After going through the card, my top play of the day is one I’ve already written about in detail at Picks and Ponderings: Twirling Cinnamon (9) in the Sanford (GIII). Even with the scratch of Paynes Prairie plenty of pace remains in the race, and he should get something to run at. His professionalism in his maiden win impressed me, and he should be ready to roll in stakes company at a solid price.
Another interesting race is the 8th. The race is a $65,000 N2X allowance optional at a mile and a sixteenth on the grass. Two horses stand to take a lot of money in this race: Zambian Dream (4) and Taghleeb (3). Both are deserving, to an extent. Zambian Dream has back class from Chile (he was Il Campione’s punching back in the three-year-old stakes in Chile last year), and uses Lasix for the first time. His works are good, but he has been off since October of last year. If he fires first off the lay he could contend, but that’s a hard gamble to make at a short price. Taghleeb looks the most likely winner of this race; he has been knocking on the door against similar in his last three starts, and trainer Kieran McLaughlin has been doing well lately. The pace should be moderate here, and though Taghleeb is an off-pace type, he does not need a hot pace. Classwise, he fits very well, and is a must-cover in multi-race bets and the top rung of intra-race exotics.
However, for a contest or a high-risk, high-reward win bet, Ocala Jim screams value at anywhere near his 20/1 morning line. He has struggled a bit through the spring, but none of those races were at his best distance: 1 1/16 miles, the trip he gets today. Furthermore, he racked up a first and a second in his two starts at the Spa last year, showing an affinity for the track. The rider change also weighs positively. He gets Jose Ortiz aboard. Ortiz racked up a pair of wins at the Spa yesterday. In five starts for trainer David Donk over the last two months, he has three wins and a +$9.90 ROI to show for it. You could do far worse than this when swinging for the fences.