Picks & Plays for Sunday, November 1
by David Aragona
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Race 1: 2 - 5 - 7 - 1
Race 2: 2 - 12 - 9 - 10
Race 3: 7 - 6 - 4 - 12
Race 4: 7 - 8 - 4 - 1
Race 5: 6 - 4 - 7 - 8
Race 6: 9 - 12 - 4 - 7
Race 7: 5 - 4 - 6 - 2
Race 8: 10 - 7 - 4 - 3
Race 9: 7 - 4 - 8 - 11
RACE 1: SINASHACK (#2)
Black ‘n Tan could go favored in this maiden claimer as he drops out of a maiden special weight event at Monmouth. While he finished far back in that debut, he took some money and did a little bit of running early in the race. He also didn’t get the most comfortable trip through the stretch as his rider glued him to the rail for the latter half of the race. The Steve Asmussen barn can obviously improve a second-time starter and it’s a good sign that Irad Ortiz takes over the reins. I’m using him, but it’s unclear if he’s as fast as some of the other runners drawn to his inside. Stretch the Truth in particular has blazing early speed and could be in front for a while. However I’m most interested in the pair of George Weaver dropdowns, both of whom are switching from turf to dirt. Over the past 5 years, Weaver is 5 for 15 (33%, $2.85 ROI) with maiden special weight to maiden claiming dropdowns making that surface switch. While Ghost Stalker may have faced the tougher field in his debut, I prefer Sinashack. This son of Shackleford debuted in a restricted maiden event going 7 furlongs on turf. That race featured a stiff early pace and Sinashack was pressing on the outside in the early going. He was in the mix until the quarter pole at which point his stablemate Whatmakessammyrun took over before going on to a commanding victory. Now he’s getting blinkers for his second start while switching to the main track. He does have a little turf pedigree, but he strikes me as one that should handle this surface and Weaver’s stats give me confidence.
Exacta Key Box: 2 with 1,5,7
RACE 5: RE CREATED (#6)
Brew Pub finally faced state-breds for the first time in his fourth career start last time out. However, he was sprinting on turf that day. He doesn't have an overwhelming turf pedigree and he arguably ran his best race on dirt two back at a route distance, so this may be a more appropriate spot. I’m using him, but he will have to improve to overhaul the potential favorite Work Out. This Leah Gyarmati trainee just makes a ton of sense as the likely favorite in this spot; showed some tenacity when fighting back to secure second in his debut, and followed that up with an improved performance second time out. He now has to stretch out again, but his two most accomplished siblings, Associate and Amberjack, both were best at distances ranging from 7 furlongs to a mile. The one knock is that trainer Leah Gyarmati is just 1 for 53 (2%, $0.13 ROI) with dirt stretch-outs over the past 5 years. I want a different horse out of that September 4 maiden event. Re Created took no money in that unveiling and finished a non-threatening seventh behind Work Out. She was pretty sluggish in the early going and never really picked up while racing wide throughout. I got the impression watching him that more distance would benefit him, and his pedigree also suggests that. Laoban’s progeny are 6-3-3-0 with dirt route starters so far. He’s likely to step forward second time out for an underrated barn and he should be a square price.
Exacta Key Box: 6 with 2,4,7,8
RACE 6: ONE EYED JACK (#9)
If this race stays on turf, I suppose Stanhope is the horse to beat on the dropdown. He’s been facing tougher company at the New York-bred allowance level recently, and he actually ran quite well last time. He chased an honest pace and made an early move to aggressively take over on the far turn before falling apart in the last eighth. I think he’s arguably the most talented horse in this field, but I am a little concerned about the distance. While he broke his maiden going this distance, he did so after setting a glacial early pace. I suspect that he’s at his best going shorter than this. His main rival appears to be Reckless Spirit, who got a nightmare of a trip at Saratoga last time. He was rated in the early portion of that race, but lost his composure heading into the clubhouse turn, attempting to bolt as Luis Saez desperately tried to correct him. All things considered, it’s remarkable that he finished the race and only lost by four lengths. He’d be dangerous here if he put it all together, but he’s hard to completely trust after what happened last time. I want to get a little more creative and explore some less obvious options. My top pick is One Eyed Jack as he makes his turf debut. This horse is out of a dam who was stakes-placed on turf, but he admittedly doesn’t have a ton of turf pedigree on his female side beyond that. However, Uncle Mo is a solid turf influence, and I liked this horse’s turf workout over the Oklahoma course at Saratoga back in early September. It’s obviously a move of desperation at this point for a horse who has exhausted most of his opportunities on dirt, but I still think he could run well here.
