08/21/2013 10:12AM

Closer Looks: Saratoga August 22, 2013


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Race 1

Spy in the Sky
Hey, old friend; he won this in 2009 and owns three Spa jump wins in long career; was in great form last season with Smithwick win and troubled third in this; slow finding that form this year, but last was better; notch below best in here and must turn back time.
Mr. Hot Stuff
Repeat after me: Smithwick winners bounce; it's been 14 years since anyone won both in the same year because the hard effort three weeks earlier takes too much out of horses; that being said, this could be the horse; Smithwick win looked easy, he s a monster talent and he gets 10 pounds from Demonstrative; major player.
All Together
Loved the win here Aug. 1 and veteran gets 20 (!) pounds from highweight; can't see old man turning back time enough to be a win threat; should be up close early and giving cover to Mr. Hot Stuff and others; takes over pace chores from Brave Prospect down back and will try to stretch; cool horse, up against it.
Italian Wedding
Oh for a more generous uncoupling rule; part of three-way Sheppard entry that will be heavily bet; game second in Smithwick off bench should be good setup for another decent effort but he'd be 6-1 on his own; part of very strong entry.
Hunt Ball (IRE)
Much-ballyhooed import labored in first U.S. start when distant sixth in Smithwick; looked like a hard, laboring sixth; can't see much changing here, unless we get rain, as racetrack pacing and running style do not suit him; no denying ability, Saratoga on firm turf just not his game.
What a difference a year makes; won this at nearly 6-1 in 2012 and you should feel lucky to get 2-1 today; best horse in game missed Smithwick with cough; looked good working at Oklahoma Monday; question marks are weight (8 pounds to Divine Fortune, 10 to Mr. Hot Stuff) and sharpness; wins if he's on top of game.
Divine Fortune
He's owed one; veteran was fourth in 2010, sixth in 2011 and fell while battling for lead last year; gets weight break and jockey change and should be sharper off Smithwick run; lots of challengers for field's elder statesman: can he fight off Mr. Hot Stuff, Martini Brother AND Demonstrative?; biggest name in triple-tough Sheppard entry.
Brave Prospect
Noble performance in Smithwick, when he set pace and yielded late to win by fellow Fisher runner Mr. Hot Stuff; nothing easy about task this time around either; should be up front early, and good enough to take them awhile; longshot, but game one.
Martini Brother
Future star or overmatched newcomer?; unbeaten in three tries for Sheppard and, as Nagle said last time, has loads of gears; experience the question as water gets far deeper this time around; love the four-week set-up into this and the weight break; hate that he's coupled with other Sheppard pair as he'd be playable at price otherwise; jock should just follow Demonstrative and try to beat him from top of stretch home; very live for right barn.

