One of today’s stakes races is the Evan Shipman for older New York-breds. A few years ago, Diversify used this event as a springboard to the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup, which he won in style for the late Rick Violette.
However, the race has been changed, and, in my opinion, not for the better. Instead of going 1 1/8 miles and starting and finishing in front of the grandstand, this field will go a mile out of the Wilson chute. On paper, there’s no reason to change this race, and the shorter distance doesn’t make it any more or less attractive.
To this point in the meet, the new chute hasn’t offended me as much as I thought it might. However, I’ve said all along that I can’t back anything which lessens two-turn dirt races at New York’s premier meet. This does that, and it does so in a way that bashes one over the head. Bad move, NYRA.
THURSDAY’S RESULTS: Great logic, lousy results. I thought Mr. Connecticut was very beatable in the fifth and that On Palm Sunday may get loose on the lead. Both of those hunches were correct, but I couldn’t have ever given you the big-priced horse that got the money. I dropped $29.
FRIDAY’S PLAY: It’s entirely possible, maybe even likely, that I scratch out of most of my action. However, in the event #12 CHIARA runs in the ninth, I need to play her. I’ll have a $20 win bet, and I’ll box Chiara, #3 COOLCATSNKITTENS, and #5 ELI DANCER in $2 exactas.
TOTAL WAGERED: $32.
Best Bet: Ny Traffic, Race 3
Longshot: Chiara, Race 9
Im Just Kiddin
Nice ’n Spicy
#1 IM JUST KIDDIN: Ran well to be second in her debut earlier this summer and goes dirt-to-turf in the Friday opener. Her pedigree suggests she’ll love the lawn, and John Kimmel trainees often get better with experience, so she hits me as a formidable favorite; #4 NICE ’N SPICY: Debuts for Mike Maker and is kin to four winners. Her dam is a half to a pair of stakes winners, and offspring of Sharp Azteca have shown plenty of precocity, so there’s reason to believe she’s well-meant; #6 KINGSLEY CREEK: Flashed speed before fading to fifth in her unveiling downstate and, like the favorite, has every right to step forward for Kimmel. The weight break is a plus, and she figures to be prominent early at a bit of a price.
Run Up the Score
#2 RUN UP THE SCORE: Drops in for a tag for the first time, and there are plenty of reasons to toss her last-out clunker at Ellis Park. It was in the slop, and she went very fast early on. I think she’ll appreciate the class drop and have every right to earn the diploma for trainer Chad Brown; #6 REGINA: Probably needed her last-out effort, which doubled as her first start in five months. She goes back to the dirt, attracts Jose Lezcano, and has shown she can run well at this one-mile distance; #3 POUT: Has been off more than nine months but showed a little talent as a 2-year-old, including a close-up second against similar at Churchill Downs. Nick Zito’s on an epic cold stream at the moment, but this one has races that fit and wouldn’t be a shock.
My Boy Tate
#6 NY TRAFFIC: Was last seen chasing Jackie’s Warrior in the Grade 1 Vanderbilt, and with all due respect to this classy bunch of state-breds, the opposition in the John Morrissey is a far cry from that. He’s 3-for-3 against New York-bred competition over the past few years and looms very large from his outside post; #1 SAINT SELBY: Comes in off of a pair of runaway wins downstate. He has enough early speed to make the rail draw an asset, and the presence of aggressive regular rider Kendrick Carmouche is a plus; #4 MY BOY TATE: Has never been worse than third in six local starts, one of which was a second-place finish in this race last year. He’s been off since a rare clunker in March, but the effort we’ve come to expect from him gives him a big chance to earn a piece of this.
Queen of Lies
#1 LATEST EDITION: Adds Lasix and retains Javier Castellano for this wide-open maiden claiming event. She had a very eventful trip last time out at Belmont and was fourth behind a next-out winner. Castellano rides back for Morley, and those two have done a lot of damage to this point in the meet; #6 QUEEN OF LIES: Runs for a tag for the first time and attracts Joel Rosario, which is a major rider switch. Two turns is a question mark, but her pedigree says she may be able to get this trip; #2 CUPERE: Was fifth in the race my top pick exits and was last early on in that event, which didn’t have a fast early pace. There seems to be at least a little bit of zip signed on here, and the faster they go early, the better her chances figure to be.
