Thursday produced a lot of reactions for reasons that have nothing to do with on-track action. However, there’s one reaction I feel has largely been missed. I’ll use this space to help fill that void, since nobody else seems to be in any hurry to do it.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline number is (800) 799-7233. You can also text the word START to 88788, or visit thehotline.org for more information.
If you need help, get it before it’s too late. There’s no shame at all in asking for it, and resources are out there that anyone in need can use.
THURSDAY’S RESULTS: Key horse Caragate ran well, but was second-best in the second race of the day. I dropped $20.
FRIDAY’S PLAY: I’m going after the early Pick Five, where I think several favorites are very beatable (and that one is a single worth building your ticket around). My 50-cent ticket starting in the first goes like this: 1,4,6 with 1,3,7 with 2,6 with 1 with 1,3,5,7.
TOTAL WAGERED: $36.
Best Bet: Klaravich entry, Race 4
Longshot: Diamond Status, Race 2
#1 STRONG LIGHT: Ships in from Churchill Downs and is a closer in what looks like a race with plenty of speed. I don’t love the July 16th race several of these exit, and I think this will be the one they need to hold off; #6 CHEEKY TICO: Comes back to the right level after being eased against straight maidens going two turns last month. He was a good second against similar two back downstate, and a similar effort gives him a big chance; #4 NO CODE: May have bounced a bit last time out off of a second-place finish at this level and distance at Belmont. Todd Pletcher sticks with the apprentice, who seems to get along with him pretty well.
Gather the Facts
#7 GATHER THE FACTS: Ran second in her debut, had a nightmarish trip last time out, and drops in class for Chad Brown. The other Brown runner may take more money, but this one’s first effort was quite good, and I think this is the one they need to step up to beat; #1 BEACHFRONT BID: May go favored for the top outfit on the circuit, but it sure seems like she goes out of her way to find trouble. Perhaps the class drop will wake her up, but the inside draw isn’t kind to horses that often encounter unlucky trips, and she’ll be a pretty short price; #3 DIAMOND STATUS: Seems to have found new life on the turf and was a decent second at Belmont going seven furlongs. I don’t think the extra furlong or two turns will be issues, the recent works are very strong, and this is the one that may provide some value.
Two Thirty Five
#2 ALEJANDRO: Very rarely runs a bad race and comes in off of a nice win in a first-level allowance at Churchill Downs. That was just his second win in 12 lifetime starts, but there aren’t any monsters in this group and it’s possible this regally-bred 4-year-old is in career-best form; #6 BOURBON CALLING: Hasn’t won in a while but has been going against stiff competition and makes his second start off the bench in this spot. His return going seven furlongs was just fine, and he stretches out to his preferred trip here; #5 TWO THIRTY FIVE: Has cracked the exacta in four straight outings, including a race at this route last month. Joel Rosario sees fit to ride back in his first start off the claim for Steve Klesaris, and his usual effort doesn’t leave him without a shot.
KLARAVICH ENTRY: It isn’t often you see NYRA morning line man David Aragona install a 1/5 favorite, but the 1-2 punch of #1 TRANSACTIONAL and #1A INDEMNIFY looks very imposing. One’s a promising first-time starter, the other ran well when second on debut, and while nothing’s impossible, I’d be shocked if one of these runners didn’t win; #4 WHISKEY LULLABY: Ran well when third last time out for a $75,000 tag and is ambitiously-spotted here against the boys. However, she sure seems like the main speed in this race, and I think she could lead them a pretty long way; #5 LOGAN’S RUNNER: Has every right to need a race but is bred to be a good one. This son of Pioneerof the Nile and a Grade 3-winning daughter of Distorted Humor hammered for $230,000 back in 2020, and it’s not like Bruce Levine can’t win with first-time starters.
