When Cloud Computing ran down Classic Empire in the final strides of the Preakness, the 13-1 longshot provided trainer Chad Brown with his first career victory on the Triple Crown trail. Brown will attempt another improbable upset when he sends out Twisted Tom (20-1 morning line) in the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes Saturday evening. Continue reading
Happy Belmont Stakes Day! The final leg of the Triple Crown will be contested later this evening over Belmont Park’s 1 1/2 Mile oval, and although neither the Kentucky Derby nor Preakness winners will be in attendance, the race has shaped up to be highly competitive. Continue reading
On Belmont-eve, we are treated to an 11-race card rife with exciting betting opportunities, including five stakes races and an all-graded stakes late pick four. Without further ado, let’s dive right in. Continue reading
Happy Preakness day! Later this evening Always Dreaming will burst out of the gate trying to become a dual-classic winner. If successful, it will set up an exciting three-week leadup to the Belmont Stakes. With a local ownership group behind a horse going for the Triple Crown, the Belmont would surely be a can’t-miss event. However, nine challengers stand in their way, so it is sure to be a challenging task.
Without further ado, here are my picks and analysis for the full 14-race card at Pimlico, including the 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes in race 13. Best of luck!
Best Bet: #5 Pretty Perfection, Race 5
Longshot of the day: #8 Nice Tune, Race 2
Race 1: 1-6-5-2
#1 CONNEMARA COAST came off the pace for the first time in a while to capture a second-place finish last time out at this level. In the money four of five times at Pimlico, and the only horse in the field to own a prior win over the course. #6 KAITAIN may be more involved early with the addition of blinkers. Back to dirt today after a turf trip last time out. #5 SPRING QUALITY has had major gaps in-between races, but will now string together three in a row. #2 GHOST BAY stretches back out after a try sprinting over turf. Should be on the scene late at a solid price.
Race 2: 8-6-4
#8 NICE TUNE owns a number of turf races that fit with this group and has often encountered trouble in those spins. Could improve with a clean trip and should offer a solid price, even after key scratches. #6 GREY FOX has hit the exacta in both tries over the Pimlico course, but may need a race off the layoff. #4 KEEP TALKING faces older horses for the first time. Geroux sticks to end the jockey carousel, and hits at 32% with trainer Proctor.
Race 3: 8-5-1-6
#8 FLIGHT PATTERN has done well at the distance, and should come running late. #5 MORAL HIGH GROUND has done great at Pimlico, owning six exacta finishes from nine career local starts. #1 DESERT PRINESS returns to the turf, where she has been consistent Beyer-wise. #6 SEEING’N’BELIEVING should push the pace and has a chance to get loose on the lead while getting back to the turf for the first time this year.
Race 4: 2-5-3-7
#2 SUPER DUDE battled back in the stretch to score in his debut, which was at a mile. Barn keeps runners in good form, but this guy must tackle winners for the first time today. #5 DHARMASTER has improved along the Beyer scale every start of his career, wasn’t far behind a multiple stakes winner last time out. #3 JAMMINWITHBRANDON raced well vs. winners last time out, but gave up the lead late after tracking a heated pace. #7 CONFEDERATE tired at longer against the Derby winner two back. Now back to a more comfortable distance.
Race 5: 5-6-10-2
#5 PRETTY PERFECTION should come rolling late after sitting behind what projects to be a torrid pace. Caught exceptionally wide last time out, but should rebound today. #6 ANIMAL APPEAL should be the at the top of that early charge. Is used to carrying her speed longer, so should appreciate this 5-furlong trip. Comes off the layoff, but trainer Englehart hits at 30% off the break. #10 ROYAL RENEGE could benefit from the early pace scenario, but has run well at this distance and should be a fair value. #2 EVERYTHING LOVELY was run down by the top choice last time out, and makes her second start of the year today.
