His first race goes off at 2:04 pm EDT.
It's a beautiful, Indian summer day here in the Northeast. Everyone knows about spring fever, but for our money, fall fever is way better. It's a terrific day to blow off work and head to the track. We'll play a couple of races each at two Mid-Atlantic tracks, Delaware and Belmont Parks. We expect perfect weather, and fast dirt and firm turf, in both places. Let's go.
Belmont Park Race 3, 2:04 pm ET
$30,000 Claiming, 6 1/2 furlongs, dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & up
This claimer drew a field of seven. We like the chalk, 3-Prairie Fire. This 3-year-old filly looked lost in her career debut, a $50k maiden claimer, but then scored in her second and most recent race, stalking the pace and finishing strongly against a group of $25,000 maidens. A repeat of her last makes her the one to beat. We will bet her to win at 9/5. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 3, $35 to win on 3-Prairie Fire.
Belmont Park Race 6, 3:39 pm ET
$32,000 Claiming, 1 mile, turf, 3-year-olds
There's a field of five in this claimer for sophomore colts. The conditions of the race, which are for 3-year-olds only, are worth noting, because it is much, much easier for 3-year-olds this time of year to win a race restricted to their contemporaries than to win a race that is open to older horses. It's like high school athletes competing against themselves, rather than against older athletes in college.
We like 3-Spinning Kitten. This son of top turf sire Kitten's Joy has fun five races in his career, all on turf, and he's yet to run a bad one. He finished sixth in his last, but that was at the higher $62,500 claiming level, and that race had a painfully slow early pace, which rendered ineffective his late-running style. There are some speed horses in this race, which should ensure a more robust early pace, and which should set the table for Spinning Kitten's powerful stretch move. We think the drop in class and a faster pace are just what the doctor ordered for this guy; we will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 6, $30 to win on 3-Spinning Kitten.
Delaware Park Race 4, 2:45 pm ET
$7,500 Maiden Claiming, 5 furlongs, turf, 3 & up
2-Mr. Maurice is a strong play here. This 3-year-old colt has been running competitively at a higher level, $16k maiden claiming, and now drops to $7,500 company and catches an incredibly weak field. He has enough tactical speed to stay close early, which is important in turf sprints; we expect him get a good trip from his inside post position, and outclass the rest of the runners with a strong stretch move. We will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Delaware Park, Race 4, $30 to win on 2-Mr. Maurice.
Delaware Park Race 7, 4:15 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 7 1/2 furlongs, turf, 3 & up
This is another race where the conditions, who is eligible to run, are worth paying attention to. The "allowance/optional claiming" tag means that horses are eligible in one of two ways: they can either be entered under allowance conditions, or they can be entered under claiming conditions, i.e. for a specified claiming price, which in this race is $25,000. Put more simply, in order to be eligible for this race, a horse must either have not won two races other than maiden/claiming, or they can be entered for a $25k claiming price.
Most of the time, these races are filled with horses entered under the allowance conditions, and we treat them as allowance races. But every once in a while there is a horse entered for a claiming price, and this race is one of them: two of the eleven runners are in for a $25k tag, and we like one of them: it's 4-Tusk, a 6-year-old gelding by superstar sire Tapit. Tusk runs for high-percentage trainer Jorge Navarro. He's entered as a claimer because he's won too many races to be eligible under the allowance conditions, and that looks plenty good to us. He's in good form, he looks to outclass this field, and he's a juicy 4-1 on the morning line. We will; bet him to win. The bet: Delaware Park, Race 7, $40 to win on 4-Tusk.
That's all for today. As always, good luck at the windows.