Race 2

My Jimmy Chew Girl
Sire 35-398 (9%) 2yo FTS; 1st starter from route winner (41K, 0-9 sprint); 3rd dam SW Cupid's Way (156K); barn 3-11 (27%, $1.40 ROI) past 5 years 2yo FTS MCL dirt sprint Spa; 2 works match Frogman Mel (4th FTS MSW turf 42 Beyer BEL 7/12); 7/21 work matches Forbidden Talent (1st FTS 35K MCL 44 Beyer 8/9); can't discount.
Free Release
30K wnling, 60K RNA yrlng, 55K yearling; sire 37-304 (12%) 2yo FTS; route winner (39K, 0-1 sprint) has 2 winners from 2 runners (1-1 with 2yos, 1-2 with sprinters); dam 1/2 SW Full Mandate (192K, 0-2 at 2, 1-2 sprint), multiple G3 route SW Newfoundland (677K, 1-4 at 2, won debut, 0-1 sprint); barn 1-12 (8%, $1.02 ROI) past 5 years 2yo FTS MCL dirt sprint.
Crystal Rocket
3.2K shrt yrlng, 14K RNA yrlng, 57K 2yo after 1F work 10.1; sire 13% 2yos; multiple SW dam (213K, 2-2 at 2, 4-9 sprint) has 5 winners from 6 runners (1-4 with 2yos, 3-6 sprinters); dam 1/2 SP 2yo turfer Titan of Industry (152K); barn 2-24 (8%, $1.62 ROI) past 5 years 2yos MCL dirt sprint Spa; no match for Pletcher FTS both outings; perhaps more early zip.
Saratoga Karaoke
65K yearling; sire 143-832 (17%) 2yos; 1st starter from unraced dam; dam 1/2 multiple 2yo sprint SW South Bay Cove (259K), 2yo G3 turf SP Art Market (England), multiple SW Hello Maggie May (264K, 3-10 sprint); barn 1-3 (33%, $2.83 ROI) past 5 years 2nd-out 2yos MSW/MCL dirt sprints; bet hard and may have been compromised by poor break.
Two Step Flor
11.5K yearling, 20K 2yo after 1F work 10.2; sire G2 route SW (1.1M, 4-5 sprint, 2-8 with 2yo FTS); unplaced dam (0-1 sprint) has 1 winner from 2 runners (1-1 with 2yos, 1-1 with sprinters); dam full multiple SW Formal Arrangement (143K, 2-3 at 2, won debut, 2-6 sprint); barn 8-26 (31%, $2.55 ROI) past 5 years 2yo FTS MCL dirt sprint (0-2 Spa).
37K RNA wnlng, 30K yrlng, 50K 2yo after 1F work 10.3; 1/2 SW Tiz Gianni (173K) by 16% 2yo FTS sire; unplaced dam (0-1 sprint) has 3 winners from 4 runners (1-3 sprinters); dam 1/2 G1 route SW Paynter (1.0M, 2-2 sprint); barn 16-84 (19%, $1.29 ROI) past 5 years 2yo FTS MCL dirt sprint (0-1 Spa); solid pedigree.

Race 3

Sure had things going well this spring before posting a dud in the G2 Suburban; could be after a string of big efforts he was finally low on fuel, hence the fade; Pletcher has given him some time since and the works of late are most encouraging that he's goth is energy level back; class drop sure doesn't hurt, though this is by no means some easy spot either; interesting that after having blinks for so long he has them taken off today, and while Velasqeuz was up for his last 3 today he ends up on Pletcher's other horse (Vitoria Olimpica) instead, so read into that what you will.
Aussi Austin
First local try was a beaut as he pressed the pace, took the lead and just failed to last, finishing 2nd beaten just a nose; that was a tough group, too, so he's by no means out of his element here; that run also shows some versatility and his last 2 Beyers are career toppers so if anything he seems to be peaking for Rudy.
Superb in Florida last fall/winter and after facing in the G1 Donn he came back sharp with another CRC SW and a solid 3rd in a G3 at MTH; tried G1 foes again in the Whitney here Aug. 3 but that's probably the strongest race of the year for older horses and while this guy is good, the deepest end of the pool is probably beyond him; drop seems prudent and a return to his prior form can certainly make him scary, though you always worry how they're going to come back after trying hard and being overmatched as he was in the Whitney.
Easter Gift
Always had ability but he really came into his own this spring with a big win at PRX and big SW at PEN June 1, where he got a 103 Beyer; that begin said, after 3 straight wins he now hasn't been seen since that PEN SW (June 1); only local try came here 13 months ago and wasn't too hot, though he surely seems a better horse now than he was then; in fact, could be he's putting it all together and is working strongly for hot trainer Brown.
Vitoria Olimpica (BRZ)
Wouldn't be surprised at all to see him move forward; showed plenty of talent in his native Brazil, winning a G1 and G2 and being G1 SP; first U.S. try saw him on the lead, taking pressuure and he wilted late, but J.R. was up that day and ends up staying here which is interesting as he also rode this barn's Percussion last time out as well; it may also be noteworthy that Percusson appears to be the other main speed but you know the 2 Pletchers aren't going to go head-to-head; still, it's first time dirt, too, so not only does he face some toughies but the footing is a new wrinkle.

