RACE 3: NEW YORK SUPREME (#3)
The two main players in this spot are clearly Bankers Daughter and New York Supreme. The former raced greenly after breaking from the outside post in a 12-horse field first time out, staying on well for fourth. She showed significant improvement with the addition of blinkers last time, chasing the winner all the way around the track while safely hanging on for second. This daughter of Central Banker would be tough here if merely repeating that performance and that’s a reasonable expectation. Trainer Mike Miceli has enjoyed an outstanding year, going 22 for 77 (29%, $3.86 ROI) over the past 12 months, signifying that he tends to keep horses like this in good form. She’s the one to beat, but I’m hoping to get a slightly better price on her primary foe New York Supreme. This Gary Contessa trainee easily defeated Bankers Daughter and almost all of the rest when nearly leading from gate to wire in her debut. The distance and the fact that she broke a half-step slowly just got to her late as she shortened stride in the final sixteenth and got caught. While she disappointed as the even-money choice in her second start last time, she essentially lost all chance at the start, stumbling badly and getting left behind the field. From there, she rushed up in traffic and had to steady before essentially being eased in the late stages. This filly is clearly better than that and should be able to rebound here with a clean break. She’s my top pick, since it’s just hard to make a strong case for anyone else. Of the firsters, Rosey’s Invasion looks the most appealing since she’s a half-sister to some nice runners including stakes winner Berning Rose. However, this barn is not known for debut success.
RACE 4: ARCHUMYBABY (#3)
This is a particularly evenly matched field so there are many ways to go. Cartwheelin Lulu and Letmetakethiscall come out of the same race at this level. Cartwheelin Lulu finished second that day, 1 1/2 lengths ahead of her rival, but I thought that Letmetakethiscall got the much tougher trip. That race was run during a period of time when kickback was especially detrimental to horses attempting to rally from off the pace and Letmetakethiscall got shuffled back in the early going and was forced to rate behind horses. Even once the field turned into the stretch Jose Lezcano had trouble extricating this mare from in behind the leaders and didn’t find a clear path until it was too late. She’s likely to run much better today for a strong barn, but I think this is a subtle step up in class given the presence of some new faces. One of those is Exceed the Goal, who might get a little overlooked due to the low-profile connections. Yet this mare showed real promise at NYRA earlier this year and she’s had some minor excuses in her recent races. I’m using her prominently, but my top pick is Archumybaby. At the end of the day, this mare has just been facing much better horses in her recent starts. Horses like Hay Field and Cash Offer are vastly superior to this field and Archumybaby won at this level as recently as September. She almost always gets overlooked on the tote board due to the low-profile connections, but this barn wins races. This mare also loves to win races, having eked out more than her fair share of close decisions.
RACE 6: REFLECT (#5)
The entry figures to vie for favoritism in this spot merely because you’re getting two for the price of one, rather than because either runner is particularly formidable on their individual merits. Going back to this summer, Carrizo would have been a prohibitive favorite in this race. However, she appears to have lost the early speed that she once possessed and that’s negatively affected her performances. Her entrymate Slimey has never had any early speed, but she was able to overcome that over the summer due to some favorable circumstances. She took advantage of off-the-turf opportunities, wet tracks, and outside bias situations while tallying 3 victories. Yet her form has also steadily declined since then, and that could also be due to the fact that she’s just a little outclassed at this N1X level. In looking for alternatives some may consider Queen Kahen, but I think this filly is a trap. If you’re just working off the speed figures, she obviously looks like a top contender here. Yet, her highest numbers were earned on turf and she took advantage of a moderate pace and sloppy track when she won on the dirt last time out. I want to go in a different direction, so I’m taking the new face Reflect. At first glance it might appear that she’s not the horse that she once was, but the outlook becomes a bit more encouraging when you parse her form. She was obviously a talented 2-year-old, achieving a Grade 1 placing in the Alcibiades. Yet it’s worth noting that she took advantage of an outstanding trip that day, and may have fooled her connections into thinking she wanted to go longer. It turns out that she’s just better sprinting, and she proved that off the layoff two back at Los Alamitos. I’m not sure why they tried the turf last time, but now she’s back on the right surface going the right distance. Her trainer doesn’t have great numbers with this move, but every contender in this race has some flaws, so I’m willing to look past that.