TIMEFORMUS HIGHLIGHT HORSE
Race 10: Irish Cat
Race 5: Maiden Special Weight at 5.5 furlongs on turf
While there are certainly some horses with experience to consider in this race, the runner that I find most intriguing is a first-time starter. Trainer Troy Wismer has not had many starters over the past few years, but he has shown himself to be capable of preparing a first-time starter, sending out debut winners at massive prices on a couple of occasions. Furthermore, it looks as if he might have a talented runner on his hands with LOVE AND LEMONS (#4). This daughter of good turf sire Lemon Drop Kid is out of a Speightstown dam that was herself a winner sprinting on turf. She sold for $170,000 at the OBS sale in March after an eye-catching 9 4/5 one-furlong breeze. It’s a good sign to see a capable rider like Luis Saez taking the mount on this potentially live long shot.
I would also have to use Mare Irish Dancer (#2), who has plenty of turf pedigree on her dam’s side, and Conquest Bad Girl (#9), who finished with interest in her debut after getting away slowly. Mark Casse, a 63-rated debut trainer, gets a 98 trainer rating with second-time starters.
Exacta Box: 2,4,9
Race 7: NY-bred Optional Claiming $40,000/N2X at 5.5 furlongs on turf
Asset Inflation (#1) was spectacular when surviving a fast pace to win at Belmont last time, but can he replicate that effort while getting even more early pace pressure this time? Of the likely speeds, Doctor J Dub (#7) is somewhat interesting considering how well Successful Native, whom he beat last time, ran in the Lucky Coin on Monday.
With so much speed in this cast of characters, an honest pace appears likely. Our top pick is the late-running CAPTAIN GAUGHEN (#4). While some might say that he’s disappointed off the claim by Rudy Rodriguez, I’d contend that a more circumspect evaluation of his form is required. After all, he was badly overmatched in an especially tough edition of the Kingston back in May, and then he just did not receive the right trip at Belmont last time, getting shuffled back before trying to make a run up the rail in a race that held together up front. He’s been successful sprinting in the past, and I think he’s meeting the right field today.
Exacta Key Box: 4 with 1,7,10,11
Pick-4: 4 with 1,4,6,7 with 11 with 5,6,8,9,11
Pick-4: 4 with 4 with 3,4,6 with 5,6,8,9,11
Race 8: The G2 Honorable Miss at 6 furlongs
Paulassilverlining (#1) is going to be a very short price in this spot—in my opinion, probably too short. She has turned into a winning machine this year, but her speed figures do not give her that great of an edge in this race. Furthermore, she was beating up on a much weaker field last time and will have to run faster than the 111 speed figure she earned that day to come out on top here.
Given the presence of a few key pace players (Disco Chick and Diva Express), I think there is enough speed to set up the late run of HAVEYOUGONEAWAY (#4). I realize that she’s yet to prove herself against this caliber of competition, but she’s paired up 115 speed figures in her last two starts, which makes her fast enough to win today. I was impressed by the way she sliced through the pack with such agility last time, and I think she’s going to offer better value than the favorite today.
While I’m hardly against Paulassilverlining, I do want to have other options in this race given that the prices on other contenders may be slightly inflated due to the presence of a heavy favorite. Both Sarah Sis (#6) and Bar of Gold (#7) are less likely winners than Paulassilverlining but have run races that would make them competitive and deserve to be included if they’re going off at odds of around 5/1 or higher.
Exacta Box: 4 with 1,6,7
Race 9: Optional Claiming $62,500/N2X at 5.5 furlongs on turf
This isn’t the most clever opinion, since she’ll be a relatively short price, but I believe RUMBLE DOLL (#11) is too good for this field. Her connections have taken shots in some tougher stakes races over the past year, but she’s consistently performed well when realistically placed against allowance company. She also has put in some of her best career efforts over this Saratoga turf course. While she’s yet to win this year, she has hardly been disgraced in defeat. She closed strongly to lose to Lady Shipman by just 3 lengths two back in a race that was too short for her, and then last time she was done in by a ridiculously slow pace (note the fractions color-coded in blue).
I’ll use her with Tent City (#3), who goes out for 100-rated turf sprint trainer Jason Servis, Justa Lady (#4), who will take these as far as she can on the front end, and Spectacular Me (#6), who was undone by a wide trip last time and would be dangerous if she can get back to the form she displayed over this turf course last season.
Exacta Key Box: 11 with 3,4,6
Race 10: Claiming $35,000 at 8.5 furlongs on turf
My strongest opinion is that I don’t really want the horses that have been running at this level at Belmont. I just think that those were weak races and they’re all stepping up to face better horses here. However, the problem is that many of the seemingly more talented runners are difficult to trust.
Mambo at the Gym’s (#5) tactical speed may give him a pace advantage, but he’s among that group of runners that we’re mostly against. The horse to beat might be Sly Tom (#8), but a lack of pace may work against him. Tambourin (#6) has to be used as he takes a plunge in class for Graham Motion, but he’s especially hard to trust off his last effort.
Of the slew of class droppers in this race, the one that I’m most willing to take a shot with is IRISH CAT (#9). I know his last race is a concern, but that was a day when the turf course had taken a lot of rain, and he was hardly the only runner to throw in an uncharacteristically dull effort. Both Three for Me and Big Rock, who finished behind him that day, came back to return to their prior good form in subsequent starts after being eased in that May 7 race, leading me to believe that they just didn’t handle the boggy conditions. I’m hoping this is the case with Irish Cat, who had previously run races that would make him a major player here. Additionally, Linda Rice gets a 99 trainer rating with horses moving from allowance to claiming company.
Exacta Key Box: 9 with 5,6,8,11