Race 4

Speed Read
Full multiple G1 SP 2yo Cribnote (216K, 1-4 at 2, 2-9 sprint) by 12-93 (13%) 2yo FTS; dam placed sprinting (3K, 0-2 at 2, 0-4 sprint) with 1 winner from 4 runners (1-3 with 2yos, 1-4 with sprinters); dam 1/2 G3 sprint SW D'Or Ruckus (418K, 0-3 at 2, 8-43 sprint); barn 3-7 (43%, $2.71 ROI) past 5 years 2yo FTS SMSW dirt sprint Spa; interesting.
75K yearling, 145K 2yo after 1F work 10.1; sire 20-169 (12%) 2yo FTS; 1st starter from sprint winner (76K, 0-1 at 2, 2-11 sprint); dam 1/2 multiple SW D'Wild Ride (622K, 0-1 at 2, 11-35 sprint); barn 2-9 (22%, $3.02 ROI) past 5 years 2yo FTS SMSW dirt sprint Spa; 7/5 work .01 faster Thatza Wrap (FTS WED R1); 7/12 work .01 slower than Thatza Wrap.
170K yrlng, 220K RNA 2yo after 2F work 21.4; 1/2 sprint SW Feeling Fancy (94K, 1-2 at 2, won debut) by 9% 2yo FTS sire; multiple sprint SP dam (356K, 2-6 at 2) has 6 wnnrs/7 rnnrs (1-3 with 2yos, FTS winner, 4-7 sprinters); dam 1/2 SP sprinter Midnite Rendezvous (71K, 2-3 at 2, won debut); barn 1-4, $9.50 past 5 years 2yo FTS SMSW dirt sprint Spa.
Sugar Gold
4K RNA short yearling; sire 30-329 (9%) 2yo FTS; placed dam (38K, 0-3 at 2, 0-12 sprint) has 6 winners from 7 runners (1-2 with 2yos, 5-7 with sprinters); dam 1/2 SP Final Bow (75K), multiple SW Jazzing Around (448K, 2-9 at 2, 6-16 sprint); barn 0-20 past 5 years 2yo FTS SMSW dirt sprint Spa.
Geaux Mets
75K yearling; sire 24-226 (11%) 2yo FTS; winning dam (86K, 0-5 at 2, 1-15 sprint) has 2 winners from 2 runners (0-1 with 2yos, 1-2 with sprinters); dam 1/2 G3 route SW Inherit the Gold (478K, 1-4 sprint); barn 1-11 (9%, $0.87 ROI) past 5 years 2yo FTS SMSW dirt sprint Spa; 7/31 work matches Hangingwithsonny (7th SMSW turf 31 Beyer 8/15).
Let's Discuss
1/2 SP Alpha J (82K, 2-7 sprint) by 16-232 (7%) 2yo FTS; unraced dam has 3 winners from 4 runners (0-1 with 2yos, 2-4 with sprinters); dam 1/2 multiple SW Pocket Cowboys (518K, 0-1 at 2, 0-1 sprint); barn 1-8 (13%, $1.90 ROI) past 5 years 2yo FTS SMSW dirt sprint; 7/21, 8/8 works match She's a Sizzler (FTS Wed R1).
2K yearling, 20K 2yo after 1F work 11.0; sire 0-29 2yo FTS; route winner (10K, 0-6 sprint) has 0 winners from 1 runner (0-1 with sprinters): dam full route SP Gone Goodbye (133K, 1-2 sprint); barn 0-11 past 5 years 2yo FTS MSW dirt sprint; 8/18 work matches Iratinelexburance (53 Beyer)
Noon Shadow
1.7K RNA yearling; sire G3 sprint SW (354K, 1-2 at 2, 4-17 sprint, 0-5 with 2yo FTS); unplaced dam (2K, 0-1 at 2) has 2 winners from 4 runners (0-2 with 2yos, 1-4 with sprinters); dam full multiple SW Ghostly Numbers (280K, 1-2 at 2, won debut, 5-15 sprint); barn 0-11 past 5 years FTS.
Push Ups
Sire 3-16 (19%) 2yo FTS; unraced dam has 3 winners from 5 runners (2-3 with 2yos, 3-5 with sprinters); female family multiple sprint SW Jazzy One (249K, 1-2 at 2, 7-36 sprint); barn 1-10 (10%, $2.56 ROI) past 5 years 2yo FTS dirt sprint; solid bloodlines.