Race 6: 1-15-9-10-6
#1 JOSE SEA VIEW’s better races have come over the turf, and he should enjoy today’s inside position. #15 BARNEY REBEL draws in on the far outside, but shouldn’t mind the position with his plodding style. In the money all three times at Pimlico. #9 RACETRACK ROMANCE gets back to the turf, where he has enjoyed some past success. Should track the pace throughout. #10 NORTH OCEAN tries the green for the first time after 42 career starts, but should be able to take to it as a son of Street Cry. #6 HERE’S JOHNNY drops off the claim. Pace factor, but this may be pushing his distance limits.
Race 7: 1-8-7-5
#1 THREE RULES owns a tactical foot, but has speed to flash from this inside post. Five for nine in his career, now returns to a sprint after pushing the pace along the Derby trail. #8 THEORY looked stellar breaking his maiden first time out by 5 1/2 at Saratoga last summer, but has tailed off since. Should appreciate the return to this six-furlong distance. #7 RECRUITING READY paired up 95 Beyers in his last two. Has kept good company in his career, but must repeat those max-efforts today. #5 PROFORMA should get a strong pace to track today, but must come home quicker to grab a piece today.
Race 8: 6-10-4-2
#6 YOSHIDA just broke his maiden off the layoff, but Mott sees fit to try him in this spot. Tactical runner, and don’t doubt the Hall of Fame trainer. #10 ADONIS CREED improved with the addition of blinkers last time out, and now adds the services of Velazquez. Barn keeps runners in good form. #4 DOVER CLIFFS should sit just behind the leaders and pounce at the right time with Ortiz aboard. #2 TOTAL TAP gets back to the turf and should benefit from today’s pace scenario.
Race 9 (The Maryland Sprint – Grade 3): 4-5-6-3
#4 A.P. INDIAN should improve second off the layoff, and when in top form he his one of the best sprinters in the country. Owns five wins from eight starts at this six-furlong distance. #5 WHITMORE should sit just behind the frontrunners early and get first run on the closers. At the top of his game this year. #6 HOLY BOSS was no match for Whitmore in his last two, but if able to regain his top form would be able to factor here. #3 NEVER GONE SOUTH gets back to the dirt after a turf tuneup last time out. Was at the top of his game before that, but needs his very best today.
Race 10 (The Gallorette – Grade 3): 2-7-6-10
#2 ZIPESSA is probably better-suited to this shorter distance. Tired last time out at Belmont, but likely needed that one off the winter break. Should be on the pace early and throughout today. #7 ELYSEA’S WORLD is in her best form for Chad Brown, but must close the gap with 1/16 less ground than normal. #6 ON LEAVE makes her first start off the winter layoff, but should be another on the scene late. #10 CAMBODIA goes second off the layoff and faces a class test here, but will try to get first run on the closers.
Race 11: 9-2-5-1
#9 TIME TO TRAVEL adds lasix for the first time today. Should push the pace after facing the Peter Pan exacta finishers earlier this spring. #2 HEDGE FUND has improved along the Beyer scale each start this year. Just nipped at the wire last time out against one of today’s Preakness runners. #5 NO MO DOUGH has encountered trouble in all three career starts. Should get a solid clip to run at today and could improve with a clean trip. #1 HONOR THE FLEET has won two in a row, but was the odds-on favorite in both. Faces a class test today.
Race 12 (The Dixie – Grade 2): 10-4-7-8
#10 RING WEEKEND nearly won this event off a year-long layoff last year. Sometimes breaks slow, but regains Velazquez today. PROJECTED bested a pair of next-out winners last time out. Owns a strong tactical foot and hopes Rosario times the move right again. BLACKTYPE should come running late with Ortiz aboard. In the money all six times at this distance, with three wins. CATAPULT faces a class test, but has been improved ever since the addition of blinkers. Castellano takes up the mount, and he’s 2-for-3 aboard.
