National Racing Rundown
Thursday, February 22, 2018
by John Piassek
It’s a little bit of a lighter Thursday than usual in the racing world. Since Aqueduct and Santa Anita Park both raced on Monday for Presidents’ Day, they’ve elected to take this Thursday off. Nevertheless, there’s plenty of great racing to be had.
TRACKS RACING THURSDAY
GULFSTREAM PARK: 11 races, 97 horses, first post time 12:35 PM EST
TAMPA BAY DOWNS: 8 races, 76 horses, first post time 12:50 PM EST
FAIR GROUNDS: 9 races, 94 horses, first post time 2:00 PM EST
OAKLAWN PARK: 9 races, 91 horses, first post time 2:30 PM EST
PENN NATIONAL: 8 races, 79 horses, first post time 6:00 PM EST
TURFWAY PARK: 8 races, 76 horses, first post time 6:15 PM EST
DELTA DOWNS: 10 races, 99 horses, first post time 6:40 PM EST
CHARLES TOWN: 8 races, 63 horses, first post time 7:00 PM EST
GULFSTREAM PARK (HALLANDALE BEACH, FL): 80*F, Partly Cloudy
TAMPA BAY DOWNS (OLDSMAR, FL): 84*F, Sunny
FAIR GROUNDS (NEW ORLEANS, LA): 81*F, Cloudy
OAKLAWN PARK (HOT SPRINGS, AR): 50*F, Thunderstorms
PENN NATIONAL (GRANTVILLE, PA): 38*F, Showery
TURFWAY PARK (FLORENCE, KY): 48*F, Cloudy
DELTA DOWNS (VINTON, LA): 74*F, Partly Cloudy (rain earlier in day)
CHARLES TOWN (CHARLES TOWN, WV): 41*F, Cloudy (rain earlier in day)
CARRYOVERS OF NOTE
GULFSTREAM PARK: $1,265,652 carryover in rainbow pick 6, starts in race 6, post time 3:05 PM EST
FAIR GROUNDS: $5,449 carryover in Black Gold 5, starts in race 5, post time 4:05 PM EST
SPOTLIGHT RACES OF THE DAY
TAMPA BAY DOWNS RACE 7
POST TIME: 3:50 PM EST
This race is a n/w1x allowance optional claiming race for older fillies and mares going 5 1/2 furlongs on the dirt, and it drew a competitive field of eight. The slim morning line favorite at 5/2 is the 4, Animauxselle. She’s coming off a runner-up finish at this level, in which she stalked the pace and rallied past 3/5 favorite No Mercy Percy. Unfortunately for her, she was overtaken in the stretch by closing Bella Vincenza, and ended up a length behind. Two races ago, she went off at 28/1 at this condition, but closed good ground late to finish behind a loose leader. Her form has improved sharply every time out as of late, and looks very live in this field.
No Mercy Percy returns in this race as well, and drew the 3 post. She broke her maiden in her debut two races ago, taking the field gate-to-wire at 15/1. Her early speed figures to be her primary asset. You almost certainly won’t get the 3/5 she went off at last out, so if you still believe, you could be well-rewarded. The 5, Lady’s Island, makes her 2018 debut and drops in class after a sixth-place finish in the Lightning City Stakes. Two races ago, she led almost the entire way around against similar before being run down in the stretch. Cutting back in distance from six furlongs should help her speed.
FAIR GROUNDS RACE 7
POST TIME: 5:05 PM EST
We’ll stretch out for the next spotlight race of the day, with a n/w2x allowance race for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on the dirt. The 6, Promise of Spring, drops back into allowance company, after two straight tries in stakes. She was third in the Tiffany Lass Stakes over this track two races ago, before finishing last in the Houston Ladies Classic. Both her victories came in consecutive starts at Indiana Grand and Churchill Downs against horses more like today’s competition. Miguel Mena will ride her for the first time, and will probably send her to the early lead.
The 7, Flora Dora, is the only one in the field who is grade 1 placed. As a three-year-old, she finished third at 64/1 behind Songbird in the Coaching Club American Oaks. Most recently, she finished fourth at this level last out as the 9/5 favorite. She’ll seek to rebound, and to get to her first win in almost two years. The 2, Wicked Lick, cleared her n/w1x condition as the heavy favorite last out. She has two career victories, but eight runner-up finishes: not a great sign. The 5, Misleading Lady, won her last race, at Oaklawn Park, but that came back in April.
DELTA DOWNS RACE 8
POST TIME: 9:55 PM EST
After a race at Fair Grounds, we’ll stay in-state, and head down to the Bayou for an open n/w1x allowance race for fillies and mares at seven furlongs. The race drew a full field of ten, with the two favorites shipping from Fair Grounds. The 3, How Sweet It Is, makes her Delta debut here, and won in her most recent try on dirt, against $50,000 claimers. Last out, she was seventh in a turf sprint in New Orleans, but she definitely prefers the dirt. She’s only missed the board once over that surface. The 5, Shakti, has spent most of her career racing in California. She won twice over the summer in that state, once against claiming company at Del Mar, then again against starter allowance foes at Los Alamitos. Most recently, she was second at this level at Fair Grounds, and is persumably seeking some class relief by trying her hand at the bullring.