Friday 5: Indian Pride gets favorable pace in Raven Run

October 18, 2019 12:49pm
Friday 5: Indian Pride gets favorable pace in Raven Run
Photo: NYRA Photo
Keeneland's dirt surface feels like one of the trickier ones to analyze. On a good amount of days, the rail seems half dead as the same three or four-wide move wins races, while on other days the inside speed holds.

In the Grade 2, $250,000 Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday, hopefully the inside speed performs well as the initial selection below is dependent on a dirt surface that ranges from fair or unbiased to speed-biased.

Keeneland Race 9: Raven Run Stakes (G2)

According to TimeformUS Pace Projector, the promising Chad Brown-trained filly Indian Pride is set to lead this field uncontested through a slow pace.

Indian Pride only owns one start, but she impressed with an eight-length victory to break her maiden at Saratoga with a 112 TimeformUS Speed Figure. While a few others already hit 112, for a first timer that is fast.

Also, consider that Indian Pride earned her big speed figure under a handride. She is likely to move forward with a higher number.

The only slight concern is Free Cover, who is capable of hooking Indian Pride into a speed duel. But in Free Cover's last two starts, she ran as a stalker.

If Keeneland dirt is fair, expect Indian Pride (7/2) to get sent and win.

Keeneland Race 3: Optional Claimer

After setting the pace in the Dogwood Stakes (G3), Take Charge Angel faded to fifth by 14 lengths. But in fairness, the expected Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint favorite Covfefe won by eight lengths after following her.

When a lower-class pacesetter is pressed by an elite horse, the leading horse feels it and sometimes completely folds after getting passed. Granted, Take Charge Angel only lost to Covfefe by a half-length in April, but it is a different story now. Covfefe developed into a monster sprinter.

In this spot, Take Charge Angel cuts back to six furlongs and gets a soft, uncontested lead according to TimeformUS Pace Projector.

Although Ultimate Mo and Ready to Runaway are capable of applying some pressure, it will not feel as stressful as getting chased by Covfefe.

At low odds, expect Take Charge Angel to lead and stick around.

Belmont Race 2: Maid of the Mist Stakes

This stakes race for New York-bred 2-year-old fillies is evenly-matched at first glance. But on closer inspection, the nod goes to Critical Value, who broke her maiden by 2 ¾ lengths with a 93 TimeformUS Speed Figure.

Consider that the morning line favorite Naked Avenger won the Joseph A. Gimma Stakes with a 93, yet she is even money, while Critical Value is 5/2. Naked Avenger did win a stakes race, but when two horses show the same speed figure and different odds, it is logical to pick the higher value.

As for the stretch out from six furlongs to one mile, based on pedigree it is well within Critical Value's range. This is a granddaughter of Critical Eye, who won the 2000 Gazelle Handicap (G1) at nine furlongs. She closed out her career with a win in the 1 ¼-mile Ladies Handicap (G2) in 2002.

Furthermore, Critical Value's maiden win is great from a visual standpoint, as she finished strong towards the wire.

At 5/2, Critical Value is the choice.

Belmont Race 5: Empire Classic Handicap

Given the 10-1 odds, choosing Dynamax Prime falls more towards the “taking a shot” category rather than a confident selection. But this 5-year-old gelding has a shot if Not That Brady and Mr. Buff duel early.

While the 3/5 Pat On the Back will settle close to them and strike first, Dynamax Prime is not too far behind Pat On the Back in figures.

Dynamax Prime ran a competitive 116 TimeformUS Speed Figure when finishing second to Mr. Buff by 3 ½ lengths in the Evan Shipman Stakes.

In most races, Dynamax Prime gives some type of closing run even if he comes up a few lengths short.

If given enough pace, Dynamax Prime can scare those favorites. Perhaps he is more trustworthy in the second slot as a backwheel.

Belmont Race 8: Sleepy Hollow Stakes

In this six-horse field of New York-bred 2-year-olds, Harris Bay owns the top figure on TimeformUS with a 106. None of the other five broke 100.

Also, the competition he beat backs up the figure. Consider the runner-up in Harris Bay's maiden win, Dream Bigger. Dream Bigger ran second to Tiz the Law in his debut, losing only by 4 ½ lengths to him.

Tiz the Law won the Champagne Stakes (G1) in his next start.

After Dream Bigger lost to Harris Bay in his second start, he won the New York Breeders Futurity by 10 ¾ lengths at Finger Lakes, defeating My Italian Rabbi and Mission Wrapitup. The latter is entered in this field too. 

Pace Projector puts Harris Bay on the lead. But the more probable scenario is Three Jokers setting the pace, with Harris Bay pressing.

As for the stretch out from six furlongs to one mile, it is a small concern. However, Harris Bay's dam Hot Spa is a half-sister to Dig Deep, who won at one mile. Also, Hot Spa's half-brother Mendip won the 2011 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 (G2) over in Dubai at a route distance.

Harris Bay is a promising horse with a chance to develop into a good miler.

At 5/2, he is a good value compared to the slower City Man at 2/1.


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Meet Reinier Macatangay

My first time at the racetrack came as a 5-year-old kid at Santa Anita Park. For most of my younger life, that was the only track I attended other the occasional visit to Hollywood Park. 

Years later, after graduating California State University, Stanislaus with an English MA, I began writing for Lady and the Track. From late 2014-2016, my articles were seen on a weekly basis and covered handicapping, interviews with well-known racing personalities, fashion and more. 

The handicapping style I use concentrates on pace analysis. Some horses are compromised by the pace. Others are helped. Handicappers just starting out cannot easily see how pace affects the finish, so with this blog, I hope to help those unsure of how to apply pace into their handicapping and post-race analysis. 

On an unrelated note, I enjoy video games and attending anime or comic-book conventions. I am currently based in Kentucky, but spend a lot of time traveling between there and California.

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