Perfect Silent Cat
Joey Loose Lips
#5 PERFECT SILENT CAT: Gets a massive trainer change to Joe Sharp and comes in off of a very strong five-furlong drill last week. Between the new surroundings, that workout, and a significant drop in class, I think he’s strictly the one to beat; #7 EMINENCY: Won a photo finish downstate to break his maiden and tries winners for the first time. This barn hits at a 21% clip with new acquisitions and has retained Luis Saez, who probably had a few options in here; #3 JOEY LOOSE LIPS: Hasn’t been out of the barn in nearly a year and returns for a claiming tag after chasing Americanrevolution in last year’s Albany. The spot is a bit strange, and he also may be going a bit shorter than he truly wants, but he’s a contender if he’s ready to fire.
Secretary of War
#9 PROVISION: Was second in his debut going two turns, which is never an easy first-out assignment. The outside post position isn’t ideal, but he’s shown some early speed and may be able to clear most of this group going into the first turn; #2 SECRETARY OF WAR: Was third in that race and finished more than three lengths clear of that day’s fourth-place finisher. He was just a length or so back of my top selection, and it wouldn’t be stunning to see this one turn the tables; #6 LET’S GO BIG BLUE: Sold for $200,000 and has every right to be precocious as a half-brother to Grade 1-winning 2-year-old Pinehurst. There isn’t a ton here that screams “turf,” but there is plenty of talent in his bloodlines, and that’s what may carry him through.
Awesome Indra (MTO)
#5 CROWDING OUT: Has yet to run a poor race and edged an impressive next-out winner in a race at this route last month. She’s got a solid late kick, but she can also sit a bit close to the pace, which gives jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., plenty of options; #1 FREEDOM SPEAKS: Broke her maiden with an emphatic six-length score two back on the synthetic at Gulfstream Park before finishing second in a minor stakes race. That day’s winner has since won again, and while this is her first start on grass, her dam has thrown a few OK turf runners; #6 TUSCAN QUEEN: Ran second at this level and route a few weeks ago and has run a few very nice races sprinting over this turf course. This is her third start off of a long layoff for a talented trainer (one that should’ve been allowed to talk more at Wednesday’s Racing and Gaming Conference panel!), and another step forward could be in the offing.
#7 BONNY SOUTH: Hasn’t won since April of 2021 but can be forgiven for some of those efforts given the top-flight competition she faced. She’s a closer that needs some pace in front of her to run at, but I think she’ll get just that in the Summer Colony; #1 ARMY WIFE: Ran in several very tough spots a season ago and placed in a pair of Grade 1 events in the back half of the year. One of those was the Alabama over this surface, and she’s got enough tactical speed to work out a trip from the tricky rail draw; #3 ENVOUTANTE: Has run just once this year, in March, but seems to be training forwardly ahead of her return. I do think it’s possible she prefers Churchill Downs, but Churchill shippers have done just fine to this point in the meet.
Mariah’s Fortune (MTO)
#8 JUDGE JUDITH: Comes in on a three-race win streak at three different tracks, which is pretty cool to see. This does represent a step up in class, but there isn’t a ton of early speed signed on. That could allow her to get comfortable early on and sit a perfect trip; #6 DIVA READY: Ran second against a weaker group last time and was claimed out of that race by Rudy Rodriguez. That barn’s been ice-cold all meet long, at just 1-for-50, but that last effort did come in a very fast race for the level and she boasts a win going two turns at Delaware Park; #3 HATARI: Benefited from a perfect trip last time to win going away in her first start for a tag since December. Irad Ortiz, Jr., sees fit to ride back, and a few runners that show up here exit the same race she won.
#3 OXYMORE: Looked like a very promising 2-year-old when breaking his maiden by six lengths downstate at first asking. He’s since been moved to the Chad Brown barn, and between that move and this being just his second lifetime start, he’s got a big chance to move forward in the Skidmore; #8 APPRAISE: Got his nose down at 11-1 in his debut and completes yet another powerful 1-2 punch for this barn. He showed some grit that day when digging in to get the money, and it helps that he’s got some tactical speed, too; #6 NOBLE HUNTSMAN: Romped in his unveiling a few weeks ago, which came against New York-breds. Going up to open company isn’t a small jump, but he looked solid in his first-out score, especially since this isn’t an outfit that wins with many debuting runners.