Race 13 (The Preakness – Grade 1): 5-9-1-10
#5 CLASSIC EMPIRE endured a brutal trip in the Derby, slammed at the start and pushed out again in the stretch while covered in mud throughout. With drying conditions in store and a field half the size today, Classic Empire turns the tables and captures the second jewel of the Triple Crown. #9 LOOKIN AT LEE was the only horse to make up ground in the Derby stretch, but did so along a wide open rail. I don’t think that move was all due to the path, as he closed in from the back of the pack. Less ground to cover today, but likely a better position for this determined runner. #1 MULTIPLIER would benefit greatly from an early speed duel between Always Dreaming and Conquest Mo Money. We’ll get a solid idea of how he might run today based on how Illinois Derby runner-up Hedge Fund does in today’s 11th race, so I may adjust his position based on that outcome. Any improvement gets him in the mix at a huge price, and the pilot switch to Rosario doesn’t hurt. #10 CONQUEST MO MONEY should once again flash his speed from the outside. The outcome of the race will hinge on how the horses are placed headed into the first turn, but Conquest Mo Money is the most likely early leader. Whether Always Dreaming pushes the pace alongside is another question, but the Derby winner is likely not to have a clear trip on the lead again today. Distance is the only question for Conquest Mo Money, but this tenacious runner should be in the picture at fair odds.
Race 14: 8-4-9
#8 CLASSIC WILDCAT should get a great pace setup today. Loves the Pimlico track, owning a five-for-eight record over the course. #4 RISKY GUY has often broken slow, but should be a contender here with a clean trip. #9 HUNGER came back to win off the three year layoff. New trainer hits at 20% off the claim.
Derby day is finally here!
After months of waiting, we will finally crown a new Kentucky Derby champion this evening, elevating one of 20 horses to the national spotlight in pursuit of the first Triple Crown since…well…2015. Good thing we don’t have to worry about that drought again for a while. Continue reading
After a long hiatus, I’m back with a full analysis of the 14-race Derby day card at Churchill Downs. As Triple Crown season is finally upon us, I hope to update the site with picks whenever I have the opportunity to handicap, but certainly on major race days throughout the spring and into summer.
For an in-depth horse-by-horse look at the Kentucky Derby, check out my separate post here.
Without further ado, here is a look at the full Churchill card. Best of luck!
Best Bet: #5, Finest City, Race 6
Value Play of the Day: #6 Arklow, Race 9 (12-1 Morning Line)
Race 1: 4-7-3
#4 WHOLEHEARTED will see the dirt for the second time, and should like the mile distance of this event. #7 GULF VIEW should flash speed early and picks up Rosario third time out for McGaughey after having some time off. #3 SEVENTH TEE debuts for Brian Lynch, who hits at 14% with new runners. turned in an upbeat work 4/20 and gets Castellano aboard.
Race 2: 6-7-4-2
#6 UNDERPRESSURE has won thrice and hit the exacta another two from six starts. Qualifies for this event because two wins have come against state-bred company. Should be rolling late. #7 SALUTE WITH HONOR has turned in two upbeat works in preparation for this. Took a step forward first time in Casse barn last time out. #4 AWESOME SATURDAY goes second off the short layoff for Calhoun, a 23% move. Style could benefit from the extra ground he’ll get here, and he’s the hunch bet of the day thanks to the name. #2 DONWELL’s best efforts have come on dirt. Gets Rosario back, but faces winners for the first time today.
Race 3: 6-5-8-7
#6 IDOLO PORTENO returns for his second race after a nearly year-long layoff after being no match for Noble Bird but being well clear for second in that event. Expect improvement. #5 ROCKET TIME faces a tougher crowd today, but turned in a bullet work last week and is 3 for 5 over the Churchill surface. Blinkers on a 36% move for trainer Stall. #8 MO TOM gets some class relief and also adds blinkers, a move with which trainer Amoss scores 32% of the time. Reunites with Castellano, who was aboard for this guy’s last win. #7 DONEGAL MOON returns for his second raid since being laid up last June. Expect a return to form today.
Race 4: 6-5-1-2
#6 PERFECT PARTNER put in a big rally in his debut and should take to the extra ground as a son of Curlin. #5 SOUPER FLY OVER must settle early in his first test going long. Owns the field’s top last-out Beyer figure. #1 CAVIAR CZAR has caught live fields in both career races. Should take to the added ground, #2 ZAEVION has had trouble at the break in both starts thus far. Should improve if those issues are cleared up.
