Preakness day is over. After a long, eventually rainy day, we find ourselves three weeks out from another Triple Crown bid, as American Pharoah got home in the slop far ahead of Obligatory Dallas Stewart Bomb Tale of Verve.
Today, full attention turns back to the local track, and its full card of eight races. The racing is back on the turf today, over yielding going, despite a bit more rain overnight.
With that said, let’s go to the races!
Race 1: $7,500 claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, one mile on the polytrack
Selections: Bars n’ Stars (4), Fort Suprise (2), Artistic Touch (5)
For my full analysis of this race, read this weekend’s Chicago Railbird.
Race 2: $25,000 waiver claiming, three-year-olds and up, N2L, six furlongs on the polytrack
Selections: It’s a Great Life (1), Too Tall (2), Sandro (4)
This race lacks much in the way of early speed; none of the six runners have done their best sending to the front early. It’s a Great Life broke his maiden from close to the early pace two starts back, and also crossed the wire second beaten a head in a maiden race while battling for the lead most of the way. He has the best early speed credentials here, and could wire from the rail. Too Tall has not missed the board in three starts at six furlongs, and cuts back to that distance this time out. He faltered badly the only time he sent, but that was against far tougher — Arkansas-bred stakes types, not $25,000 N2L types. Trainer Ingrid Mason wins at 26% with positive ROI with dirt to all-weather moves, and if Too Tall can handle polytrack, he will be the most serious challenger to It’s a Great Life. Sandro faces older for the first time, though he was facing relatively classy company in the three-year-old ranks. He has hit the board in four of seven starts at this distance, and gets a positive rider change to Florent Geroux here. Sandro stalked close to the pace in his maiden win; if he does that again, he should not leave himself with too much late.
Race 3: $35,000 Allowance Optional Claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, non-winners of $9,800 twice other than maiden, claiming, starter, or state-bred OR N3L OR $35,000 claiming price, one mile on the turf
Selections: Zubi Zubi Zu (4), Zipso Facto (3), Jennifer J. (1)
Zubi Zubi Zu comes in third off the lay, and into the first race back that really fits her wheelhouse. She returned in a turf sprint two back, and then tried (and didn’t like) dirt last out. Here she cuts back to a mile, and goes back to a surface she likes. Even though she has not yet won on the turf, she has turned in some sharp efforts on grass, and should break through today. She also has the versatility to set the fractions or come from off, though expect her to do the latter with the likes of Jennifer J., Seeking Treasure, Tiz Lately, and Arden Natalie here. Zipso Facto loves turf miles, having garnered all four of her wins at a mile on the grass. She acquitted herself well against allowance company at Tampa this winter, and ran out of room last out at Keeneland. Stretching from five and a half furlongs to a mile should help her here. Jennifer J. drew the rail, and looks like the speediest of the speedy in this field. She has been able to acquit herself well on a contested pace, and has never fired a bad race either at a turf mile (4-1-3-0) or on the Arlington grass (5-1-4-0). She cuts back to a mile here, which should get her to improve off her last few efforts at longer.
Race 4: $5,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, non-winners of two races since August 17, 2014 OR non-winners of three races since May 17, 2014 OR N4L, one and one sixteenth miles on the polytrack
Selections: King’s Fortune (1), Eternal Ruler (3), B. L.’s Tsumani (6)
King’s Fortune won against similar last out, and has strong speed for the field. There is enough in front of him, even with the defection of Tall Grass Cat, that he should be able to run late; he does not need a total meltdown to do well. His 7-4-0-0 career line on the Arlington poly inspires confidence, and he also has three wins at a mile. Eternal Ruler is another off-pace type, but he may just be faster than these. He drops into the easiest company of his career, and even though the class drop makes him difficult to like (he won against open $8,000 company last out), he is second off the lay with a sharp rider in Florent Geroux. It will be his first synthetic try, but he does have a win at the distance on turf. B. L.’s Tsumani looks like the speed of the speed given the scratch of Tall Grass Cat, and he has a solid 19-6-5-1 line at the mile distance. He gets Vicente Gudiel back from a second-place effort last out, and if he can outgun Ideal Alluvial early, he should be there at the end. It is speculative, but the price will be right.
