At least we are better than this guy….

After hitting the first three races on Wednesday — including two nice exactas — we went into a bit of  a tailspin.  Hopefully, today will be a better afternoon at The Spa. Here is a closer look at today’s card:

1st: This is a race over hurdles, and my mistakes hurdle is getting up in the a.m.  So, I will leave the jumps and humps to you.

2nd: 7-5-3-9-4-1…Nice race here for Maiden Claimers with plenty of intrigue. I go with Chad Brown’s Forge (7), who made his first start of the year on July 21. Ran really well on the lead through half of that one before tiring late.  Gets the class drop today and has worked well since that ’17 inaugural effort. Faced One Liner in his career debut. One of beat. Your Secret’s Safe (5) is a gelding picked up by Gary Gullo in his last for $20K. Does very well in the first race off the claim and is training very well. Watch this one. One More Round (3) is still a maiden, although he ran 2nd in the G3 Lexington Stakes to a horse named Collected last spring. Ran OK in his first start of the year on July 24 and if he can find his old form, then he will swamp this group out of the boat. I bet the 7-3 to win/place/show and then box those two solidly in one exacta and key the 7-3 over/under the rest. Bam. Comes 7-5-8, which lands us a win/place/show bet and a nice exacta return of $6.90, $3.70, $2.90 and $10.20 for $1, respectively.

3rd: 1-3-2-6…Control Group (1) gets the nod here due to his controlling speed. Gets back to NY-breds only in this spot, despite the fact he only beat 4 others in his last out. Minsky Moment (3) is the prohibitive favorite at 8-5 ML for Chad Brown. Has never been worse than second in 4 career starts and figures to be the one to beat.  Should be stalking the preferred choice. Born for a Storm (2) is another Brown entry and this one will be making his third start of the year and in this cycle. Good improvement in his last and may step it up today. I bet the 1-3 to win/place and then box those two in one exacta and key them over the 2-6 in another. Boom. Another winner as it comes in 1-2-3. Winner/Place bets pay $7.40/$4.20, with an exacta payoff of $12.50 for $1. 

4th: 1-6-5-3…Cozzy Spring (1) tried the turf to no avail in her last out. Gets back to dirt today and she had two wins in a row on it before. She is 2-1 ML, but figures to be tough on the lead going 61/2Fs. Will try to hold on. Shimmering Moon (6) comes off an impressive win here on Aug. 7 and she will be pressing the pace, too. Silly Sister (5) goes for trainer Linda Rice and she tired badly in her last trip here. Backs up to 61/2 today and finds a lighter spot. Can’t ignore. I bet the 1 to win/place and then box the 1-6-5 in one exacta and box the 1-6-3 in another. It comes in 1-5-6, and we land a winner/place bet and the exacta once. Three winners in a row, jackpot. Payoffs are $7.10/$4.20 with a $14.80 for $1 exacta return. Nice. Winners.

5th: 6-5-7-1-2…If the 11 draws into this race, take a long look.  I think he has to figure in the equation. If not, I go solid with Ultimateenticement (6) for a trainer have a very nice meet. Has run two straight seconds to start his career and backs up to 51/2Fs today. That should help him sustain his speed. Candy Zip (5) has been training lights out for a trainer that does super well with first timers and 2YOs. Watch out. New York Hero (7) cost a ton and gets his first afternoon look today. Working well. I bet the 6 to win/place and then key the 6 over/under the rest of the numbers. We nail the winner/place finisher ($5.20 & $3.00) and the exacta returns $9.20 for $1.  Not bad. Winners. Four winners in a row…

6th: 7-8-9-11…Rate for Me (7) has hit the board in 4 of his last 7 tries with 2 wins in a row.  Obviously, he’s on top of his game right now and figures to be tough in this spot too.  Closes with a purpose and the 51/2F on grass is just fine with him, too. Hold Me Back (8) was last seen here on Aug. 3, and he made a very nice run to just get nipped. This Virginia-bred comes from the barn of Al Stall, who has 3 wins and 2 seconds in just 11 starters. Grand Sky (9) is likely to be the heavy PT favorite for Jason Servis, who exits a NY-bred only race to face Open Company.  I’m skeptical, despite the trainer’s success story this year. I go with the 7 to win/place and then box the 7-8-9 in one exacta. Rate for Me got a horrendous ride from Manny Franco (the darling of Any Sterling, by the way). Look at our “Perspectives” piece on the Home Page. But Grand Sky does run on to win.  Helps us in Pick 3s, but we miss here. Losers.

