Garrity's first post time is 5 pm EDT.
It’s a Tuesday, and like yesterday, the only two racetracks running are Fonner Park in Nebraska and Will Rogers Downs in Oklahoma. These two ovals have garnered unprecedented attention due to the fact that they’re among the few tracks still putting on races. The cards at both tracks are surprisingly good, especially at Fonner, which has a nine-race evening program that even includes a little stakes race. It might not be a Saturday afternoon at Saratoga in August, but in a world where just about every other sport has been shut down completely, it looks plenty good to us, and we will play these races enthusiastically.
The weather looks fine for both tracks, and we’ve handicapped all races for fast dirt. We have six races, a Tuesday six pack, all of which go off in about a three-hour time span. Let’s go.
Fonner Park, Race 1, 5:00 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 6 furlongs, Dirt, Nebraska-breds, 3 & Up
This state-bred allowance/optional claimer drew a field of seven. The 5/2 morning line choice is 4-L B Gold, who is favored primarily due to his slightly superior speed figures. But he has little early speed, and Fonner has been favoring forwardly-placed horses in recent days. That makes our pick 7-Morning Shadow, an 8-year-old gelding and grizzled veteran, who drops into this spot after running fifth in a minor stakes at Fonner. We think that he will get a perfect trip: He will be able to stalk a no-hope speedball, 3-Jack Be Good, from his outside post, and that is a perfect setup, from both a trip and pace standpoint. We see Morning Shadow winning with a move at the top of the stretch, and L B Gold getting up late for second. We will bet Morning Shadow to win, and play them in the exacta, in that order. The bets: Fonner Park, Race 1, $25 to win on 7-Morning Shadow; $10 exacta, 7 (Morning Shadow) with 4-L B Gold.
Will Rogers Downs, Race 8, 5:45 pm ET
Handicap, 5 ½ furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
Eight horses drew into this one. We like 7-Shred the Rules, who ships in from Sunland Park in New Mexico. He’s a 7-year-old gelding who is in razor-sharp form, finishing first and second in his two races this year, which were his first after a layoff of over a year.
Sunland Park closed abruptly about two weeks ago due to the coronavirus pandemic. Shred the Rules looks to us like a horse who was fit and running well, and his connections, not wanting to sit on a horse who is ready to run, found this race at Will Rogers. We think that makes him a very, very strong contender, and in fact, we expect him to win here. At 5/2, we will bet that he does. The bet: Will Rogers Downs, Race 8, $40 to win on 7-Shred the Rules.
Fonner Park, Race 3, 5:54 pm ET
Maiden Special Weight, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
This six-furlong maiden dash drew a field of ten. We’re not overly impressed with the horses who have run before, the runners with established form, so we’re looking at an intriguing first-time starter: it’s 7-Kido’s Sling Shot, a 3-year-old Iowa-bred who starts for trainer David Anderson. This colt has shown some zip in the morning, which we like, and Anderson has skill getting firsters ready to fire, as he showed yesterday, when he won with a filly making her career debut. At 15-1, we think Kido’s Sling Song is worth a play, so we will bet him to win and to place. The bets: Fonner Park, Race 3, $15 to win/place on 7-Kido’s Sling Song.
Will Rogers Downs, Race 9, 6:15 pm ET
Allowance, 6 furlongs, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
The field of this second-level allowance for females came up surprisingly strong: there are a number of runners who have better credentials than we’s expect to see on a Tuesday in Oklahoma. There are several entrants with very solid form.
But this is another race where we like a longshot: It’s 5-Runaround Rosey, a 4-year-old filly trained by Scott Young. She did some nice running in the fall at Remington Park in Oklahoma City, but her last, when she did a speed-and-fade on December 15, was not good. But we are willing to draw a line through that race: it was at a mile, which is probably farther than she wants to go; and she set a fast pace in a race where the speed collapsed, and closers dominated. Now she returns to the races after a brief freshening, we think she fits here, but because of her superficially bad effort in her last, she’s a big price. We’ll take that all day long, and an added benefit is that Young is winning at a stratospheric 40% rate at the current WIll Rogers meeting. We think Runaround Rosey is very live, so we will bet her to win and to place. The bets: Will Rogers Downs, Race 9, $20 to win/$10 to place on 4-Runaround Rosey.
Fonner Park, Race 7, 7:42 pm ET
Allowance, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
This allowance drew eight runners, and we found two that we like, 7-Scooter’s Boy and 8-Lovethatcause. They are the third and second choices on the morning line, respectively, at 9/2 and 7/2. We spent more time than is healthy trying to separate them, to find a reason to give the edge to one of them, but after many minutes of hair-pulling, we came to our senses, and realized they’re too closely matched to give the edge to either one.
Look for both of them to get a good stalking trip from their outside posts, and to move to the front around the far turn. We think they finish 1-2 in some order, so we’ll box them in the exacta, and root for the best price. The bet: Fonner Park, Race 6, $10 exacta box, 7 (Scooter’s Boy) with 8 (Lovethatcause).
Fonner Park, Race 8, 8:09 pm ET
$15,000 Pepsi Stakes, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3-Year-Old Fillies
The Pepsi Stakes drew a nice field of nine, and after a couple of longshot plays, we’re going chalky in it: we think 5/2 morning line favorite 3-Saygoodnightgracie is clearly the best runner in here, as her last two races were very good, certainly better than any other filly in the field has done. We doubt that she’ll be anywhere near her morning-line price -- we think she’ll be more like even money -- but we think she is superior enough that taking a short price is justified. Sometimes the smart play is to identify the best horse and bet that horse to win; we think Saygoodnightgracie is clearly the best filly in the Pepsi. We will bet her to win. The bet: Fonner Park, Race 8, $40 to win on 3-Saygoodnightgracie.
That’s all for today. Until the next time, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.