Race 5: $12,500-$10,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, one and one sixteenth miles on the turf
Selections: Distant Mesa (2), Seneca Destiny (4), Mission Storm (7)
E. T. Baird with the speed of the speed is hard to oppose — especially with the price Distant Mesa will likely bring. She drops drom allowance company last out, but finished second behind tougher last out. She also stretches back out to two turns; she was running well in starter optional and even allowance optional company at two turns last fall. Though she has done most of her best on other surfaces, she still has a win and two seconds in seven grass starts, suggesting she is versatile enough to handle it. Seneca Destiny drops in class here, and should be fast enough to have Distant Mesa in her sights. She has two wins in four starts at the distance, and three on the grass. She beat allowance company at Sam Houston two back, and faces the easiest company she has seen since last summer. Mission Storm should be the beneficiary if Distant Mesa and Seneca Destiny get into it on the front end. She has three wins at the distance and three wins over the Arlington poly, and consistently strong late pace for the field. She also comes in third off the lay for hot trainer Larry Rivelli, who strikes at 19% in that situation.
Race 6: $25,000 maiden claiming, three-year-olds and up, Illinois-bred, one and one sixteenth miles on the polytrack
Selections: Disorderly Conduct (4), Joe’s Legacy (9), Wooly ‘n Wild (7)
Taking a nineteenth-start maiden is the stupidest thing you can ever do — unless that horse is making a significant change. Disorderly Conduct is doing exactly that here. He has never raced at a route distance, and stretches to two turns for the first time today. He also re-drops for a tag after two state-bred special weight tries for Tammy Domenosky, who claimed him three starts back. He has hit the board in four of his seven starts on all-weather; given that he is trying something so new against a field so much slower than he is, Disorderly Conduct is worth one more try. Joe’s Legacy is lightly raced, but takes his first try on polytrack and his first for the Chris Block barn. Block hits at 21% in maiden claimers. He has had trouble at the start early in both of his starts; if new rider Mitchell Murrill can give him a better start, this four-year-old half to Luv Bandit could be there late at a price. Wooly ‘n Wild tries polytrack for the first time here for trainer Brian Williamson, who hits at 15% with runners shifting from grass to all-weather. The switch to Florent Geroux is a positive one, as well, and he is one of the faster in this bunch.
Race 7: $50,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, N3L OR three years old, one mile on the turf
Selections: Showersofblessings (3), Be Playful (4), Kitchen Boss (10 – undersides)
Showersofblessings drops in from facing tougher at Tampa, and finished a respectable second behind a very good horse (Prado’s Sweet Ride) last out. She can set the fractions or stalk just off of them, a helpful bit of versatility especially since the only one-way speed (Bellarada) scratched out. She has never been worse than second in a turf mile, and been second in both starts over the Arlington grass. Those were both sprints, and she has improved going long. Be Playful acquitted herself well in allowance company at Tampa last out, and cuts back to a mile here. Both her wins have come at turf miles, and she should be stalking close to the early pace. She has been improving through her first few starts of her four-year-old year, and one more step forward makes her strong here. Kitchen Boss has not won a race since June of 2013, but her speeds are solid. She is a closer who almost always fires, and she reliably hits the board. Both of her career wins have come at Arlington, as have most of her money finishes. The long time between drinks makes her unattractive on top, but she is a logical key under.
Race 8: $16,000 starter allowance, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, starters for a claiming price of $16,000 or less since May 15, 2013, five furlongs on the turf
Selections: Julie Darlin (5), Spring Formal (2), Fayreen (1)
For my full analysis of this race, read this weekend’s Chicago Railbird.