I Am the Law
#4 KHAFRE: Takes a big drop and returns to the dirt for what sure seems like a weak race for this level. He was second against allowance foes at Belmont in an off-the-turf race, and anything close to his best would make him tough to top; #3 I AM THE LAW: Broke his maiden two back and missed by just a neck in his first start against winners. Joel Rosario rides back for John Terranova, and at least this one seems to be going the right way, form-wise; #5 COMMANDER COMPTON: Dueled throughout to graduate last time out at Churchill Downs and faces winners for the first time. Again, this isn’t the best field for this level we’ll see all summer, and it certainly seems like they figured out he’s a speed horse last time.
Bank On Anna
#3 MASHNEE GIRL: Is a tepid top pick in a wide-open renewal of the Union Avenue. She cuts back from a route to a sprint after running third against open allowance foes. Kendrick Carmouche piloted her to a pair of wins earlier this season, and she could end a very long drought for trainer Mark Hennig; #7 CHASING CARA: Comes back to the state-bred ranks and romped two back in a race at this distance downstate. Javier Castellano rides for a small outfit, one that’s won twice already this season; #4 BANK ON ANNA: May have needed her last effort off a bit of a freshening, and that came against open company earlier this season. She won three of four before that two-month break, and she’s got back races that would make her a contender.
Gal in a Rush
#5 AL QAHIRA: Set the early pace in the Grade 3 Lake George last time out and takes a significant class drop. In doing so, she also gets Lasix, which isn’t allowed in graded stakes races. Add in that she may be getting better with experience, and I think she’ll be tough; #2 BAHAMIAN CLUB: Ran a clunker in her first outing since February last time out, but has every right to step forward here beneath new rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. She won her debut going two turns, which is far from easy to do; #3 GAL IN A RUSH: Has never crossed the wire first but always seems to fire. She was second in a stakes race at Woodbine last time out, and her pedigree says this two-turn route won’t be an issue.
#1 BANKIT: Headlines the Evan Shipman, which for reasons passing understanding has been moved to the Wilson chute. He was last seen running sixth of 16 in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile in Dubai, and he’s shown he’s capable of firing some big shots; #5 TIERGAN: Romped over optional claimers at this route less than two weeks ago and gets wheeled back quickly by new trainer Bill Morey. This operation excels with new acquisitions, and while this is a class hike, he fits on speed figures; #6 MARKET ALERT: Beat several of these rivals last time out in the Saginaw at Belmont. Two turns is a question mark, and he’s 0-for-3 at the Spa, but he’s running career-best races and can’t be ignored at a bit of a price.
#12 CHIARA: May be a big price but fits here and could light up the tote board. She’s been competitive in each of her last two outings and would retain Luis Saez if she draws in off of the also-eligible list. If she’s allowed to run, I think she’s a must-use; #3 COOLCATSNKITTENS: Comes back to the maiden claiming ranks after misfiring against maiden special weight foes at Belmont. Her two-back effort was a career-best, but it’s a bit alarming she’s worked just once since that June 26th clunker; #5 ELI DANCER: Tries turf for the first time and adds Lasix for a barn hitting at a 23% clip this calendar year. They tried to get her on the grass for her debut, which was washed out and moved to the main track, and her recent four-furlong turf drill was a very good one.
Lookin to Fly
#8 WHATLOVELOOKSLIKE: Has improved in every start for Todd Pletcher and broke her maiden last time out. She did so in a pretty fast clocking, too, and Flavien Prat seeing fit to ride back is a big, big plus; #1 LOOKIN TO FLY: Has two wins and a third over this turf course, including a last-out win over weaker foes in her 2022 debut. She’s protected here and could come rolling late if there’s a lively pace up front; #4 SINFULLY SWEET: Graduated last time out in a turf sprint and tries both winners and two turns for the first time. Her pedigree says that won’t be an issue, and the progression she’s made as a 4-year-old is encouraging.