7th: 12-10-8-1-9-6…I love Summer Mischief (12) in this spot today, despite the outside post position. This colt is by Into Mischief — one of the hottest sires in the land — and has run two nice races in a row.  Tired just a bit in the stretch out for the last race, but gets blinkers today and is training well, too. My Best Bet of the Day. Appealing Briefs (10) has hit the board in 4 of the last 5 with 4 second place finishes.  Another second today? Charge Latouche (8) has raced only once since 2015 and that came in June of this year at Belmont Park. But if anyone can get them ready off this type of absence, it is Michael Dickinson.  Especially on the lawn. I bet the 12 to win/place/show and then key the 12 over/under all the numbers listed. The blinkers definitely made Summer Mischief sharper.  Probably way too sharp, as that one roared out to the front in fast fractions, only to have nothing much left at the end of the rainbow. The 10 looked to be the winner the entire length of the stretch, but would not go past.  That left a bumping dual between the 1-9.  Could have used both of them under the 10.  Not to be. Losers. 

8th: 6-2-8-9-3-5-7-11…Storm Project (6) has run two solid races in a row off the layoff and gets the third in the cycle today. Has hit the board in 7 of 12 lifetime starts and should really enjoy the stretch-out today.  Manifest Destiny (2) is 12-1 ML, but I like the way he’s coming into this spot. Jupiter Rising (8) goes for Todd Pletcher and is a dead closer who should benefit from the extra distance today, too. Don’t leave out Mission Leader (7), who has only one grass appearance to date. But showed well in that run, even though it was long ago. I bet the 6 to win/place and then box the 6-2-8 in one exacta and then key the 6-2-8 over (only) the rest of the numbers listed. The Deuce takes them wire to wire, at 10-1 odds, to grab a nice win.  We also noted that you should not leave out the 7, Mission Leader.  That one, at 19-1 runs second.  We hit the exacta for $262.50 for $1.  BAM!

9th: 3-1-4-7-5…The PG Johnson Stakes…Orbolution (3) really took to the grass in her last race, zipping off to an impressive 21/2 length victory. Only horse in the race to have tried to distance of 11/16-miles and she should handle this crowd today. Mentality (1) was all business wire-to-wire in her only previous start. Loses the blinkers on the stretch out today and is bred to like the extra ground. Life Time Citizen (4) faced Stakes company in her last and performed admirably against a top notch runner.  Don’t dismiss this miss. I bet the 3 to win/place and then box (get this) the 3-4 very solidly.  I then key the 3-4 over/under the other numbers listed. Comes in 3-7-6-1, but the 3 was easily and much the best in this spot.  Capture the win/place bets at $3.50 & $2.90, but also hit the exacta at $13 for $1. Not bad with a odds-on favorite on top.

10th: 6-11-1-3…A wide open affair to close out the card and it is anyone’s guess and race. I finally land on the Pletcher horse, Hy Brasil (6), who I used on top in his last when he broke his maiden. This one cost $400,000 and is for sale today for $16,000. Should be competitive even though he faces winners for the first time. Sky Fiftyfive (11) is 12-1 ML, but I think a live longshot. Trainer has been ice cold all year, but this one gets a top rider today for a reason. Watch out. Delta Outlaw (1) hasn’t been out since Aug. 25 of 2016 — over a year ago. Gets the huge drop for a trainer that has done well this meet. Got to give some credibility on back class, although the conditioner normally does NOT crank them up for a return to the afternoon races. I bet the 6 to win/place and then box the 6-11-1 in one exacta and the 6-11-3 in another.  I may try one 11 wheel over/under the “all button.” Looking for a hit. 1-6 hit the board in a run-away victory/2nd place finish.  Hit the place bet and the exacta. Nice day today. 

Good luck &

All the Best/Gene