Race 5

Strange placement in the hurdler last time and runner had to deal with the fallen foe; distance no concern and note runner flashed :45 and change speed in California; will probably have to improve big time to make an impact here.
Horvat Clan
Have always liked the claim back angle especially when you are talking a 24% barn; place horse in the last win cashed in an N1X at Suffolf, then was out of the money here in a $62.5K optional; he has the two races to draw from now and there very well may be enough speed here to help the cause; respect everything from this outfit.
Sam's Buck
This is his venue; decent effort two back, but it didn't really convince fans who made him 9-1 in last; dead aim at the top of the lane last time, he just could not carry on with the momentum; toss anything from a barn popping at 32% at one's own risk.
Never On Time
Repeatedly proven fresh, back on best surface and runner has the tactical speed to make his own luck if need be; show horse two back cashed 3 times since, the last in an N1X spot Delaware with a 77 Beyer; last race came back ultra live as the 9th and 10th finishers won for this very price and the 2nd and 3rd finisher took $25K claimers next out; expect much better effort.
Native Wave
Was in kind of tough on the cut back in last; given time after winning 2 in a row, he ran into the traffic jam in the 2013 opener and he did finish first vs. double this price foe before stewards got involved; runner that was put up on 6/22 was 2nd next out in a N1X at DEL beaten nearly 5; last angle to think about: Rocco is 7 for 23 the last year of so when getting a leg up from Dutrow.
Manacor (IRE)
Runner was tabbed at 15-1 on the morning line Wednesday in a $50K mile and a half turf stakes; 6th finisher in last took a $16K N3L fray next out and the winner repeated in an N1X at DEL with a 77 Beyer; the 7/5 show horse took a maiden $5K SUF claimer next out, then was third there beaten 4 in a $12.5K N2L event; invader looks live.
Empire-bred was protected last time when caught wide; trailer 5/27 won next but only in a $4500 N2L at FL, then ran out of the money twice; winner 5/27 won for this price next out with a 77 figure; he has a chance to grow with grace as kin to over $225K earner and 10-race winner Tothe Chase; don't ignore.
Won like shot out of a cannon for the last score but that may have just zapped him; he has yet been able to duplicate that Beyer; excuse of sealed sloppy strip in last and maybe he didn't like the rail; must pick it up.
El Season
Runner put wins together back in summer of 2010 and the last win was last year in a hurdler; with his style, he is pretty much at the mercy of how the race sets up and if he can find a lane to rally into in time.