Exacta Key Box: 9 with 4,7,12
RACE 7: GOTHAM GALA (#5)
This Pumpkin Pie loses some intrigue after the scratch of possible favorite Alisio, who was a difficult horse to assess as she returned from the layoff. Among those left, Honor Way is definitely a contender based on her recent form. She could be compromised by a potential slow pace in a race where the Pace Projector is predicting a situation favoring horses on or near the lead. However, she appreciates this distance and could assert herself in the last furlong. I’m certainly using her, but my top pick is Gotham Gala. This 5-year-old has struggled to find any consistency this year, but she did put forth a strong effort two back when second to next-out Spinster winner Valiance in the slop. She’s obviously not the easiest horse to trust off her poor effort last time, but I like her turning back in distance. This mare was actually pretty effective in dirt sprits earlier in her career and I think this 7 furlongs could hit her right between the eyes. She has the tactical speed to work out the right trip and she’s obviously superior to the rest of this field if she’s able to produce her top effort.
Exacta Key Box: 5 with 4,6
Trifecta: 4,5 with 4,5 with ALL
RACE 8: LOVESTRUCK (#10)
Caldee is obviously the horse to beat in this strong edition of the Chelsey Flower. She was very impressive breaking her maiden at Saratoga in her second career start, and she validated that performance in the Miss Grillo last time. Losing to the undefeated Plum Ali is no disgrace, and Caldee had to pick up the pace through some quick interior fractions before settling for second. I think she’s pretty good and she could have a significant pace advantage in a race where most of her primary competitors are closers. I’ll certainly her use her prominently, but my top pick is the Bill Mott second-time starter Lovestruck. This filly missed a planned start in the Miss Grillo, but apparently got over that issue quickly, as she’s back in the entries just a month later. She has a regal pedigree, being a half-sister to Scat Daddy sired by Tapit. Her debut was excellent, as she won handily despite the fact that she was extremely green. She broke inward from the start, forcing herself steady, and still didn’t look like she knew what she was doing in the lane even as she mowed down the leader. Mott doesn’t have great statistics with horses coming off debut wins, but I think this talented filly could be an exception to that pattern. Ingrassia also makes some sense after finishing third in the Jessamine. While the pace of that race may seem quick, it was dominated towards the front end, and she was one of the only horses to make a significant run from the back of the pack. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Oyster Box ran well after beating a solid field in her sprint debut. Graham Motion has poor numbers with stretch-outs like this, but she’s certainly bred to handle added ground.
Exacta Key Box: 10 with 3,4,7,8
Trifecta: 7,10 with 7,10 with 3,4,6,8
RACE 9: IMPAZIBLE DONNA (#7)
Flashpackinbarbie was a heavy favorite to win a race at this level a few weeks ago when she reared up in the gate and was forced to scratch. She’s obviously a contender once again, but she doesn’t have the same pace advantage this time that she was projected to have in that aborted start last month. The Pace Projector is predicting a fast pace, with this filly likely to receive early pressure from Shesasuperfreak, City Temper, and perhaps others. I’m using her, but I think others figure to work out better trips in this large field. Bankers Daughter inherited the favorite’s role in that September 19 allowance race when Flashpackinbarbie scratched, and she ran well to just miss to a longshot winner. She’s a contender at this level once again, but I prefer a filly who is stepping up in class. Impazible Donna lost by a half-length to Bankers Daughter when she returned from a layoff at Saratoga, and I thought she stepped forward in her second start back last time when she got the job done earlier this month. She had to be used in the early going of that race to pressure her main rival Munnings Muse. She put that filly away and then kicked on again when challenged in the stretch to hold on for the victory. She’s versatile enough to come from the off the pace if they go quickly up front this time, and she still has plenty of upside in a race where we basically know what we’re going to get from many of the other contenders.
Exacta Key Box: 7 with 4,8,11