We have a pair of plays at each track, and we expect fast dirt in all of them. First picked race is Race 7 at Will Rogers Downs and is expected to go at 5:15 pm.
If it’s a Monday, it must be Will Rogers Downs and Fonner Park. We’ve been thinking that the holding pattern horse racing has been in -- the number of active tracks has been the same for about the past month -- will have to change, and probably soon, but that has not happened yet, which means races today in Oklahoma and Nebraska. Whether there will be changes in a week or two weeks’ time, we don’t pretend to know, so we will take it one day at a time, and that means Monday dirt racing in the Midwest.
We have a pair of plays at each track, and we expect fast dirt in all of them. Let’s go.
Allowance, 5 ½ furlongs, Dirt, Oklahoma-bred Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
There’s a lot of speed in this race, with three very quick runners who should vie for the early lead and set a very quick pace doing so. It will be interesting to see which one of the trio of 3-Sweet Mary M, 7-Euromandy, and 9-Casino Queen wins the early battle up front: we think it will probably be Euromandy, but it could be any one of them, because they’re all very fast.
We think they will be going so fast, in fact, that none of them will be able to carry their speed for the duration of the race, even at this short 5 ½ furlong distance. We think they’ll all be cooked at the top of the stretch, and that the horse on the outside, 11-Keena, will pick up the pieces. This 5-year-old mare is a stretch runner, and we think she will get a dream trip today, sitting behind an incendiary early pace. We will bet her to win at 5-1. The bet: Will Rogers Downs, Race 7, $35 to win on 11-Keena.
$55,000 Cinema Stakes, 1 mile, Dirt, Oklahoma-bred 3-Year-Old Fillies
The Cinema Stakes drew a field of seven, which is a bit short, but it’s a good race to handicap, nonetheless. These fillies are still young, and a lot of them are stretching out, having never run as far as a mile before. We think the additional distance is going to leave at least a couple of them gasping for air down the stretch.
That makes the pick 1-Diamonds N Spurs. Her speed figures are a little light compared to other entrants, but she has run well at a mile before, which virtually none of the other runners can say. We see her sitting mid-pack during the first four or five furlongs and moving to the lead when the pacesetters being shortening stride. We will bet her to win at 4-1. The bet: Will Rogers Downs, Race 9, $40 to win on 1-Diamonds N Spurs.
$30,000 Fonner Special Stakes, 6 furlongs, Dirt, Nebraska-bred 3-Year-Olds
This neat little state-bred stakes race drew eight 3-year-olds. We are taking a shot with a trainer angle, and it is with 8-Trip Code. He’s a maiden, having finished third in his lone career start, and while beating winners, when he couldn’t beat non-winners, is a tall order, we have a lot of confidence in his trainer, David Anderson, who is one of the most capable and confident conditioners on the Fonner Park circuit. If Anderson thinks he fits, then we think he fits, and because he’s a maiden, we get 8-1 odds. One positive in his form is that he did persevere in his lone career start: he finished a well-beaten third, nearly 11 lengths behind the winner, but he did not quit. A big improvement second time out is not out of the question. We will bet him to win. The bet: Fonner Park, Race 4, $30 to win on 8-Trip Code.
Starter Allowance, 1 mile 70 yards, Dirt, 3 & Up
Seven go in today’s 5th a Fonner, which is practically a marathon, as races this long at the Fonner bullring are run around three turns. 7-Ship Stalker is a strong pick: he’s run two good races in a row, including a win at this very level last out, and he’s earned good speed figs in both. And while this race is longer than his last, he has the kind of grinding running style that should hold up well with the extra distance. We will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Fonner Park, Race 5, $35 to win on 7-Ship Stalker.
That’s all for today. Enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.