National Racing Rundown
Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Today’s the first edition of a new feature here on Danonymous Racing: the National Racing Rundown. Every day, we’ll go over the racing action from everywhere in the country, a look at the day’s biggest storylines, plus some spot plays from me, John Piassek. Hope you enjoy!
TRACKS RACING WEDNESDAY:
MAHONING VALLEY RACE COURSE: 10 races, 106 horses, first post time 12:15 PM EST
TAMPA BAY DOWNS: 10 races, 84 horses, first post time 12:25 PM EST
GULFSTREAM PARK: 10 races, 83 horses, first post time 12:35 PM EST
TURF PARADISE: 8 races, 73 horses, first post time 2:40 PM EST
PENN NATIONAL: 8 races, 63 horses, first post time 6:00 PM EST
DELTA DOWNS: 10 races, 103 horses, first post time 6:40 PM EST
MAHONING VALLEY RACE COURSE (YOUNGSTOWN, OH): 18*F, Partly Cloudy
TAMPA BAY DOWNS (OLDSMAR, FL): 49*F, Rain/Clouds
GULFSTREAM PARK (HALLANDALE BEACH, FL): 71*F, Partly Cloudy
TURF PARADISE (PHOENIX, AZ): 73*F, Partly Cloudy
PENN NATIONAL (GRANTSVILLE, PA); 22*F, Partly Cloudy
DELTA DOWNS (VINTON, LA): 36*F, Clear
STORYLINES OF THE DAY:
RAINBOW PICK 6 KEEPS BUILDING AT GULFSTREAM PARK: One of the great racing traditions of the winter is the constant buildup of the rainbow pick 6 pools at Gulfstream. Bettors will continue to chase that pot of gold on Wednesday, with a carryover pool of more than $828,291. There aren’t many big fields in the sequence (the biggest one, minus main-track-onlys, is a field of ten in race 10), so it looks like a relatively easy target. With the racing scene fairly quiet today, the pool will attract plenty of money, and a carryover of more than $1 million going into the weekend is not impossible.
The only other wager of its kind on Wednesday is the Buckeye 6, which had a mandatory payout on Tuesday at Mahoning Valley. It paid out $1,598.36 for a 20-cent bet, with a pool of more than $72,000. The late pick 4 yesterday at Mahoning Valley, by the way, handled a remarkable $107,136. Another classic example of the benefits of “hitting ’em where they ain’t”.
YTD: 0-0-0-0, $0 bet, $0 returned
GULFSTREAM PARK RACE 7: 6, LOCOMOTION
POST TIME: 3:35 PM EST
Race 7 at Gulfstream features a field of seven three-year-old maidens going 1 1/16 miles on the dirt. Usually, whoever wins these kinds of races gets tons of twitter hype and is hailed as a Derby prospect, whether or not they actually are one (and usually at the expense of a horse who actually has accomplished something).
Should the 3, Slot, win, he will likely be the recipient of such hype. He’s making his first start since October 7, when he led almost the entire way around but faded to finish second at Keeneland. He’s the clear-cut early speed of the field, and has had plenty of good workouts coming into this race. However, he is running for the first time in a while, he’s hit the board in his three lifetime starts without a win (rarely a good sign), and will almost certainly be bet off the board (he’s 2/1 on the morning line; would not be surprised to see him at half those odds at the start).
Because of that, I will look towards a fresher rival, in the 6, Locomotion. He improved sharply in his second career race last out, finishing third right here at Gulfstream on December 16. He has good late pace figures on the brisnet scale, suggesting that he will enjoy the extra distance, and his last-out speed figure of 87 firmly establishes him as a contender in this race. I don’t know if he’s a more likely winner than Slot, but he will very probably be a better value play.
GULFSTREAM PARK RACE 8: 5, O.K. KAY
POST TIME: 4:06 PM EST
A mere thirty minutes after the next Gulfstream wonder horse is crowned, a field of Florida-bred allowance-level fillies and mares will go 7 1/2 furlongs on the grass course. My original pick in here was the 2, Two Step Blues, who was forced to check in the stretch last time out and finished a game second. However, she’s lost at this level way too many times (five) for me to want to take a chance on her. Her lifetime record is not promising, either: from thirteen starts, she’s accumulated one win, but six second-place finishes. That is not the record of a horse who likes to win.
I’ll look towards a horse making her second start off the layoff: O.K. Kay. She ran solid speed figures in the upper-70s and low-8os over the summer, then was freshened after a disappointing try at Monmouth Park on September 10. Her return was on December 14, in a field just like this one. She battled hard in the stretch, but ultimately lost by a mere neck. Her figure of 71 was not great, but I imagine she will improve in her second race off the layoff. Picking up Jose Ortiz, and being a Jane Cibelli trainee (who is 28% second off the layoff, from a 105-race sample size), does not hurt.
MAHONING VALLEY RACE 9: 11, MOUNT EAGLE
POST TIME: 3:58 PM EST
The ninth from Youngstown is a field of twelve female claimers going six furlongs, and has a case as the best betting race anywhere in the country. The slim morning line favorite at 4/1 is the 2, Absolute Paradise, who won her last race by 11 lengths, earning a gaudy brisnet speed figure of 88. That was earned with the aid of a very cushy loose-on-the-lead trip, something that she almost certainly won’t get here, and it was her biggest figure, by a longshot, in the last 24 months. The odds of her duplicating it? Not terribly likely.
One could say I’m taking a flyer in more ways than one, with the 8/1 Mount Eagle. She’s been close in her last few, running third and second in those two starts, respectively. Her figure last out was decent, at a 68, and she ran a 78 two races ago, a number that would likely result in a victory. Look for her to tuck in mid-pack, then mount a rally. In a race like this, it’s worth it to take somewhat of a shot. Mount Eagle fits the bill.