Race 5: 10-1-5-11
#10 WAR ENVOY’s best efforts have come going long over the turf. Owns a tactical foot, sitting behind strong paces in his last two events. #1 FORGE returns second time off the layoff for Mott. Got lasix for the first time in his last event at Keeneland, where he came flying late. Expect the same today. #5 SIR DUDLEY DIGGES turned in his top Beyer figure last time out and will need to repeat that to win here. #11 HOCKEY SCHOOL projects as one of the main pacesetters. Just set a new Beyer top last time out, and retains Castellano aboard.
Race 6 – The Humana Distaff (G1): 5-2-7-6
#5 FINEST CITY reunites with Mike Smith and should be running from the gun. Upbeat workout pattern, and has shown an ability to duel for the lead. #2 PAULASSILVERLINING returns second off the winter layoff after winning the Grade 1 Madison. Should be on the heels of the leaders early. #7 CARINA MIA has been working well for her return from the winter layoff. Owns a perfect 2 for 2 record at Churchill Downs. #6 LIGHTSTREAM gains the services of Castellano. Needs top effort to factor today, but could be the one running them down in the lane if the pace is too quick.
Race 7 – The Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2): 3-1-6-7
#3 HILLHOUSE HIGH brings speed to the equation. Faces the biggest class test of her career, but gets Castellano to guide her. #1 LINDA won her lone try at Churchill late last year. Goes second off the layoff for Wilkes with a bullet work in tow. Never out of the money since being moved to turf. #6 ROCA ROJO has hit the exacta in 6 of 7 career starts, with five wins. Returns from the layoff for top turf barn after being nosed by top choice in December. #7 HARMONIZE is one of a few looking to come off the pace in here. Class-tested and adds Jose Ortiz today.
RACE 8 – The Pat Day Mile (G3): 8-5-9-1
#8 WILD SHOT has faced Kentucky Derby contenders in his last five events. Hit the exacta both times over the Churchill surface, and should enjoy the turnback to a mile. #5 NO DOZING nearly won the Lexington last time out despite trouble on the turn. Graded stakes tested, and should benefit from the pace scenario. #9 EXCITATIONS faces a class test, but jockey Mena comes along for the ride. Favored in all four lifetime races, narrowly lost to Derby contender Girvin in career debut. #1 LOCAL HERO could live up to his name as a Kentucky-bred. Has had some issues at the break, but should enjoy the mile trip.
Race 9 – The American Turf (G2): 6-4-1-10
#6 ARKLOW faces winners for the first time, but was much improved when moved to the turf. Loses Castellano, but gains Mike Smith. Trainer Brad Cox is 31% with horses aiming to repeat, so further improvement from his latest try isn’t out of the question. #4 OSCAR PERFORMANCE carries in a number of positive angles, first time lasix and second off the layoff for trainer Brian Lynch. #1 HOLIDAY STONE also receives lasix for the first time. Starts from the rail for the third time in seven career races, hung on the outside for three others. Reunites with jockey Lezcano. #10 GOOD SAMARITAN should appreciate the added real estate today. Returns off the winter layoff for trainer Bill Mott.
Race 10 – The Churchill Downs (G2): 8-2-12-1
#8 EL KABEIR turned in a career effort when coming off the pace in a 7 furlong event last time out. That was his first in the Mott barn, and he may be headed for a career turnaround. Put in an upbeat work May 1. #2 MASOCHISTIC is speedy, and proven at the distance owning three wins and one place from four career starts at 7 furlongs. #12 DENMAN’S CALL got the better of Masochistic last time out, and would love to track a heated pace again today. #1 AWESOME SLEW runs second time off the layoff for trainer Mark Casse. Should come running late.
Race 11 – The Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1): 6-8-4-2
#6 BAL A BALI tracked a heated pace last time out and retains Castellano. May be pushing distance limits today, but has been working long in preparation for this. #8 BEACH PATROL appears to be at the top of his game for top turf trainer Chad Brown. Four of last five starts have come in Grade 1 events. #4 CONQUEST PANTHERA has improved along the Beyer scale every race of his career. Expected to closely track the leaders, must cover the added furlong today. Reunites with jockey Lezcano, who was aboard for his last win. #2 DIVISIDERO won this event last year, but could not get up in time in an allowance prep event last month. A perfect 2 for 2 at Churchill, and remains a threat.
