RACE 3: LOGIC N REASON (#6)
This N1X allowance race only drew 7 runners, but it features several horses who appear to be quite promising. Leading that list is Linny Kate, who won her debut for Chad Brown back in February at Gulfstream. She appeared to be idling once peeled out to make her run in upper stretch, but she really kicked in to top gear in the last sixteenth. The filly she defeated, Mimina’s Team, returned to win, validating that performance. She obviously has a layoff to contend with, as do many in here, but she’s a major player. I could also use fellow Gulfstream maiden winner Lashara, who significantly improved in her turf debut. I’m not sure if she was beating a field of much quality that day, but she looked good doing it. Yet I’m intrigued by a couple of others drawn towards the outside. One of those is impressive debut winner Stolen Holiday, who won at Tampa. She got a relatively soft trip that day, setting a comfortable pace before drawing off with authority in the lane. That was not a strong field behind her, but she did it the right way and she certainly has the pedigree to suggest she can improve with experience. This dam has been exceptional, producing three Grade or Group 1 turf winners, Minorette, Master of Hounds, and Eishin Apollon. The only problem is that she’s probably going to be among the favorites. I believe we’ll get a slightly better price on the other horse that interests me, Logic N Reason. This filly ran deceptively well in her first couple of starts, as she had trouble in her debut and then was unfortunate to catch the talented Alms in her second start. She put everything together last October when she dominated a 7-furlong maiden event in fast time, earning a field-best 103 TimeformUS Speed Figure for that victory. I’ll throw out her juvenile finale on dirt, and now she tries a route on turf for the first time. She’s certainly bred to handle a route distance and she’s getting Lasix for the first time. Furthermore, the Christophe Clement barn been on fire lately.
RACE 4: SIMPLY MISS RED (#3)
Heavy favorite Ocean Fire may finally get it done this time, but I can’t possibly take this filly at a short price again. She really should have broken her maiden last time when dropped in for a tag at Gulfstream. It’s true that she did not get an ideal trip that day, but she’s just run out of chances for me. Furthermore, this race is arguably tougher than the maiden claimer she contested last time, as there are a number of lightly-raced rivals who have potential to improve. Leading that list is More Mango, who goes out for Jonathan Thomas. This filly didn’t earn much of a speed figure in her debut at Tampa, but she was pretty green that day and only hit her best stride just before the wire. This drop in class seems realistic, and Jonathan Thomas has excellent stats in this situation. Over the past 5 years, he is 11 for 25 (44%, $3.88 ROI) with maiden second-time starters in turf routes. I’m using her prominently, but there are also others to consider at bigger prices. One of those is Fleet Stepper, who goes out for the dangerous Christophe Clement barn. Yet my top pick is the returnee Simply Miss Red. This filly had no chance in her turf sprint debut last summer when she couldn’t make up any ground into a crawling early pace. Her only other turf start came at Saratoga last July and she didn’t get the most comfortable trip that day. She rode the rail early, but then had to search for room in upper stretch, was briefly stymied, and then couldn’t muster a rally late. On the surface of things, she hasn’t show much, but I think there’s more to this filly than we’ve seen thus far, and David Donk can have one ready to go off the layoff.
RACE 7: SCUTTLEBUZZ (#10)
There are two horses with experience trying the turf for the first time who figure to attract support here. One of those is Walrus Gumboot, who flashed high speed first time out over the winter at Aqueduct before fading in the final furlong. There are many signs pointing to this one being better on turf, as she’s by decent turf sire Palace Malice, and her dam was a stakes-winning turf sprinter. Yet, the elephant in the room is the trainer switch. For the most part, these trainer switches from Jason Servis to Kelly Breen haven’t worked out, so I’m watching to see if this one can hold its form. I prefer the other runner switching surfaces, Scuttlebuzz. This horse showed a ton of promise in his debut on the dirt at the end of last year, making a wild late run to just miss on Dec. 28. He wasn’t as successful in his second start in February, but circumstances were against him that day. He was off slowly and then launched a wide, premature move on the backstretch on a day when the rail was the place to be. Yet what’s most appealing about this horse is that he’s really bred to excel on the turf, not the dirt. He’s by good turf influence The Factor, and his dam was a two-time turf winner who was third in the Yaddo Stakes. This gelding is also a half-brother to turf winner Myheartblongstodady. As long as he gets some pace to close into, I think this Jonathan Thomas trainee will be difficult for this field to beat. The other horse that I want to use prominently is the first time starter Ratchet. Christophe Clement’s horses have been running well lately and he has solid stats with first time starters in turf sprints at NYRA. The sire Americain is a stamina influence, but this runner’s dam is a half-sister to Group 2-winning European turf sprinter Radiohead. I would also throw in the also-eligible runner Sanctuary City if he draws into the field.