Wednesday at the track: RT has free play picks from the Fair Grounds
65º and sunny today in New Orleans. Quite lovely and a perfect day at the races.
Race 6 - $47K Optional Claimer N2X
4yo’s↑ sprinting 5.5f on turf
#4 Real News (9/5) hits the #1 spot for speed and class numbers, is 3:2-0-0 for $51K at FG, 9:3-1-0 for $139K at the distance and had a good earning year in 2020 bringing in $68K in six races. He has chased multiple graded stakes placed horses like Leinstar, Diamond Oops, and Totally Boss and his career earnings of 13:4-2-1 for $282K, towers over these. With all those accomplishments, why is Albert Stall and his team entering him with for a tag of $40K? Rhetorical question. #1 Born Great (5/2) will provide a jolt in the stretch now that he is turning back a second time from his front-end effort in the G2 Shadwell. Oddly, this Scat Daddy gelding just started racing as a four-year-old last summer and lit up Kentucky Downs, breaking his maiden and returning a week later to blister a $95K allowance by 5.75 lengths. In his next on December 11th, he entered a $44K aoc here and just missed as the chalk. He had a freshening on 12/28 and gets leading jockey Adam Beschizza. Evidently turf sprints is not Beschizzas’ long suit with a 25% win record overall and yet a 13% sprinting on grass. I am going along for the ride with the recent claimee for Keith Desormeaux, #2 Seven Scents (6/1). Just off a win as a first claimee, this gray Goldencents gelding has the early speed to control the tempo and take it to the house.
Race 7 - $51K Allowance Optional Claiming N1X
4yo’s↑ going 8.5f
#2 Extraordinary (5/1) four year old gelding out of Speightstown broke his maiden at second asking last spring. Leveling up, he ran competitively against the same age who are winners/experienced types. In July, overstatedly, he entered the Indiana Derby where at a little over 4/1, ran well pressing the leaders for eight of the nine furlongs before giving way. Based on his previous races prior to that derby, there was no way he was going to win going up against the likes of Shared Sense, Necker Island, Major Fed, et al. Benched for five months afterward, the connections changed trainers to Brissett for one race, Hawley for one race and now landed in Edward Johnston’s barn where he raced going 8.5f on turf; he posted a vast improvement. He is third off the layoff and there are no red flags to indicate that his form cycle will cede. Pursuant to DRF, Extraordinary, is a $750K Keeneland September sale. His mom is multiple graded stakes winner Fiftyshadesofhay and his dad is multiple graded stakes and breeders cup sprint champion Speightstown. Therefore, with his price tag and breeding, where have things gone wrong? Like Chestertown, a $2M colt, the answer likely comes in two parts – a) Leadership. Which, in this case, has done what I would have done with Chestertown - change trainers until you see your horse blossoming under new tutelage, and b) Maturity. Some grow up and develop faster than others. The conclusion of this diatribe is that this colt is capable of better and you will see a grand effort from him this afternoon. #8 Job Security (6/1) just blasted this fields largest Beyer last out. In his last, which was a much better effort than you see on paper, he ran four wide for the first half and then came around six wide in the turn and onto the stretch, to eke out a show check. That race on December 13 was the exact conditions as today. This time, third leading jockey James Graham is in the irons and he will stay near the pace. Was that 84 last time out an aberration, or is this level of competition his garden spot? I would say the latter and it would not surprise if he took this. #7 Glory Road (6/1) showed improvement, numbers-wise, for Merrill Scherer in his first race since switching from Dallas Stewart. Evidently Turnley Farms was none too happy with their $77K purchase in the hands of Todd Pletcher either, so they switched to Stewart and now to Scherer. These are understandable decisions for a smaller barn that spent $77K and ended up gelding him, therefore losing any future breeding value. #6 Kadesh (3/1) has the best two last Beyers than this group and for new trainer, claimed two back, Paul McGee (33%). McGee sent him postward on November 29th in a $90K allowance and he led until the turn, dug in at the ¼ pole and tired. What makes this guy dangerous today is that last race was not one where the entrants all ran some outrageously fast number, and you can expect a dull effort for today. Instead, the majority ran lower figures than their respective previous races, so he will get better and today could be the day. Finally, from the barn of Gary and Mary West, #4 Guided Missile (4/1). $185K colt out of Tapit and Tiznow, he graduated at first asking, then switched barns from Phil D’Amato to Brett Calhoun. The first time out for Calhoun was nothing short of a train wreck, yet that was in the slop and is excusable. Moved to FG, he ran in the exact conditions as today, stalked the pace into the turn and ran evenly, getting a check for show. That is it for his experience. He will be in the money today.
You are going to see #6 jump to an early lead with #4 nearby. Perhaps they stay that way throughout the backstretch. Into the turn, look for pressers like #8, #7, and #2 to make their way near making the last furlong interesting.
Since these are the considerations a handicapper must sort, I ask you, who wins?
Race 8 - $17.5K Claimer (17.5-15) B
On the turf for 4yo’s↑ going one mile
#2 Foldover (12/1), #3 Vinyl (4/1), #5 Clint Maroon (6/1), and #12 Late Night Mischief (10/1), will vie for the lead into the halfway mark in the backstretch. #1 Take That For Data (4/1), getting a ground saving trip on the rail, moves up on the leaders along with #4 Armchair Jockey (7/2) #7 Ya Gotta Win (10/1) and #9 Stock Trade (10/1) advancing. Of the early speed, Foldover is the only one who keeps up for a late bid. There are a few ways to look at this.
Given the relative even distribution of talent….
A) Do you take the stud jockey with this large of a field (something I typically do)? #4
B) Do you take the horse that you have discerned to have the best overall class and speed, who has the best trainer in the country and second best at the course and a 14% strike rate on turf with a 17% rate in routes? $7
C) Do you take the ground saving trip for the horse on the rail who has the most money earned last year, best record on turf at this course, and is first off the claim? #1
D) Do you take the early speed to hold? #2
E) Do you take the Hawthorne shipper who is first off the claim and had a couple of works at the track? #9
Who do you like? Let me know @RtsSpot
I will go with Asmussen and #7 Ya Gotta Win (10/1)