Friday 5: Commonwealth Turf edge goes to tactical 6-1 shot

November 08, 2019 02:07pm
Churchill Down's traditional November meet continues Saturday, with the card featuring the Grade 3, $175,000 Commonwealth Stakes. The race is scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on turf.

In large fields such as this one, it is preferable to choose a horse with the speed to position himself clear of traffic, but avoid a speed duel. That logic leads to the first of five selections from Churchill, Aqueduct and Del Mar.

Churchill Downs Race 10: Commonwealth Stakes (G3)

Mr Dumas is an improving 3-year-old colt with enough speed to clear from Post 11. But he does not need the lead, either.

The latter point is important because speed types such as Pirate's Punch, Knicks Go and Spectacular Gem are liable to cancel each other out. With Mr Dumas is drawn outside, he can easily settle behind them.

As for Mr Dumas' actual form, he recently won a local allowance race by 3 ¼ lengths, an impressive margin in turf racing.

He also ran third in an allowance race at Kentucky Downs after closing from 19 lengths behind in a sprint. Considering the speed bias, that is a fine effort. Notice the first two finishers stayed up front for the entire race.

Speed figures are less meaningful on turf. But for what it is worth, Mr Dumas earned 113 TimeformUS figures in both turf starts. Compare those numbers to the favorite, Tracksmith, who ran a 110 and 107 in his last two starts.

In a competitive field like this, it is hard to go wrong with a number of entries. The 6-1 Mr Dumas gets the nod for his tactical speed and sharp form.

Churchill Downs Race 11: Maiden Claiming

If searching for a horse to pair with Mr Dumas, Money On My Mind is an interesting 10-1 value option to double into the Saturday finale.

This gelding flashed speed in his Aug. 18 effort at Ellis Park before fading to fourth by 10 ½ lengths. In fairness, though, he did get hounded by the 2/5 shot Winnipesaukee most of the way. The duo opened up during the far turn before Winnipesaukee got the better of him and drew clear.

Money On My Mind earned a 97 TimeformUS Speed Figure for fourth.

Winnipesaukee went on to finish second in a local Sept. 19 allowance race with a 105. He finished of front of Kaziranga, who won next time with a 114.

In this race, the favorite Nola Win ran a 101 and 80 in his last two starts.

If given an easy pace, Money On My Mind can upset.

Aqueduct Race 7: Pumpkin Pie Stakes

TimeformUS' Pace Projector expected Philanthropic to lead uncontested through slow fractions as the 2-1 favorite. She is likely to take advantage.

In her recent start in a six-furlong Monmouth Park optional claimer, Philanthropic pressed the pace and won by five lengths with a 105 number from TimeformUS, a competitive figure here. Two starts ago in June, she broke her maiden at Monmouth with a 98. She gives the impression of a filly on the rise.

The stretch out is a slight concern, as Philanthropic did lose her first three starts, all at seven furlongs. It is possible she needed more seasoning.

Given the sire is Malibu Moon and the dam Deputy Saint is a half sister to Curlin, the seven-furlong distance is not supposed to pose a problem.

Philanthropic is possibly another star in the making for trainer Jason Servis.

Aqueduct Race 9: Atlantic Beach Stakes

As with most 15-1 shots, this selection is more about taking a chance.

Even though Prince of Thieves finished 13th in the Bourbon Stakes (G3) at Keeneland, there are a few positives about him.

For one, he ran well in his first two starts at sprint distances, breaking his maiden at Ellis Park in a 5 ½-furlong turf race and closing for third at Kentucky Downs in a 6 ½-furlong jaunt on a speed-biased course.

Now he cuts back to a six-furlong sprint. Considering the dam is a half-sister to the great New York-bred, Commentator, the pedigree is there to succeed.

Del Mar Race 5: Maiden

While there is an expensive Bob Baffert-trained 2-year-old colt named Authentic in here, the nod will go to another first-time starter.

Absolute Unit was not as expensive as the $350,000 Authentic, but he still cost his connections quite a bit at $150,000. He hails from the Peter Eurton barn.

Eurton only hits at 9-percent clip with first timers. But the right precocious pedigree can sometimes overcome a trainer's pattern with babies. In this case, Absolute Unit is a half-brother to Silent Bird, who ran a close second in his first career start before winning his next five races.

Absolute Unit also gave a good impression in his Nov. 4 workout available on XBTV, with the exercise rider needing to hold him back the entire way.

In contrast, Authentic looked a bit lackluster in his Oct. 19 workout in company with stablemate Seiche, getting outworked. 

Absolute Unit at least deserves a spot alongside Authentic in horizontals.


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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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