1st: Is a steeplechase race. I fall down enough on my own that I am fully aware that I don’t know how to pick horses that can jump. You are on your own.
2nd: 10-9-8-1-6-2…If the 13-14-15 draw into this one from the AE, then they would go to the head of the class. If not, here is what I go with in a wide open affair. Indian Gem (10) has not been out since last September and the barn is not known for cranking them up off layoffs alone, but this one showed a lot of speed here last September and look at the race footnote: “lost footing in the stretch.” Shortens up to 51/2F today and if she can show the same kind of speed she did in her opener, she may be gone to the races. Out of Nowhere (9) is 0-for-22. Wow. But she does have 3 seconds and 4 thirds and several fourths dotted in her PPs. May not get there, but I have to use underneath. Gare de Lyon (8) ran a spotty 4th against a filly that came right back to win. The third place finisher in there came back to win, too. Any improvement at all makes this one dangerous. I bet the 10 to win and then box the 10-9-8. Watch for the 13-14-15 if they draw in, though. Any of those three could win this one.
3rd: 3-7-6-11…Another tough one to pick, but I settle on Bunyaan (3), who gets a huge class drop from trainer Rudy Rodriguez, who is already off to a good start at the Spa. Claimed off Kiaran McLaughlin three starts back, when he won by nearly 10 lengths. Should be tough in this spot. Professor Snape (7) goes for trainer Linda Rice, and she is one of the best in the trade. Sad week for her, because she trained the late City Zip (who had to be euthanized at Lane’s End Farm due to complications with his feet). This one nearly won his last in the mud and could love the extra distance. Rice is very good at going from sprints to routes. Combat Controller (6) has been rank in both of his last two starts. He overcame it two starts back, but didn’t in his last. Gets a huge, huge rider change today, with the switch to JJ Castellano. That may help him settle early. If he relaxes, it could help him immensely. I bet the 3 to win/place and then box the 3-7-6 and the 3-7-11.
4th: 4-2-1-5…Fayeq (4) is a half-brother to the great Rachel Alexandra and he will be facing a good group in this spot, including a full brother to Kentucky Derby winner Orb, in Emancipation (2). Fayeq comes into this one off an impressive maiden victory, and the horse he beat by 23/4 easy lengths has come right back to win. He also ran a game third to the undefeated Timeline, who will show up next this coming Sunday in the G1 Haskel Stakes at Monmouth. This one could be really good. But so could Emancipation, trained by Shug McGaughey for Sutart Janney and the Phipps Stable. He won his opener, which is not normal for this barn. Then he came back and got nipped a half-lenth after going 6 wide. This one will be closing fast and should relish the extra distance. Battle Midway (1), on the other hand, doesn’t have the same family names, but has already won 5 times. He definitely knows his way to the circle. I bet the 4 to win/place and then key the 4-2 over/under the “all button.”
5th: 7-8-4-11-5-9…If this one comes off the turf, you are likely to see a slew of scratches and one meaningful addition in Asian’s Way (1), who I would have to use. If it stays on the grass, though, I go to the outside again, led by A Dixie Twister (7). This one is a true closer in a race full of speedsters who like to falter late. Trainer Mike Maker has already won one here and he brings this one to the Spa off a race at Ellis Park. The 7-2 ML is likely to go up, and I will jump on board. Ruby Dusk (8) ships here from Chicago for trainer Wayne “The Cat Man” Catalano. This is another one who figures to close off the expected fast pace. Doesn’t like to win (evidenced by only 1 win in 16 tries), but could hit the board. Deltalina (4) hit the board in each of her first five career starts for Wesley Ward, who excels in turf sprints. Has shown fading speed in her two outs this year, but may be ready to carry it farther today. I bet the 7 to win/place and then box the 7-8-4 in one exacta and the 7-8-11 in another.