Race 12 – The Kentucky Derby (G1): 1-15-16-14
#1 LOOKIN AT LEE ran through about every lane on the Oaklawn track while finishing third in the Arkansas Derby, but when finally clear picked up steam like a freight train. With the pace scenario murky, his ability to close may be compromised but he should be able to navigate traffic and brush off trouble. The 1 post is an obvious disadvantage, but not a killer with his style. Lookin for him to get clear in the stretch and make an honest run at the wire. #15 MCCRAKEN is a perfect 3 for 3 at Churchill Downs, a figure which can’t be overlooked. I’m willing to be the Blue Grass ends up being an anomaly and fully expect the top two in that event to finish well behind that day’s third, fourth, and fifth finishers on Saturday. This guy was undefeated heading into that event, but never kicked in despite getting clear behind Irap’s slow pace in the stretch. Expecting he’ll work out a better trip and show that extra gear in the Derby. #16 TAPWRIT also exits the disappointing Blue Grass, but broke slow and raced wide throughout that event. Had improved along the Beyer scale every race before that, and a return to that pattern puts him right in the mix. Must avoid getting caught wide again, but he could be the one to benefit most from a wet surface, already having won a minor stakes in the slop as a 2 year old. #14 CLASSIC EMPIRE will likely be one of the top two betting choices and owns a 2 for 2 record at Churchill Downs. Juvenile champion got a clear path on the outside to win the Arkansas Derby and should be able to work out a clean trip with buffers from the speeds to his inside and outside.
Race 13: 1A-8-3-2
#1A HARD SCRAMBLE faces winners for the first time after breaking his maiden in impressive fashion at Oaklawn park. This #320,000 purchase should do well as a sprinter. #8 ROCKIN RUDY was in over his head in the Arkansas Derby, and lands in a more suitable event here. Should gun it from the bell, but has to show there’s enough left in the tank after a taxing try on the Derby trail. #3 STAR EMPIRE is listed a new gelding, and reunites with John Velazquez, who was aboard for the debut win. Should be able to track a sizzling pace. #2 VISIONARY TALE faces winners for the first time, and aims to push the pace from the inside post.
Race 14: 11-9-4-14
#11 WICKED MACHO is the “other” Mark Casse runner in here, debuting with a series of solid workouts in tow. Castellano sticks around for the finale, but this guy must overcome the outside draw. #9 UNK has been away for over a year, but the works show he is ready to get back to the track. Likely could use a race, but he is the lone 4 year old facing 3 year olds in the main body of the field. #4 SOUPER WISH is Casse’s favored runner. Speightstown colt narrowly missed when tracking a hot pace in the debut and should factor again today, albeit at a short price. #14 LIKEITLIKETHAT draws in on the outside, and should be a pace factor with blinkers added. Traffic trouble last time out, must break alertly today.
The summer has gone by in the blink of an eye, as we have suddenly come upon the final day in the 2016 Saratoga meet. There will be plenty of time for reflection on all the spectacular moments we have been graced with over past few weeks, but for now let’s enjoy the final slate of races at the Spa this summer.
Today’s card is headlined by two graded stakes: the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch for older turf runners, and the Grade 1 Hopeful for two year olds. With all the great moments we’ve witnessed, perhaps the emergence of a future Kentucky Derby runner will be the cap to another stellar meet. Best of luck!
Best Bet: #4 Vandalize, Race 7
Value Play: #1 Modern Lady, Race 5 (12-1 Morning Line)
Race 1 – Claiming, 3 YO & Upward, 6 Furlongs (Dirt)
#5 AMERICAN CREED was caught wide vs. some of these last time out. Can improve second time off the layoff with a clean trip and take advantage of a strong early pace. #1 GAMBLER’S GHOST can leave these in his dust with a top effort, but projects to be one of a few on the early lead while breaking from the inside post.
