Mick McMudder has been playing the ponies and picking winners since Ferdinand won the Derby, Broad Brush made a right turn and still won the Pennsylvania Derby and Snow Chief was champion three year old after winning the Preakness and Jersey Derby (still a travesty for Mick…it should have been Ferdinand). But the most influential horse born in the same year was a Pennsylvania-bred … Storm Cat who made up for his limited race track career with a stud career that has not been equaled since…although Galileo is getting close! Since his fateful first trip to Timonium (you gotta start somewhere!), Mick has bought, sold, bred, raced, claimed, retired, retrained, re-homed, and, most of all, bet on thoroughbreds. In addition, he has played the ponies on four different continents and justified far too many farm trips to the TSA.
With his picks below, Mick is trying to show races where he thinks there is an opportunity to make the right wager and get a return on your investment in line with the risk involved. You will seldom see him calling out the morning line chalk. Although focusing on the Mid Atlantic tracks, he will feature top races from elsewhere in the country (and world, when possible), especially those that are Grade 1s or leading up to the classics.
A little rain, a little sun. Welcome to the wild weather days of June in the East. Turf was off yesterday at Parx and with overnight rains, it will be off again today. The turf course at Parx is one of the older ones in the region and doesn’t take on water as well as the newer courses at Laurel and Belmont. Why? There are lots of reasons from less subbase and less drainage to a narrower course needing to take all the load. As turf racing continues to grow in popularity in North America, for both the punter and the house, as evidenced by larger fields and greater handle, tracks like Parx will need to reevaluate whether they can continue with outmoded, narrow turf courses. The alternatives are out there, with Colonial Downs, Laurel and Belmont all having clear and successful models to emulate. Please Greenwood, address your weeds!
Picks for June 18, 2019:
Wet and dreary breaking for some sun or possible downpours. Bring an umbrella.
Parx Race 3
1-To the Flag and 4-Jemrose appear to be stand outs in this short field sprint. 4-Jemrose won this match up last out at 7f but today’s 6f distance may favor the early speed of 1-To the Flag. Following the rains, the track should be tighter favoring speed, but the first two races will be a good indicator. It’s a long way down to the others although 3-Krissy’s Manicure poses the greatest potential for pace impact by being a gas and go front ender. Nothing beyond 5 ½ f seems to fit her so speed and fade will be the order of the day.
$10 W/P/S 1-To the Flag
$2 Exacta box 1,4
$1 Trifecta 1,4/1,3,4/3,4
Parx Race 7
1-Ark in the Dark makes a lot of sense here based on the two races since being claimed by these connections. He has not been quite good enough at this level but draws a slightly softer crew here. 3-Forest River is on a good form cycle but seems to like the shorter sprints. 2-A J’s Way has the ability to sit off early pace and pounce, a good trait here given the early speed in the race. Pace will determine his opportunity for the top prize, but he looks logical underneath. The up-setter in all of this is 4-Fix Me a Sandwich who got caught on an outrageous pace last out at Monmouth but returns home and gets huge class relief. Running third behind Bethlehem Road two back in a Stake may look much batter after the Ohio Derby.
$10 W/P/S 4 - Fix Me a Sandwich
$2 Exacta box 1,4
$1 Trifecta box 1,3,4
$0.10 Superfecta Box 1,2,3,4
Parx Race 6: 9 - Imasuperstar descends the ladder and arrives in a soft spot. Trainer wins at 22% with big drops.
Parx Race 9: 6 - Manipulate finally gets the class relief that he has been crying out for. Should have taken this opportunity before PA breds could be protected in this spot because 3-Page Down looks very well placed if he is professional enough to see out the distance.