speed, which should be used as a weapon in a turf race that seems light on early zip; #2 PRICE TALK: Ran several strong races a season ago and may well go off favored in this spot. However, while he hasn’t disgraced himself in a pair of 2021 outings, he’s also burned plenty of money, and while this is a class drop on paper, it came up pretty salty for the level; #7 HYPERFOCUS: Almost certainly didn’t care for the dirt last time out and goes back to the grass in his first start off the claim by Linda Rice. His prior connections ran him in three stakes races earlier in his career, and he’d stand to benefit if the early pace is sharper than expected.
KLARAVICH ENTRY: Both #1 COALITION BUILDING and #1A INFINITE POTENTIAL could win this, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the two-horse entry took enough money to go off odds-on. They should both move forward with class relief, and this will be a popular multi-race exotics single; #10 EVVIE JETS: Goes back to the turf after running a decent third in an off-the-turf event at this level last month. She made a big middle move two back at Belmont and has some back form from 2020, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see her run well here despite the outside draw; #4 SATCH: May need a race but has enough pedigree to suggest she could be a runner. She’s a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Unchained Melody, her dam was a Grade 3 winner on the lawn, and Hall of Famer John Velazquez sees fit to ride.
#4 AIR SHOW: Has not run a bad race since being claimed by Tom Amoss in April. He was most recently second in an allowance event at Indiana Grand, and those races have gotten far more competitive over the past few years; #3 SIX PACK: Makes his first start off the claim for George Weaver, who’s been a bit unlucky this meet. The barn’s won just once, but has six seconds, so it’s not like horses aren’t running well. This is his first try against winners, but there are no monsters here; #5 LIKEABLE: Takes a concerning drop for these connections after appearing in a few graded stakes races. Yes, this owner/trainer combination can be aggressive, and his best race would probably win, but why has a $350,000 purchase that ran in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile been gelded and dropped in for a $40,000 tag?
A Mo Reay (MTO)
Halo of Fire
More Than Vows
#12 HALO OF FIRE: Needs some luck to draw in off the AE list but must be respected if she runs. She sports several strong turf drills here, and her dam is a half-sister to seven winners. The presence of Joel Rosario is also a positive; #1 MORE THAN VOWS: Debuts for Brian Lynch, whose runners sometimes need a race to get going, but she boasts a series of eye-catching drills that imply she’s got significant potential. Her pedigree says she’ll take to the turf, and she may be talented enough to overcome the rail draw; #5 LIA MARINA: Is bred up and down for the turf and merits respect, although the pedigree also says she may want two turns, not one. Her dam won multiple stakes races on the lawn, and her second dam also threw Avenge, a two-time Grade 1 winner that ran third in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.
Doc Doc Rock
Makin My Move
#7 DOC DOC ROCK: Ticks plenty of boxes and is a logical favorite in what seems like a stacked 2-year-old maiden race. The Pletcher/Velazquez tag team appears with this daughter of Into Mischief that doubles as a half-sister to multiple stakes winner Daring Duchess; #13 MAKIN MY MOVE: Will need at least three scratches to run but can’t be ignored if she gets in. She put forth a strong bullet drill on July 26th over the training track, and this isn’t a barn with many 2-year-olds that work like that. If she runs, she’s worthy of inclusion; #2 HOWDYOUMAKEURMONEY: Sold for $105,000 earlier this year despite sire Freud commanding only a modest $5,000 fee. That may be a clue this filly can run, and she’s been working steadily ahead of her unveiling for a very capable outfit.
My Lips Are Sealed
#2 MORE GLITTER: Merits respect solely because this is her first start for Mike Maker, who’s won plenty of races to this point in the meet. She stretches back out to a mile in this wide-open allowance race for New York-breds, and some of her best efforts have come going long; #1 PURE BODE: May have needed the race last time out, and it didn’t help that she hooked an extremely well-meant Bill Mott trainee that day. She was fifth that day but finished less than two lengths behind the runner-up, and I’m expecting a step forward here; #11 MY LIPS ARE SEALED: Showed the way early last time out as an even-money favorite before dropping anchor and finishing eighth of 12. She’s certainly better than she showed that day, and the presence of Irad Ortiz, Jr., is noteworthy, but she may have her work cut out for her clearing the field from that far outside post.
Ragtime Blues (MTO)
#3 NOBLE EMOTION: Has emerged as a serious turf sprinter with two impressive wins in as many starts. Two of his four wins have come at this route of ground, he draws well, and while this is certainly a class test, I see no reason to expect a step backwards; #1 SHEKKY SHEBAZ: Is winless since Jason Servis received a visit from the FBI, but he ran well here last time out when second in a similar spot. He may not be the horse he was when he ran third in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, but he’s still pretty fast and merits plenty of respect; #9 COMPETITIVE SAINT: Made his 2021 debut last month and was third in the same race Shekky Shebaz exits. He’s never been worse than third in three tries at this route, and it helps that he’s shown an ability to pass others late, which could help if another runner confronts Shekky Shebaz in the early going.
#6 FOOLISH GHOST: Exorcized some demons (see what I did there?) with a winning performance in a classy renewal of the John Morrissey earlier in the meet. Something seems to have clicked with him this year judging by his speed figures, and he gets a cushy outside draw in the Tale of the Cat; #3 BON RAISON: Didn’t do much running last time out in his 2021 debut, which came off a layoff of more than seven months. However, he’s a stone closer in a race that seems to boast plenty of speed, and trainer Jack Sisterson has done plenty of damage with big prices this summer (thanks again, Lexitonian!); #5 WONDRWHERECRAIGIS: Ships up after posting a 102 Beyer Speed Figure against weaker competition at Pimlico. Stakes competition, though, isn’t new to him, as he was fourth in last year’s Grade 2 Amsterdam behind Yaupon when that one was going very well.
Well Done West
Joey Loose Lips
#9 WELL DONE WEST: Is one of two logical favorites that seem to loom large in the Friday finale. He’s never finished off the board in four starts, and if the back-to-back bullet drills are any indication, he’s been thriving in upstate New York for a very sharp outfit; #1 JOEY LOOSE LIPS: Was sent to the front a bit early last week, and that move nearly paid off as he ran a tough-luck second. He cuts back to a seven-furlong trip here, and while the sudden class drop is an eyebrow-raiser, it’s encouraging to see Irad land here when he probably had a few options; #6 PROFUSION: Has run one poor race since coming off a long layoff, and that was in a turf route downstate. Going one turn on dirt sure seems like what this gelding wants to do, and he was a clear second last time out at this level.