#5 American Creed 6-1
#1 Gambler’s Ghost 7-5
Race 2 – Maiden Special Weight, Fillies 2 YO State-bred, 7 Furlongs (Dirt)
#7 MINI MEGAN debuts for Rudy, who can never be discounted with his first-time starters, particularly with Irad aboard. #8 BREE’S GOT HEART showed a lot of heart with a strong closing move in her debut, just missing by a nose. Can improve with the experience behind her and getting onto a dry track. #5 MOONDANCE is an $800,000 purchase debuting for Kiaran McLaughlin. Malibu Moon has been a strong influence for debut winners, and Velazquez has had success with limited starters for these connections. #2 SWING AND SWAY went for more than 10 times the sire’s stud fee at auction. Dam has produced a number of winners already.
#7 Mini Megan 7-2
#8 Bree’s Got Heart 6-1
#5 Moondance 3-1
#2 Swing and Sway 4-1
Race 3 – Maiden Special Weight, 2 YO, 1 1/16 Miles (Mellon Turf)
#3 J.S. CHOICE was troubled in the debut, but has every right to improve with that experience behind him. #8 MAJESTIC TOM started from the far outside post in his debut, and can get in the mix with a better trip on the stretchout. #2 PANAMA PAPERS has two races under his belt, but defeated a runner last time out who returned with an effort that would stand up strongly in this heat. #5 DATA ROOM debuts for the top turf barn of Chad Brown, who has had an historic Saratoga meet.
#3 J.S. Choice 7-2
#8 Majestic Tom 6-1
#2 Panama Papers 3-1
#5 Data Room 9-2
Race 4 – Allowance, Fillies and Mares 3 YO & Up State-bred, 6 Furlongs (Dirt)
#5 WOODVILLE wasted no time breaking her maiden, doing so in impressive fashion early in this meet. A return to that effort fits well in this spot, but it is always a challenge facing winners for the first time. #3 SABRINA BALLERINA took a big step back in her first effort against winners, but if she can get back on track, can get in the mix today. #1 SING FOR BEAUTY should show early speed from the inside post. Exits the same heat as Sabrina Ballerina, but didn’t fade as badly.
#5 Woodville 8-5
#3 Sabrina Ballerina 9-2
#1 Sing For Beauty 3-1
Race 5 – Claiming, Fillies and Mares 3 YO & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (Inner Turf)
#1 MODERN LADY returns to the turf for the first time since June off the claim by Linda Rice. Was troubled at the quarter pole in that effort, and broke her maiden from the rail this spring. #4 DEGREES OF FREEDOM drops to claiming ranks for Chad Brown. Should be tough second off the layoff. #11 CANDIDA is another making her first start off the Rice claim, but this one gets go-to rider Jose Ortiz aboard. #5 SWEET ELLA got a feel for the course last time out, edging one of today’s rivals. Can be competitive in this spot with a repeat effort.
#1 Modern Lady 12-1
#4 Degrees of Freedom 5-2
#11 Candida 8-1
#5 Sweet Ella 7-2
Race 6 – Maiden Special Weight, Fillies 2 YO, 1 1/16 Miles (Mellon Turf)
#4 STARR BEAR defeated two next-out winners in her debut. Also makes the switch to turf while stretching out. #9 NEW MONEY HONEY is the second daughter of Medaglia d’Oro in this field. Debuts for the sizzling Chad Brown. #11 MY SWEET STELLA draws in for D. Wayne Lukas. Soundly defeated first time on the turf, but turned out to be a loaded field. Could show speed from the outside. #7 LA CORONEL stretches way out while getting on the turf. Switches to Geroux for this third career start.
