Social Icons

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Handicapping for Friday at Churchill Downs

Ok, not that much good racing at Churchill on Friday, but I handicapped some races in anticipation for visiting the OTW facilty then (and for the 10 cent superfecta!)

In race 4 (Alw 50Kn1x, 1-3/8 mile turf), Dress Uniform should be a real threat after closing extremely well to finish third (missing by less than a length) last time out at Keeneland. This three-year-old filly is a full sister to Casual Look, a Grade 1 filly on turf in Great Britain (including a win in the 2003 Epsom Oaks, and third place finishes in the Irish Oaks and Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup behind winner Film Maker), and Shabby Chic, a turf winner in France. Her chief rival here will be Aidan’s Bella, a surprising but well-closing second last time out to Christie’s Treasure at Keeneland. Beyond this pair, look to Ura Wild Won to step up in class successfully; last time out, she switched to turf and determinedly won at 1 mile. Her only question mark is if she can get the distance. Her dam Urca is out of 1989 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Steinlen, and her sire Wild Wonder was a graded stakes winner/miler. I would be shocked to see her win, but with Julien Leparoux up, she should be in the money versus these. Filling out my 10-cent superfecta will be Ready to Goes who finished fifth versus similar last time out, but should improve with second race off layoff and returning to turf, with Bejarano up. (3-7-8-6)

Race 5 (MC 15K, 6f) features a five-year-old gelding, Play Maker Fever, who may finally break his maiden. He finished second vs. similar last time out at Charles Town, but worked a bullet 3 furlongs in :35.4 on May 13. In addition to adding blinkers, he also gets Bejarano up. Jamie Sanders has been on a bit of a losing streak of late, but Subtle Reaction takes a class drop and could come in here. He’s a half-brother of grade 2 winning filly Broad Dynamite; both are out of the Raise A Native mare Subtle Raise who has 6 winners out of 9 starters. He could improve in second start after layoff. An Heir of Magic did not impress in his first start on May 3, as he not only had to deal with a sloppy track, but also being bumped and squeezed. Since then, he had a very good 3 furlong workout at Churchill (:35.2), and may show up here. Cherokee Nation finished second in that same May 3 race at Churchill, and keeps Leparoux. (6-9-10-8)

Race 7 is a 6 furlong $48K maiden event for fillies. Unforgotten, with Robby Albarado up, looks prime here, as she finished strongly vs. similar last time out, gaining late to show, less than one length behind the winner Simply Divine (who next finished second behind Taletobetold on May 12 in the $100,000 Open Mind Stakes) and second place Im Classic Quality (who finished out of the money in the same stakes race). Their success lends even greater prominence to Unforgotten here, who is a half-sister to multiple stakes-winning filly Hot Storm (both are out of the Secret Slew mare Forgotten Secret). Even Tempo finished fifth, just 1-1/2 lengths back, in that same Keeneland race, but she came up empty in that, her first start. She could improve here. Star of Luvina failed her last time out, tiring at 7 furlongs, but should like the shorter distance. Leparoux is up. First-time starter, four-year-old Pola’s Place, has several sharp workouts from the gate leading up to this start, and should impress. She is a half-sister of 2005 San Miguel and Sham stakes winner Going Wild. If any of these should scratch, another first-time starter Lily’s Place could come up, based on solid workouts recently. (4-5-9-6)

Race 10 is an allowance $50Kn1x going 1-1/16 mile on turf, and Patrick Biancone’s Niagara Causeway is the absolute class of this field, having run in six graded stakes races (including two grade 1). He is incredibly well bred (out of Giants Causeway and graded stakes winner Theoretically, out of Theatrical), but still qualifies here as an n1x. He failed as the favorite last time out at CD on May 2, but should improve in second start since layoff. Malameeze failed to fire in that same race in only his second try on turf, but had a sharp workout on May 13. Bill Mott-trained Lattice has finished in the money both times out on turf, and keeps Robby Albarado, but had a poor recent workout so may be a weak candidate. This Is That (a $1 million two-year-old purchase) closed gamely for second last time out at Keeneland vs. similar and could be in the money here. (1-9-3-4)

Finally, race 11 is $48K maiden race for fillies, over 6 furlongs. First-time starter Adorable Cat is a half-sister of graded-stakes placed Ramsgate (both are out of the Dehere mare Sha Hearah), and she’s worked out well for trainer Bobby Frankel. Another well-bred first-timer is the Dale Romans-trained Fast Included, half-sister to Lexington Stakes winner Sharp Impact out of the Carson City mare Fast and Early. Iowa-bred Pure Silk (half-sister to Birdbirdistheword, out of new sire Pure Prize) finished third last time out vs. similar at 7 furlongs for Steve Asmussen, and should step up again in third race. Brilliant Humor closed nicely to finish third first time out in March, and has worked well (and consistently) since then. (5-7-11-8)