6th: 6-4-9-1-8…Super Stone (6) was bet down to the 2-1 favorite for her first start at Belmont on July 13. Brushed the gate that day, but still spurted to the front. That scenario is one of the worst a horse can have, and she faded as one might suspect. Gets a rider change today and with a cleaner break, she could be gone on top. Worked very well before that one race. Climb the Ladder (4) reared at the start in her only previous start and was declared a non-starter by the stewards, and rightfully so. I bet her that day and thought she had a huge chance. She now gets a huge rider switch to Irad Ortiz and will break from the rail. Another one that is dangerous if she can get away from the gate. Asiliveandbreathe (9) is a first time starter for a barn that does OK with debuts and 2YOs. Training well for this one and gets brother Junior Ortiz. Can’t dismiss. I bet the 6 to win/place and then box the 6-4-9 in one exacta and the 6-4-1 in another.
7th: 8-6-3-2-4…Voodoo Song (8) would have been a good one to pick today, since he won a 11/16-mile race over this grass course just four days ago for trainer Linda Rice in open company by 51/4 growing lengths. But with his race already run and won, we shift down the list to Man of Wiregrass (6), another one trained by Mike Maker. This one went in open company in his last, too, but will stretch out from 7Fs to 13/8 miles today (that’s adding 4Fs). Trainer does well with stretch outs and this one has been training super. Watch out. Vintage Matters (3) goes for the eccentric trainer Mike Dickinson, who has only 29 starts this year. This one has not been seen since a fast closing third on May 12 at Belmont Park. Will stretch out from 11/16 miles today and gets the talented hands of Johnny V in the saddle. Clutch Cargo (2) has two thirds in a row, and Sandy Strikes (4) is a first time gelding that I would do dismiss. I bet the 6 to win/place and then key the 6-3 over/under all the other numbers listed.
8th: 8-5-3-7-10-9…Gehrig (8) will be making his third start off a year layoff and should be raring to go. Finished second, beaten a neck, in his last effort and actually led late in that one. Any improvement will make him very tough today. Wicked Macho (5) was nominated to the Triple Crown series and came out of box firing, winning his first race at Churchill Downs this spring over a very, very good one. But he has faded terribly in his last two dirt tries, and now will get to taste the green, green grass of home today. May be the trick. Trainer Mark Casse also will saddle Elenzee, who hooked Illinois Derby winner Multiplier earlier this year. Ran a very nice second in his last and shortens up today. Wide open race, but I also will include Animal Posse (10), a beaten favorite last time out. Picks up a solid rider switch today and that could be enough for a trainer that does well with turf sprinters. I bet the 8 to win/place and then key over/under all the others listed.
9th: 3-5-2-4…What a nice field for the 26th running of the G2 Honorable Miss Handicap today. This 6F tilt will feature only five runners, but they all are runners. I go with Paulassilverlining (3) for trainer Chad Brown. She is likely to be the favorite, and why not? She won the G1 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs on Derby Weekend, beaten last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint champion Finest City. “Paula” has hit the 90 Beyer Speed Figure in each of her last 10 starts and she has 5 wins and 2 seconds in 8 lifetime starts at this distance, although she may prefer to go another furlong. To win, though, she will have to catch the ultra-fast Finley’sluckycharm (5), who will break from the outside gate with her running shoes on. She has 8 wins and a second in 10 lifetime starts and has won all three of her races — all stakes — this spring and summer at Churchill Downs. In those three, she truly had no contest. She could spring the upset here today. Not to be dismissed is By the Moon (2), who has won two straight stakes at Belmont Park, and, actually, has a better record at the Spa than “Paula.” She will be stalking the pace, as well. I go with 3 on top and then box the 3-5-2. Won’t pay much, but better than losing.
10th: 6-1-2-14-10-9…Wide open race, but I go with She Remembered (6). High percentage trainer just missed with this one last time out and goes back at the same level with the same rider. This is the 3rd race this year and in this cycle and that’s a favorite angle for me. Reconsider It (1) has a low percentage rider, but nearly won her last out in the drop to this level. Missy’s Storm (2) goes for a trainer that does well with NY breeds, and he always has trained them to finish. This one had to need her last race after a 7-month break. Majestic Mac (14) picks up a high percentage rider who is off to a slow start at the Spa. Longshot at 15-1, but I use underneath. I bet the 6 to win/place and then key over/under the rest of the numbers listed.
Good luck &
All the Best/