Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
After a few day’s delay due to rain, opening day has arrived at Kentucky Downs! The Franklin, Kentucky oval is known for having some of the best grass racing in the country. As usual, it’s a big card with overflow fields all day long. For the first time ever on Danonymous Racing, we’re featuring coverage of the racing there all meet long!
Today, we’ve got Joseph Hansen (@jhansendc) providing his thoughts on the Wednesday card. Joseph’s making his Danonymous debut today, and we thank him for taking the time to share his picks & analysis. Good luck to everyone playing along! Reminder that first post today is 2:25 PM EDT.
In a race without much speed, the versatility of Voluptuous (7) can be a big advantage. In the exacta in last 3, she can sit close to the pace and get first run on the closers. The concern for her is that she’s lost a step, Beyer-wise, from last year, but her numbers are still competitive. J/T combo hit their only mount at last year’s meet. Soft ground moves her up too. Based on her last 2 dirt starts, Super Wonderful (8) might be the lone speed with aggressive Santana aboard. She pressed very fast fractions and drew off easily in last, and got away with soft fractions 2 back winning by a laughable 15 lengths. Showed nothing in her lone turf try 3 back, but might get the race-flow in her favor, and odds should be right. Spontaneity (3) also exhibits the type of tracking trip that should be successful in here, and her 2 turf tries have been her career best by far and stamp her a contender. Finally Leeloo’s Journey (2) isn’t stuck outside, and she’s really taken to the turf in recent starts. Assuming a clean start, she’s another one in the mix.
Dale Romans took same exact Ellis dirt-to-KD turf path last year with C.S. Incharge’s (4) half-sister Sweeping Paddy, who won in her second career start going dirt to turf and who just took the G3 Regret at SAR going long on turf. I feel like one is eligible to move up nicely with the surface switch, and you should get a decent price. I hate the post, but Our Girl Abby (8) showed speed in last 4 including the most recent start going long on turf where she ran into Orbolution, open length winner of the PG Johnson at SAR going a route on grass. This one should appreciate the cutback. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jukebox Money (11) substantially improved at a big price based on the powerful second-time starter, first-time Lasix angle, but post is a concern.
There is some other speed signed on, but none appear as fast as 3 year old Major Munnings (4), who has won both starts over older foes very impressively, albeit at short odds. Definitely has the speed to clear, and will be very dangerous if he takes to the course. Ward immediately claimed Chiltern Street (3) back in the last and protects him in this one as well. The cutback should allow him to sit a stalk and pounce trip. Above the Bar (1) is a versatile sort has shown speed going longer but is comfortable from coming off the pace in turf sprints, which will help if a speed duel develops.
Highly thought of as a 2 year old, Next Shares (1) ran 2nd as a maiden in the With Anticipation at SAR then set the pace in the G3 Pilgrim in his next start. He finally broke his maiden in January of his 3 year old season and went to the bench for 16 months. He has 2 races under his belt since the layoff, and Mott should have him ready after earning a career best Beyer in last. Star Cross (8) ran the fastest middle fractions in latest over a muddy (sealed) track at IND last out before weakening to 3rd in a field of 5. He gets back to preferred surface where he’s improved nicely as a 4 year old and should be coming late. Douglas Road (3) should have won 2 in a row but was getting in on Centeno last out and just got nosed. His race 2 back featured 4 next out winners and 2 third-place finishers, and the maiden race 3 back featured 2 next-out winners and 2 next-out place finishers. Mongol G (6) could be dangerous the main speed.
In her first start in North America, Queen Anne’s Lace (5) showed a pretty explosive turn of foot down the stretch, having to shift out from being boxed on the rail to about 6 wide in a matter of a few strides, just missing in the photo. That was also her 2nd start against older, having finished 4th in a G3 in Ireland in her first start as a 3 year old. Her Beyer is a little light, but expect improvement here. Proud Reunion (9) has moved forward very nicely as a 3 year old, breaking her maiden against older 2 back and earning a career best Beyer in most recent (and tied for highest last-out in the field). She was forced to swing wide in last at SAR and thought she fought on well at a big price. Wolf Gourmet (6) hasn’t done much wrong in her 4 year old campaign, hitting the trifecta in 5 of 6 starts. A repeat of any of her last 4 tries makes her tough.
Boreale (2) found herself far back in last, and Albarado made a big middle move before she flattened out in the stretch. Same jock returns for this, and appears that she might get a pace to run into with some speed horses that will be severely tested for class in this. My Impression (4) has been knocking heads with the best filly and mare turfers in the country this year so will find some relief here. She’s had some success at this distance as well as on soft turf. It looks like she can sit right off the speed, but concern is that she hasn’t found the winner’s circle since November. Zipessa (12) will also get class relief after running in graded stakes consistently for the past year. Figures to be forwardly placed, but may want more distance, and last over soft turf was disappointing.
In a race filled with question marks, I’m landing on the maiden Ultima D (9), who sports the field’s best Beyer on the turf. She’s improved with each start, and showed a good late kick in last while experiencing some trouble on the backstretch and going wide around the turn to narrowly miss against a next-out stakes runner-up. Moonlight Rain (8) beat the boys last out when making a sustained late run in between horses and certainly has a big chance with a repeat effort. Unfortunately Katie’s Reward (11) gets stuck outside again but was visually impressive running wide throughout and opening up late in her maiden-breaker.
Irish Strait (8) cuts back after running second to Money Multiplier who just missed in the Sword Dancer recently. It appears that Lynch can put him wherever he wants, a major plus in this one. The last two over soft going were solid, with a win and a close 4th to stablemate Ascend who came back to take the G1 Manhattan next out. Flatlined (2) came back running off a 3 month layoff, has a win over the track, but will be pace-dependent for his late kick. He’s got some back class, but always seems to come up a little short at this distance (4 place finishes in 5 starts). If anyone can have one ready after a year layoff it’s Maker, and Shining Copper (3) flashed speed in G1’s the last 2 years. He’s been working steadily and if he’s ready he’ll take them as far as he can.
Northern Trail (7) somehow got away at 80/1 in Ellis Park Juvenile where he pressed blazing fractions after nearly falling at the start. He put away the other speed horses but was unable to hold off the eventual winner. His turf debut 2 back was solid as well, again pushing through quick fractions and having enough in the tank to run the fastest final 3/8 in the field. He’s improved with each start, each increasing in distance. The Beyer he earned in that turf race puts him right in the mix here. Snapper Sinclair (9) benefitted from a suicidal speed duel between the 2 favorites last out, sitting behind them and pulling away in the stretch. He might get a similar setup here, and Santana had an impressive SAR meet. Tigerbeach (1) was up against it last out, chasing slow fractions behind the top 2 choices. Broke his maiden 2 back impressively over the grass, but will have to work out a trip from the rail with some speed outside. Ward hits with about 20% when taking the blinkers off juveniles, and Arawak (4) gets some class relief, so improvement expected.
Going to take a shot with Harangue (11) who goes 2nd off the layoff, has finished 2nd in 3 of last 4, and should be a good price. Bizarre trip last out, almost falling down on the backstretch and then immediately being hustled through an opening on the rail to take the lead, but was unable to hold off odds-on favorite. This one finished well clear of 3rd though and improved nicely in his second turf start. American Sea (8) made a sweeping move to take the lead at the top of the stretch last out, and has improved placings the last 2, matching top Beyers as well. If you throw out his SAR efforts, Run Time (7) must be respected. Kitten’s Solution (5) shouldn’t have a problem with the stretch-out and you should get a much better price than his recent efforts.
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(photo: Kentucky Tourism)