Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
As we come down off the high of a beautiful Breeders’ Cup weekend, its time to get back to reality and to the grind. My brain felt a bit scrambled (Breeders’ Cup hangover) as I went about my business of breaking down this card, but hopefully through the fog in my mind we doped out a few winners. Saturday’s card is highlighted by the Grade 3 Long Island Handicap for fillies and mares, three and up, and we have a pretty evenly matched field of fillies in here. It should be a pretty interesting race. The late Pick 4 action kicks off with a nice overnight stakes, let’s start there.
Race 6: The Summer Secretary Stakes, for three year old fillies, I found to be a tricky way to begin this Pick 4. At first glance, it seems like a two horse race. Chad Brown’s charges of Wave Theory and Watsdachances should be able to get the job done for him in here. They have been running against better company and may just tower over this field. On the other hand though, these two have burned a ton of money, particularly my money. They always appear like they are a good fit and will run well, and then they settle for minor awards. Wave Theory did catch a little breather though and came back to chalk up a win in a N1X at Belmont. Perhaps this was a confidence booster, maybe she just needed a little break and now the kinks have been worked out. As for Watsdachances, she is coming in off a short break and is dropping out of a Grade 1 for this. They will both be on my ticket, but I will use a little back up as well. I am going to take a shot with Christophe Clemente’s Maximova. She is coming in off a layoff and is dropping out of the Grade 2 Lake George up at The Spa. She is a wildcard to me, but I will give her a shot to spice this Pick 4 up a little. The last one that made the cut for me is Graham Motion’s Cat’s Holiday. I am not crazy about her post, she is breaking from the 13-hole, but I feel as though we have not seen this one’s best yet. She always seems to get in to trouble, but the talent is there. I am thinking it may just shine through today.
I am against all the speeds in here. In fact, I believe the pace may get pretty hot jeopardizing all of their chances. I considered some closers in Frege, Frosty Bay, With Sugar On Top, and Sense to Compete. But in the end I think they may be a cut below the ones I labeled top contenders. Another I am totally against is Teen Pauline, I thought she had a nice trip in her last and just could not deliver.
Race 7: I am going to single in this leg with McCarren Park. She is coming in third off the layoff, she drew well, and she has the speed and the figs that should suit her well in this spot today. She is 2/2 at The Big A and I believe she is going to run really well. The one I will be scared of is Queen Mercury for Bruce Levine. She is coming into this second off the claim and is adding blinkers while Javier Castellano jumps aboard. Maybe Levine can turn her around, but the fact remains that she is 2/20 lifetime. That stat helped give me confidence to single the one that I did. Ones I will be using underneath in vertical exotics will be Caution Sign, Score Boyera, and the bomb Giving Me Fitz. I did consider Score Boyera for top honors, but I feel as though this will be won from closer to the pace than she will be.
Race 8: The Feature this afternoon is the Grade 3 Long Island Handicap and it is a doozy. I have no strong opinion on who will win this thing and I am going four deep. I will be using Anjaz, Aigue Marine, Tabreed, and Strathnaver. Anjaz and Strathnaver are the two I consider my top picks. They have both run decent in graded company. Anjaz ran well in a couple of Grade 2’s and Strathnaver has a Grade 3 win on his resume. Tabreed is getting a class test today. Was his win at Keeneland last out legit, or was it a result of enjoying a turf course that was labeled good? I am not going to let him beat me today so he made the cut for the Pick 4. Aigue Marine will round out my foursome. She is coming in off of a layoff for Christophe Clemente and she has been working well for her return. She has shown ability in the past and if she’s ready she may just run by them all today.
I am against Inimitable Romanee, Left a Message, White Rose, and Sheppard’s Pie. Inimitable Romanee is a money incinerator coming out of state-bred races. I am way against her to win, but she may just hit the board at a huge price. Left a Message’s last race I did not care for at all, and I think Sheppard’s Pie is in over her head today. As for White Rose, I am a little torn on this one. I didn’t like her last race at all. I know she did race wide and it that it was in Grade 1 company, I just thought she would have run a little bit better. With that said, Bill Mott scares me. The guy knows what he’s doing and where to spot his horses. I can’t blame you if you want use her but I am going to take my chances and leave her out.
Race 9: The finale is Linda Rice’s to lose I believe. She has two in here, Alarmed Ndangerous and Adirondack Dancer, and I believe they are the horses to beat. Both have shown success in the state-bred ranks while clearing two allowance conditions apiece. They face straight N1X runners in here and I think they will be more than up to the task. The other one I may toss in as well is North Star Boy. He is coming in off a short layoff, gets the services of Javier Castellano, and may be able to work himself out a nice trip while breaking from the rail.
The two notable horses I am against in here are Mr. Jenney and Fortify. Mr. Jenney is coming in off a short layoff after a nice maiden score at Belmont. He has a shot, but I just feel that this is a pretty tough field to face in your first start verses winners. As for Fortify, he is being asked an awful lot after a long layoff. He has never raced on turf and he has never won going two turns. What makes him scary though is he is getting Lasix for the first time, has been working like a champ in the morning, and he’s trained by the very sharp Kiaran McLaughlin. Still, this is a tall task and I will let him beat me today if he is indeed good enough to do so. A couple of long shots to consider for underneath use are Finn’s Quest and Image of Disco. Both are good enough to get a piece of this in my humble opinion.
The Play: Fifty cent Pick 4 will cost $24: I will be using 2-5-10-13 with 9 with 2-3-4-6 with 1-8-10.
As always, I hope I helped strengthen your opinions or turned you onto something you may not have thought of. Have a winning day everybody. Good luck and good vibes being sent your way. Enjoy the races, folks.