Race 3: Maiden Claiming $40,000 at 5.5 furlongs on turf
In a race where it’s hard to trust those with turf form and longtime maiden Junger (#8) seems like the horse to beat, it’s probably not a bad idea to look for a new face. For me, that horse is STONY BROOK (#3). This horse faced tougher maiden special weight company at Monmouth in his debut and has some angles working in his favor today. Jason Servis, who gets just a 50 trainer rating with his debut runners, gets a 92 rating with second-time starters. Furthermore, Jason Servis excels with turf sprinters (100 trainer rating) and does well when riding Irad Ortiz (100 trainer rating). This horse actually has some turf pedigree as a half-sister to 5-time turf sprint winner Subtle.
Exacta Key Box: 3 with 2,4,8
Race 4: Claiming $16,000 at 9 furlongs
I’m going to try to get our old friend LUCKY LOTTO (#1) back to the winner’s circle on the drop in class. While his recent form has been disappointing, you can at least make an excuse for his last race, in which the pace was very slow (all fractions color-coded in blue) and the winner wired the field. He now takes a steep drop in class and should prove superior to this group if he gets any pace to close into. One would imagine he will find a more favorable scenario here with the speedy Readthebyline and stretching-out Cousin Stephen in the race.
Exacta Key Box: 1 with 3,5
Race 6: Claiming $25,000 at 6 furlongs
If you disregard the last race for UNCHARTED COURSE (#6), in which he was away slowly and left too far behind early over a speed-favoring racetrack, he is very much the horse to beat in this spot. He’s run well at the N2X optional claiming level on occasion, but this drop down to $25,000 is certainly logical considering how tough those races can come up. The Pace Projector is predicting a situation favoring horses on or near the lead and he’s drawn well outside of the other speeds, which should allow Manny Franco to work out a nice stalking trip.
Trifecta: 6 with 3,4,5 with 3,4,5
Race 8: Allowance at 8.5 furlongs on turf
You could make the argument that TABLE FOR SIX (#7) should have won both of her last two starts. Two back at Belmont she was badly hampered at the start when squeezed back between horses. She had to make a wide run into the stretch and finished well to get up for third behind a perfect-trip winner. Then last time she was compromised by drawing a wide post position. Javier Castellano tried to do the right thing by taking her back early, but he was never able to get over to the rail and she had to launch a four-wide move on the far turn. I expect Javier to have her somewhat closer to the pace this time, and she looms a likely winner if she has any luck at all.
Trifecta: 7 with 3,4,6 with 3,4,6,8,9,11
Trifecta: 7 with 8,9,11 with 3,4,6
Race 9: The With Anticipation (G2) at 8.5 furlongs on turf
While I generally shy away from taking horses stretching out in distance from turf sprints, especially coming off wins, I cannot shake the feeling that MADE YOU LOOK (#2) is simply the most talented horse in this race. This horse is bred to be special, since he’s out of a daughter of the great broodmare and racemare Serena’s Song. He ran well enough in his debut while no match for the swift Red Lodge, who returned to win a stakes earlier this month. Made You Look put it all together second time out, getting the better of two horses who returned to photo for the win in a route maiden race earlier at this meet. In a race where the others have kept some very questionable company, I know that Made You Look is a quality colt, and he has the right rider on his back to orchestrate this stretch-out.
Trifecta: 2 with 7 with 3,4,5,6
Trifecta: 2 with 3,4,5,6 with 7