National Racing Rundown
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
by John Piassek
It’s closing day in the Pacific Northwest, as Portland Meadows wraps up their brief 2018 stand. Elsewhere, we’ve got two tracks in the southwest, plus two more on the east coast, with plenty of great racing in between them:
TRACKS RACING TUESDAY:
PARX RACING: 9 races, 81 horses, first post time 12:25 PM EST
MAHONING VALLEY RACE COURSE: 8 races, 81 horses, first post time 12:45 PM EST
SUNLAND PARK: 9 races, 82 horses, first post time 2:30 PM EST
TURF PARADISE: 8 races, 69 horses, first post time 2:40 PM EST
PORTLAND MEADOWS: 9 races, 80 horses, first post time 3:00 PM EST
PARX RACING (BENSALEM, PA): 37*F, Snowy
MAHONING VALLEY RACE COURSE (YOUNGSTOWN, OH): 22*F, Cloudy
SUNLAND PARK (SUNLAND PARK, NM): 65*F, Sunny
TURF PARADISE (PHOENIX, AZ): 80*F, Partly Cloudy
PORTLAND MEADOWS (PORTLAND, OR): 49*F, Showery
SPOTLIGHT RACES OF THE DAY:
PARX RACING RACE 8
POST TIME: 3:34 PM EST
This race drew a full field of twelve, but the one everyone will be watching is the California invader: the 4, Honor and Courage. He raced in the Jerry Hollendorfer barn last year, and racked up one win from eight starts. In his last five races, he has a rather remarkable record of 5-1-4-0. He’ll run for John Servis for the first time, who has been a torrid 7-for-14 at the current meet, and will be ridden by leading jockey Frankie Pennington. If he goes off at near his 6/5 morning line, he will not be a great bet, considering he has not raced since June. However, he will nevertheless be interesting to watch.
There are a few horses who could upset Honor and Courage. The 8, Imasuperstar, makes his third start off the layoff, has a lot of early speed, and finished a respectable third in two recent tries at this condition. Paco Lopez retains the mount; you have to figure he will once again put him on the early lead. The 11, Fled, will run for the first time outside of New York-bred company. In his first start in a while last out, he struggled to finish fifth. That race should serve as a good belt-tightener for today.
SUNLAND PARK RACE 7
POST TIME: 5:03 PM EST
Over at Sunland, the feature is a New Mexico-bred n/w1x allowance race going one mile, with a field of eight. The favorite on the morning line is the 1, Waki’s Pride, who drops in class after finishing seventh in the Albert Dominguez Handicap last out. Prior to that, he was second against similar company as today at Zia Park. He went off at 13/1 in that race, and one figures the odds on him will be much lower today. Also one to consider is the 5, Unbelievabull, who jumps up from claiming company. He will likely be on the early lead. The 3, Dom Straight, appears to be the stronger half of the two Miguel Hernandez entries. He’s been second at this level two times in a row.
TURF PARADISE RACE 7
POST TIME: 5:45 PM EST
Turf Paradise offers the only three turf races anywhere in the country on Tuesday, and this is probably the best one of the lot. It features a field of seven n/w2L allowance horses going one mile over the green stuff. The 3, Flower Beach, is one of two Dan MacFarlane entries in this race, and has already raced twice in 2018. He has not won a race since December 16, 2015, but since then has accumulated a record of 13 starts, no wins, seven seconds, and and three thirds. He’s 2/1 on the morning line, but fits the bill of a true “sucker horse”, that is, the type that never wins, but comes just close enough to give horseplayers reason to believe.
The 2, Tyler’s Tek, also figures to get some action. He’ll make his first start since August 26 at Del Mar, where he finished seventh against starter allowance company. His lone victory came at Turf Paradise back in April, at this same distance and surface. The 5, Tommy Grossman, has raced once at this level, a fourth place finish back in December. Two races ago, he broke his maiden in a maiden claiming affair.