Race 6

Attractive Ride
Seven-year-old gelding enters this race off of one of the stronger performances of his career, and even though that race was run over dirt, he's run well enough over turf in the past to suggest that he can maintain his sharp current form despite the surface switch; he's a top contender regardless of the surface he runs over.
He won off the claim for Ramsey and Maker last time and it's a little interesting to see Rosario retain the mount given new connections today; regardless, it does appear that this gelding will need to run the race of his career to handle the class rise.
Another in here that was claimed away from Ramsey and Maker and this tough veteran moves into a barn that is well known for success right after a claim; this barn has been a bit unlucky to have not posted more winners at the meeting while putting a lot of live horses on the track; interesting to see Castellano get the call for this.
Coach Royal
He put together a fine performance in getting the job done in his latest start, but that does appear to be about as good as it gets for him, and he will need a sharper run to get over on the top contenders in this spot.
Continuing with the theme of horses being claimed away form Ramsey and Maker, this gelding will be making his first start over turf since September 2011; this is an outfit that has been quiet at this meeting, but they were doing nice work from limited starters this year prior to the beginning of this meeting.
Street Fight
He owns the early speed to play a role in the way that this race shapes up, but he's going to need to step it up over his recent form if he's planning on keeping up with the top contenders through the stretch; looking toward others.
Cheyenne Nation
Feel that he's the more interesting of the two Rodriguez-trained horses in here, and this veteran is making his first start for this barn after a claim as well; that was a solid field of 35k OPC's he faced in his latest start, and really a fine run for his second start back from a very long layoff; Velasquez has won with 23 of 85 (27%) mounts for this barn in 2013.
Irish Lion
Grade 3 stakes placed runner appears to be at his best racing over a fast dirt surface and his recent form over turf hasn't been strong enough to suggest that he can get the better of this bunch, respect the fact that he hails from a high win percentage barn, but others entice more.
Z Dager
He carries multiple graded stakes placed credentials with him and he appears to be taking a well meant drop in class for this; three of his five turf starts have been in the neighborhood of what it might take to win this, and Ortiz has piloted Bill of Rights to a couple of recent turf wins for this barn.
Box Office
There are a number of horses signed on in here who have shown the ability to run well over dirt and this gelding will need to bounce back from a performance that was well below par for him if he's planning on getting the better of these.
The long layoff is an obvious concern, but can't ignore that he's making his first start for the Jacobson barn, and this is a veteran runner who has faced some tough competition in his career; Cohen does get his share of live calls from this outfit.

Race 7

Sire 13% 2yo FTS, 13% 1st-turf; dam G3 route SW (347K, 1-3 turf) with 0 wnnrs/2 rnnrs (0-1 turf); barn 2-10, $2.92 pst 5 yrs 2yo FTS MSW turf sprint Spa; 2 works match The Careless Cat (5th FTS MSW turf 61 Beyer 7/22); 2 works match Tempers Flair (6th FTS MSW turf 36 Beyer 8/4); 8/12 work match Divorce Party (1st MSW dirt 54 Beyer DEL 8/17)
Sumba Sunset
1/2 G3 turf SP Aaroness (Ireland, 134K, 1-5 at 2, 2-21 turf) by 8% 2yo FTS, 11% 1st-turf sire; dam won route at 2 (14K, 1-3 at 2, 0-1 turf) with 3 winners from 4 runners (2-3 with 2yos, 3-3 turfers); dam full turf SP Weepnomoremylady (118K, 1-3 at 2, won debut); barn 1-3, $11.00 pst 5 yrs 2yo FTS MSW turf sprint Spa
510K weanling; full SW Quiet Dance (224K, 1-5 at 2, 0-2 turf) by 131-1267 (10%) 2yo, 195-2103 (9%) turf sire; unplaced dam (0-2 turf) has 7 winners from 14 runners (1-10 2yos, 2-8 turfers); dam 1/2 G1 2yo turf SW Minstrella (358K, Europe), G2 SW Misty Gallore (479K); barn 0-18 past 5 years 2nd-time 2yos turf; vet scratch 8/4.
90K yearling; sire 32-257 (12%) 2yo FTS, 24-277 (9%) 1st-turf; dam won sprint (121K, 1-7 at 2) with 1 winner from 1 runner; dam full G1 route SW Careless Jewel (1.0M); barn 2-21 (10%, $5.96 ROI) past 5 years 2yo FTS turf (0-7 sprint); 6/1, 6/9, 6/15 works match Clever Beauty (6th FTS MSW dirt 49 Beyer 8/11).
Best Friends
140K RNA yearling; sire 32-258 (12%) 2yo FTS, 41-314 (13%) 1st-turf; 1st starter from placed dam (29K, 0-1 turf); 2nd dam G1 SP router Unbridled Lassie (170K); barn 1-3 (33%, $14.79 ROI) past 5 years 2yo FTS turf (0-2 sprint); 8/5 work matches Sartorius (31 turf Beyer)
Sky Painter
Sire 8% 2yo FTS, 11% 1st-turf; 1st starter from multiple G2 route SW (489K, 0-3 at 2, 0-3 turf); dam 1/2 multiple turf SP Brushed Gold (115K, 2-5 at 2, won debut, 3-11 turf, 1st-turf winner); barn 1-9 (11%, $2.24 ROI) past 5 years 2yo FTS MSW turf sprint; 3 works match Divided Attention (5th FTS MSW dirt 50 Beyer 8/11)
Super Sky
80K yrlng, 235K 2yo after 1F work 10.1; 1/2 turf SW Dyna's Lassie (182K, 0-1 at 2), route SW Princess Arabella (188K, 1-1 at 2) by 18% 2yo, 12% turf sire; dam won sprint (6K, 0-1 turf) with 6 wnnrs/7 rnnrs (3-5 2yos, 2-4 turf); dam full G1 SP router Invisible Ink (465K, 1-3 at 2); barn 1-4, $1.50 pst 5 yrs 2nd-out 2yo MSW turf sprint; solid debut; logical.
Camden Jane
4.5K yearling; sire 6-63 (10%) 2yo FTS, 2-49 (4%) 1st-turf; dam won route (74K, 0-1 at 2, 0-13 turf) with 2 winners from 3 runners (0-2 with 2yos, 0-2 with turfers); 3rd dam multiple SW Chatta (86K); barn 0-15 past 5 years 2yo FTS MSW turf sprint; 7/20 work match Al's Gal (10th FTS MSW turf 59 Beyer 8/18); 8/3 work .01 slower Al's Gal.
Go West Marie
52K 2yo after 1F work 10.0; sire 12-83 (14%) 2yo FTS; dam SP sprinter (128K, 2-6 sprint) with 1 winner from 2 runners (1-2 with 2yos, 1-2 with sprinters); female family G2 sprint SW Time to Explode (247K); barn 0-21 past 5 years 2yo FTS dirt sprints.