#4 Starr Bear 9-2
#9 New Money Honey 7-2
#11 My Sweet Stella 8-1
#7 La Coronel 5-1
Race 7 – Claiming, 3 YO & Up, 6 Furlongs (Dirt)
#4 VANDALIZE came off the year-plus layoff to score in a maiden claiming spot for Pletcher downstate this spring. Faces winners for the first time, but in two career starts has posted Beyer figures the rest of the field has been unable to approach. #10 ROMAN REVIVAL should be able to work out a steady stalking trip from this outside post. Irad Ortiz remains aboard. #1 HOUSE OF FRIENDS drops to this bottom level while switching back to the main track for the first time since his debut. #3 TEXT ME drops down the ladder. Speed figures are light, but owns plenty of excuses, and may show a new dimension with a return to a dry track. Trainer Falcone has had success with limited starters this meet.
#4 Vandalize 8-5
#10 Roman Revival 7-2
#1 House of Friends 10-1
#3 Text Me 30-1
Race 8 – Allowance Optional Claiming, 3 YO & Up State-bred, 1 1/16 Miles (Inner Turf)
#3 UNCLE SIGH may be saddled with a case of seconditis, but he has run well in four starts on the lawn, and you figure he has to break through at some point. Second off the layoff for Mott, a 21% move. #5 HURRY UP ALAN has had his fair share of trouble, but this hot claim item has run consistent figures that fit well in this field. #8 DREAM DOCTOR projects to sit just off the early pace and make first run on the closers. Could offer some value on the board. #11 MAKE A DECISION enters a state-bred affair for the first time since last fall, a race where he ended up in the winner’s circle. Projects to sit just off the early pace from this outside position.
#3 Uncle Sigh 7-2
#5 Hurry Up Alan 12-1
#8 Dream Doctor 8-1
#11 Make a Decision 3-1
Race 9 – Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap, 3 YO & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (Mellon Turf)
#8 JAY GATSBY just missed in a restricted spot last time out. In career form and enters this second off the layoff. Reunited with Castellano for this graded stakes try. #1 TAKE THE STAND tries an easier spot after running in the Arlington Million off the layoff. Mott hits at 21% second off the layoff and Prado is in to ride. #2 RING WEEKEND has returned from the long layoff with a pair of strong efforts. Troubled here in the Fourstardave, and must be taken seriously. #5 TAKEOVER TARGET may be at his best with some give in the ground, but is no slouch on a firm turf. Returns to the guidance of Jose Ortiz, who rode him to a win in the Hill Prince downstate last fall.
#8 Jay Gatsby 9-2
#1 Take the Stand (ARG) 5-1
#2 Ring Weekend 5-2
#5 Takeover Target 3-1
Race 10 – Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes, 2 YO, 7 Furlongs (Dirt)
#6 CLASSIC EMPIRE was much improved when getting over a dry surface in his second career start, winning the Bashford Manor at Churchill earlier this summer. Started from the rail in both starts, so the move outside could even help him further. #4 BITUMEN impressed in both career starts, taking the Sanford on opening weekend, a local leadup to this event. Has been working forwardly in preparation for this. #5 ROYAL COPY has improved in each start for D. Wayne Lukas, but faces winners for the first time. Must improve along the Beyer scale again to get in the mix for the top spot. #2 PRACTICAL JOKE won his debut by open lengths. Brown is not known for his dirt runners in graded stakes, but this one could change the narrative.
#6 Classic Empire 5-2
#4 Bitumen 2-1
#5 Royal Copy 8-1
#2 Practical Joke 3-1
Race 11 – Maiden Special Weight, Fillies and Mares 3 YO & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Inner Turf)
#7 MY KINDA DEVIL was caught behind a sluggish pace last time out. The Clement barn has heated up in the final stages of the meet, and this one handled a next-out winner in her last race. #5 ABOVE THE MARK has improved in every start, and benefitted from the addition of Lasix in latest. Top turf jockey aboard. #2 BLENHEIM PALACE takes to the turf for the first time. This daughter of Medaglia d’Oro should be able to handle the surface switch as she makes her fourth career start for McGaughey. #12 MA CAN DO IT remains a maiden, despite hitting the board in multiple graded stakes. Returns to the turf for the first time since last fall where she wasn’t disgraced. Interesting if the form carries over surfaces.
#7 My Kinda Devil 5-1
#5 Above the Mark 6-1
#2 Blenheim Palace 10-1
#12 Ma Can Do It 15-1