RACE 1: U SHOULD B DANCING (#2)
Saratoga Gaze has run well in both career starts, but had to settle for second each time. She got a great trip in her debut, stalking a relatively slow pace before getting run down by her superior stablemate. Then last time they tried stretching her out, and she handled it fairly well. However, she was taken off the pace and was left with too much ground to make up. It’s a little odd to see Christophe Clement run her back in just 10 days, but perhaps that’s due to limited options at the end of turf season in New York. Her biggest rival based on past form is Palace Gossip. If she can recapture her turf form from her juvenile season, this field is going to be in trouble. She showed a ton of speed in her debut, and then raced competitively against open company in her 2nd start, earning a very strong 96 TimeformUS Speed Figure. That was no fluke, as horses have come back out of that race to do some nice things. The problem is that she was off for so long. While it’s tempting to just draw a line through the dirt return, there is a real question as to whether she’s the same horse now. I want to get a little more creative with U Should B Dancing. She’s definitely had her fair share of chances at this level. Though to be fair, she’s only made 6 starts sprinting on turf and she’s finished second in 4 of those, so she’s been knocking on the door. Her two results since the trainer switch to Rudy Rodriguez have been subpar. That said, one of those was on the dirt, and she got a poor trip on turf last time. It’s not noted in the short comment, but she had a nightmare journey through the opening quarter, steadied repeatedly while stuck in traffic, before getting spun wide at the quarter pole. She figures to be more effective with a clean break and should be a square price.
RACE 4: OWN AGENDA (#3)
Analyze It is a deserving favorite as he drops in class off a win at a higher optional claiming level last time out. He had all the best of it on the front end that day, setting a slow pace before pulling away in the stretch. While he officially won by a length, he had a clear two-length cushion coming to the wire before Irad Ortiz geared him down for the final few strides. He hasn’t been the win machine as of late that he had been as a younger horse, but he’s still put forth respectable efforts and is now dropping to meet a weaker field than the one he defeated last time. Some might view it as a negative that Brown continues to risk him for an $80k tag even after he won last time, but the connections are probably just being realistic about the prospects of this soon-to-be 7-year-old. The biggest hurdle for Analyze It might be a faster pace, since horses like Summer to Remember and Wolfie’s Dynaghost figure to apply some early pressure. I definitely prefer him to Chad’s other horse Emaraaty. He showed very little in the Oyster Bay last time when cutting back to 7 furlongs, and he was beating a weaker field when he won at this level two back. This horse is just a little unreliable and I wanted to look elsewhere. I think the most interesting alternative to the favorite is Own Agenda. We haven’t seen too much of this guy over the past couple of years, but he did put in a solid effort in his one appearance this year at Churchill Downs in June. That was just his second career start on the turf. While he’s never won on this surface, I think he handles it well, as he’s always been bred to be a better turf horse. Considering that he hadn’t run in 19 months, I really liked his last effort. He’s needed some time since then, but he’s been training for much of that time and Cherie DeVaux can have one ready off a layoff. He has the tactical speed to work out a trip and could get somewhat overlooked here.
RACE 9: MAKIN MY MOVE (#7)
Classy Edition is likely to go favored as she tries to keep her undefeated record intact through three career starts. She didn’t run a particularly fast time in her debut but she was visually impressive that day. She came right back to win with an improved effort in the Joseph A. Gimma last time, drawing off to win by 8 lengths going 7 furlongs. She looked like a prime candidate to win the Maid of the Mist last month at Belmont, but she missed that race. There’s a 3-week gap in her training, which means she probably had a minor issue. She’s obviously a major player on the cutback to 6 furlongs here, but this is a much tougher field than the one she beat last time and I’m concerned that she may be overbet. Cupid’s Heart could also take some money following her impressive debut victory last month at Belmont. She completely missed the start that day and did well to make up ground while going wide before pulling away in the stretch. This is obviously a talented filly, but I wonder if she’ll ultimately be better going longer than this. She needs to break better and run a more professional race this time, because she was beating a pretty weak field in her debut. My top pick is Makin My Move. This filly won her debut very impressively at Saratoga, showing easy speed away from the gate before drawing off with authority in the second half of the race. They tried turf next time, since she does have some pedigree for that surface. However, she got involved in a quick pace and couldn’t quite get there. Though she did hang on gamely for fourth, arguably taking a step forward. I don’t mind the transition back to dirt, and she should play out as the main speed from the outside.