National Racing Rundown
Monday, February 5, 2018
by John Piassek
After a big weekend, in which several new Kentucky Derby contenders were revealed, a quiet Monday will greet us, with just three tracks on the docket. Nevertheless, there is still racing to cover, so we will press on.
TRACKS RACING MONDAY
MAHONING VALLEY RACE COURSE: 9 races, 82 horses, first post time 12:45 PM EST
PARX RACING: 9 races, 89 horses, first post time 12:55 PM EST
TURF PARADISE: 8 races, 73 horses, first post time 2:40 PM EST
MAHONING VALLEY RACE COURSE (YOUNGSTOWN, OH): 24*F, Partly Cloudy
PARX RACING (BENSALEM, PA): 35*F, Sunny
TURF PARADISE (PHOENIX, AZ): 81*F, Sunny
CARRYOVERS OF NOTE:
MAHONING VALLEY RACE COURSE: $4,268 carryover in Buckeye Pick 6, starts in race 4, post time 2:08 PM EST
SPOTLIGHT RACES OF THE DAY:
MAHONING VALLEY RACE COURSE RACE 6
POST TIME: 3:04 PM EST
This race is a n/w1x allowance race for older horses going 1 mile and 70 yards, featuring a big field of eleven. The headliner of the field figures to be the 2, Magna Man, who spent last year running against Ohio-bred company, and now jumps up into open conditions. His last race was extremely impressive; he defeated an Ohio-bred allowance field by 19 lengths back on December 20, earning a sky-high brisnet figure of 107. It was his lifetime top by nineteen points, so it’s unclear if he’ll be able to come close to that number again. Regardless, his prior form is promising enough that he’s a contender even if he comes within fifteen points of his last race.
There are a few possible upset contenders, however. The 9, Hansenation, battled down the stretch at this level in his last race, but ended up second, beaten less than a length. Last year, he was stakes-placed against Ohio-breds. The 1, Dance Night, has hit the board in five races in a row, all of them at this level, but without a victory. In sixteen races, he’s hit the board eleven times, but only won once thus far. The 4, Whiskey Sour, makes his third start in Ohio, after a campaign based in Maryland. Two of his best-ever races were in those starts at Mahoning Valley; two races ago, he won against $5,000 claimers going six furlongs, last out, he showed speed and faded going two turns.
PARX RACING RACE 7
POST TIME: 3:37 PM EST
We also have n/w1x allowance horses going here, but this time, they’re fillies and mares going 5 1/2 furlongs. The 7, Wildcat Belle, makes her 2018 debut, after a solid campaign last year. She stepped up to this level last time, and went off as the 8/5 favorite. After a slow break and a rough trip, she ended up third, beaten less than two lengths. Expect her to go off at similar odds here, and if she can break cleanly, she should go to the front early on. From there, I expect a victory, or something close to it.
The two inside horses are the best candidates to upset. The 1, Champagne Ruby, ships in from Aqueduct, where she most recently finished fourth against New York-bred claimers. After a win at Saratoga against $12,500 horses back in July, she’s been in the top four seven times in a row, without a win. Her figure has declined in her last four races, from an 87 four races ago to an 82 last time out. The 2, Krista’s Persona, was a winner for a $15,000 tag at Penn National three races ago. She exits off a runner-up finish at Laurel Park, a race in which she rated off the leader, inherited the top spot when the front-runner faded, then got caught late. She’ll hope to sit a similar trip here, only with better results, hopefully for her.
PARX RACING RACE 8
POST TIME: 4:05 PM EST
This is a starter allowance race at six furlongs, which drew a field of nine. The two headliners appear to be the 5, Bluegrass Express, and the 6, Ebo Strong. The former finished third in his 2018 debut, drifting out in the stretch to finish third. Two races ago, he scored at this level, earning a big figure of 94, and outfinishing rivals Ebo Strong and Retrograde. Speaking of Ebo Strong, he outfinished Bluegrass Express in his last race, coming in second. Three races ago, he smoked a n/w2L claiming field by six lengths, rating off the pace to win by six lengths.