Race 8

With Sugar On Top
Moves to the fence while taking on older for the initial time after encountering a little trouble in her first local spin; filly did show some ability on the lawn earlier in the year and sophomores often improve this time of the season, but she'll need to in order to step with this bunch.
Free as a Bird
Had things her own way early over a local course with some give in it but didn't have enough left late and settled for the runner up spot at the shorter trip last out; filly doesn't look to encounter all that much early opposition here and the inside draw does figure to benefit her on the stretchout today; a couple of sharp interim breezes suggest she's on her toes for this; one to beat.
Filly has been on the improve from a Beyer standpoint since hitting the lawn last fall and she did suffer through a wide trip behind a moderate clip here last time; she wasn't too far off the pacesetter, who returns here as well, in that one and she did take a stake the last time she was sent longer than 8 panels.
Floral Romance
Four year old has had only a handful of well spaced starts and she's been working regularly of late for a sharp fresh outfit that calls upon a top local pilot for her return; she did look quite good beating cheaper at this trip second out in Florida and maybe they'll be able to resort to the one run tactics that were effective for her there in this spot; consider.
Viva Rafaela (BRZ)
Took plenty of money in her North American debut and though she didn't get much pace in front of her, wasn't beaten much at the wire; she's had more than 3 weeks to get over that return from the break and this outfit excels with its runners second time back; she's a G1 winner at 10 panels in her native Brazil so she certainly has a right to improve second time at this 2 turn trip.
Mariel N Kathy
First part of the coupling led them every step of the way until just failing to last in each of her 2 recent 9 panel spins including most recently from the local fence; filly has been on her best game of late and her early foot could have her in a good tracking spot from the bell in this one; can last for a piece of this.
Malibu Yankee
Hood comes off for her local debut for an outfit that's had some luck from limited starters at the stand; filly has been quite good on the green, having never finished off the board over the footing, but now she'll make her first start in nearly 9 months and she looks to catch a decent bunch; her late kick could get her involved for a minor award, but she may not be set to offer her best first time back.
McGaughey mare has been stuck in this condition for over 2 years and the recent layoff lines suggest she has her issues; local winner did make a nice run into a slow clip at a shorter trip in her downstate finale last time and she has earned a handful of minor awards at the level so she's clearly a fit; boasts some sharp recent breezes for her return and a top pilot sticks with her.
MTO looked good beating cheaper in the Belmont mud the last time she stepped on dirt and she broke her maiden over a wet track here first time out last summer; Pletcher barn does well on the surface switch and this gal's recent breeze suggests she's set to offer more; one to consider from close range if the rains come.
Geisha Gal
MTO didn't have a lot to offer from the fence in her return to the local lawn earlier in the month; her most recent dirt spin 2 back wasn't bad and given her tries on the local green last summer maybe thestretchout to this 2 turn trip would benefit her.
Flash Forward
Barn's other half was runner up in each of her last 2 retricted stakes routes including most recently at this trip; winner of her last returned to run last of 5 in the G1 Alabama here last weekend; MTO does look to fit pretty well at this level and she did break her maiden the lone time she stepped over a wet track; looks to be the one to hold off if this gets moved to the dirt.

