RACE 3: BAVARIAN CREME (#7)
The Bond entry could go favored here with many regarding Talenti as the stronger half. She debuted over this distance last month and showed good early speed before fading to second behind her stablemate. However, she was likely aided by the speed-favoring nature of the Jan. 2 surface, a track that also helped horses riding the rail, as she was. She was flattered when her winning barnmate Gallina returned to beat winners next time out, but she’s also going to take money here due to the rider upgrade to Trevor McCarthy. Between the Bond runners, I actually prefer Lucky Girl. Her return from the layoff was somewhat disappointing, as she failed to get involved. She was inside early over a rail-biased Jan. 13 surface, but was trying to rally outside through the lane. Six furlongs may have been on the short side for her, and she will appreciate the slight stretch-out. Mark Hennig also has a pair of fillies in this spot who are uncoupled. Juliana’s Rose was wildly overbet when she went off as the 4-5 favorite last time in the same race as Talenti. She couldn’t get the 7 furlongs that day, though she was wide against a rail bias. She has a right to do better, but I prefer Hennig’s other runner. Bavarian Creme ran deceptively well in her career debut on Jan. 13. That day featured a strong rail bias and she was chasing outside the entire way, going 3-wide on the turn before proceeding in the 2-path through the stretch. She did fade in the late stages, but so did most horses who chased outside in surrounding races on that card. She was clearly well-intentioned that day and should be highly competitive here if able to reproduce that form over a fair surface.
RACE 5: SUDDEN IMPULSE (#9)
This race figures to get reduced by one entrant with Linny Kate entered back on Saturday. However, it is still a competitive affair with little trustworthy form. Summary Judgment may go favored off her field-best 96 TimeformUS Speed Figure going this distance two back when she broke her maiden. However, it’s hard to completely reconcile the drop-off from that race to her last start against winners. She was ambitiously spotted at the $40k level, but that was a pretty weak field. The surface on Jan. 16 was biased towards rail runners and she was outside, but she still weakened very readily. She’s obviously dangerous, but I didn’t want to take her at a short price. Hey It’s Tati also makes some sense and she figures to go off at bigger odds. This filly ran pretty well two back on Dec. 31 when she was wide against a rail bias, finishing well ahead of today’s rival Infringement. She then returned last time going this one-mile distance and was again wide on a rail-biased day. She’s in better form than it appears. Yet I’m getting a little more creative with my top pick. Sudden Impulse doesn’t look so appealing at first glance, but it’s worth picking apart her form a little. She obviously wasn’t much at the start of her career, but she was improving for James Chapman last year. She put forth her best ever dirt effort on Apr. 18 last year when she absolutely dropped to her knees at the start before running on mildly late. She subsequently ran on turf multiple times and landed in Amira Chichackly’s barn. Her only recent dirt race came against a significantly better field on Nov. 12. And she actually showed some signs of life stretching out on turf last time when splitting the field at 106-1. I get that she looks like more of a turf type, but I think she deserves a chance on dirt at this lower level. She’s also going to be a generous price in a race where I’m not afraid of the favorites.
RACE 8: BEACH BOY AL (#7)
Eminency is obviously the horse to beat as he makes his third career start. He did disappoint as the even-money favorite last time when unable to get the job done after working out a decent trip. Despite that regression, this colt showed ability in his debut, in which he took a good late run at talented winner Agility. Third-place finisher Impressionist returned from that race to win his next start impressively, and the same was expected of Eminency. Now he adds blinkers and gets a rider upgrade to Trevor McCarthy. Yet the latter of those two changes will just ensure that he’s a short price once again, and he faces some others worth considering who exit that same Jan. 9 race. The one that I prefer is second time starter Beach Boy Al. This gelding made his debut in that common race last time and arguably ran a better race than Eminency despite finishing just behind that rival. He contested the early lead and engaged in a battle with third-place finisher Raw Courage a long way out from the wire. Beach Boy Al actually surged to the lead in mid-stretch, but understandably got leg-weary late. The early pace of that 7-furlong affair was fast, and it took its toll on this horse in the late stages. Now he stretches out for his second start and should have gained some needed fitness from the debut run. He may have to deal with the early speed of Pineapple Man to his outside, but Beach Boy Al didn’t seem like a horse who necessarily needed the lead in his debut. I’d also use He’s Got It and State Planning from that same race. He’s Got It handled the transition to dirt and stayed on mildly, whereas State Planning obviously has room for improvement after blowing the start and racing very greenly.