1st: 3-2-1-6…Stolen Candy (3) drops from MC30 to MC16 today, and he got some action in the debut (bet down to 6-1 odds). Had trouble in that first race, being steadied into the turn, and that eliminated any chance. Has come back to work well and is 8-1 ML today. I take the chance. Sekondi (2), on the other hand, is 9-5 ML and probably should be. This stalker was squeezed at the start in his last race (first on the grass) and had to come from the clouds. Made up a ton of ground that day at Golden Gate Fields, after six races at Santa Anita. Makes first appearance here and gets the top rider. Pontastic (1) goes for trainer Steve Asmussen, who is winning with .31% this meet. Ships down from Belmont Park for this one. Watch out. I bet the 3 to win/place and then box the 3-2-1 in the exactas.
2nd: 6-4-3-2…Bud’s Bayonet (6) had to need his last out, which was his try time in the starting gate in a year. Made a strong run before tiring in that one. If that tightened him up, then he will be tough in here. Awesome Fu (4) is another ML favorite, who gets the services of Lanerie. Comes off a huge MC win for $10,000 and was nabbed by a solid trainer in that one. Moves up in class and against winners today, but may be ready to make it two in a row. Joey B (3) has hit the board in 5 of 11 lifetime starts for a solid trainer. This true closer will need a little racing luck, backing up to 61/2F today, but retains the services of a top rider in Robby Alvarado. I bet the 6 to win/place and then key over/under the other numbers.
3rd: 4-2-5-1…High Diver (4) plummets to the bottom ranks today, and goes back to a traditional dirt surface — where he has won 9 of his 10 first place finishers. Picks up a hot rider in Calvin Borel, too. Playing a Joke (2) is a dead closer, who is shortening up in distance. Needs a clean run. Cowboy Kody (5) has been better on synthetic, which leaves question marks today. I bet the 4 to win/place and then key over/under the other numbers listed.
4th: 4-2-7-5-11-8-(15)…I go with Distorted Ransom (4), who is dropping from MSW all the way to MC7,500. Gets Lanerie to ride, too. This one had no chance in the last two, in particular, against really good company. Haynesome (2) takes a little class drop and shortens up from a 1-mile distance to 51/2Fs. Buff Bradley has been torrid here and this one may put him back in the circle with the addition of blinkers. Buff’s win percentage with this equipment change is .36. Nice. Gold Room Scotty (7) worked well before his last effort and show a brief run. Maybe improves a tad off that effort. Dusty (5) is moving up after being claimed in the last. I bet the 4 to win/place and then key over/under the rest of the numbers. Watch out to see if Cedarville (15) draws in. He could be a factor, if he does.
5th: 7-3-4-2-6-1…Cara Blythe (7) gets a slight edge in a very competitive field here. She has won twice already and edged Naples Princess in their last encounter. Picks up rider Channing Hill today, who likely will put her on the lead. Naples Princess (3) gets the services of Lanerie for the Bill Mott-trainee. She is well bred, but has had her chances in both her tries against winners. Comes from out of it and will need a cleaner run. Noel’s Mischief (4) is another well-bred filly who cost $230,000 as a weanling. She caught a bear in her last (Sentence) and should be tougher in this spot. I bet the 7 to win/place and then box the 7-3-4 in one exacta. I play the 7-3-4 over the other three numbers to cover.
6th: 7-8-2-6-3…Cuddle Kitten (7) gets the edge today, despite the fact that she was dropped into the Maiden-Claiming ranks last out. She was taken in that affair by new trainer Randy Morse, who gets the services of Lanerie today. If this daughter of Kitten’s Joy can show some of the same flash she did this winter at Gulfstream, she will be tough in here. English Dancer (8) is another one that goes today for the barn of Bill Mott. She has been away from the races since December and may need one to be ready. Moonlit Garden (2) comes out of a key race last time and will try a new surface for the first time. Model by Artie (6) is bred for the grass, but this Iowa-bred filly goes for a barn that has been cold all year. I bet the 7 to win/place and then box the 7-8 in one exacta and then key the 7-8 over/under the “all button.”
7th: 4-3-1-5…Toasting Master (4) may give Lanerie a huge day at the track and the winner’s circle. He stretches out to a more comfortable distance after making her first start of the year on June 17, and he showed some brief interest in that sprint. Has a huge equipment change in this spot (first time gelding) and that may be the trick. Sharp Act (3) is a true closer, who has some back class despite the fact that he has run three dull ones in a row. Got a brief respite after that May 28 showing, and the trainer does well off this layoff. Thirstforlife (1) is facing olders for the first time today, but the connections thought enough of this one early on to nominate to this year’s Triple Crown series. Only one race this year, and that was in May. But has been facing some of the best 3YOs this year. I bet the 4 to win/place and then box the 4-3-1 in the exactas.
8th: 5-10-2-8-12-3…Desert Poem (5) gets a drop in class for a top barn, and probably gets a lot firmer surface that she had in her last out. That combo may be enough to propel this deep closer to the circle. I’m With Miller (10) goes for Brad Cox, who has won with .50% of his starters this meet. Wow. Drops from MSW and gets Lanerie. Will be the Post Time Favorite, and should be. It’s a Date (2) gets a surface change after two mediocre performances on the dirt at Oaklawn this spring. Susie’s Daddy (8) is another class dropper, but loses Lanerie. Been off since December. I bet the 5 to win/place and then