Race 9

2 solid tries in spots like this here this meet stamp him a proven commodity and good fit; yes, he's 0 for 10 here but surely a race like his July 22 effort would make him pretty darn tough; speed on the rail is never a bad thing and he's not a need-the-lead type, either.
2 for 3 on the turf here so that's sure nice; that being said, things didn't go so well this winter and now he hasn't been seen since march 30; returns for a tag, yes, but he's hardly a giveaway for this kind of price; surely if he comes back with his best turf form he can be a player here, but after his form earlier this year and the long layoff that's no small 'if', is it?
Wee Freudian
Continues his solid form, though it's a tad disconcerting that he hasn't won since March 2012; 1 for 5 on turf so he handles the sod, but it may not really be his best game; freshened since a decent 3rd in a spot similar to this at BEL July 3 and at least Rice is sharp off the layoff and there's a real nice 5f work here Aug. 16 to say this guy is doing well.
Kept to his task nicely vs. N1X foes on the MTH sod Aug. 3; has some versatility and he ran well (3rd) on this course over a year ago; Beyers have moved up this year and he's reunited with J.R. and the last time these 2 got together they ended up posing for pictures.
Mr Rosenthal
Pressed the issue before finishing a well-beaten 3rd (beaten 10 3/4 lengths) on the BEL sod July 14; you can be a bit forgiving, though, as not only was he on the pace but it was his first start since last November; now has that run under his belt and he shortens up to a sprint, a game he's handled well before; still, he likely needs a forward move to be a player.
May have turned the corner; form was dicey this winter/spring but then came a nice 2nd at 20-1 vs. claimers on the MTH sod; he then whipped claimers on turf there June 29, came here and promptly backed it up by beating NY-bred N1X foes July 29; has loads of speed and a bullet :35.60B at MTH Aug. 15 says he holds his edge.
Rattled off 4 straight wins before fading at BEL June 22; that all came on dirt and after that he was freshened, came here for a race like this and was a very nice 2nd; looks lke the freshening did the trick and that last run shows this footing plays just fine for him; has speed and versatility, too, which gives rider Alvarado options.
Got the year off to a fine start with a nice dirt win on AQU's inner but things have been spotty since; at least his 4 other career wins have come on turf (3 of them here and at this trip) but he didn't really shown the old spark in his 2 July outings; at least there's no panicky drop by Aquilino and maybe moving back in to face NY-breds only can get him back on track...maybe.
Quick Money
First 6 starts of the year were very nice including a couple sharp 2nds in turf sprints at BEL; then tossed in a clunker there July 3; maybe after a busy stretch he was out of gas so Rice opted to give him some time off and regroup; it's encouraging she brings him back in a spot like this, and he has a couple nice recent works to indicate he's feeling good; that being said, his only 2 local starts weren't his best.