Fall weather is finally upon us…it’s not quite November weather yet, but it is in the fifties, still sunny, and a comfortable day for both man and horse. Racing is back on the turf after being off yesterday; they’re calling it yielding, and there are three races on the green stuff. The feature is one of those turf races, an N1X allowance-optional turf dash for the filly and mare set. The card also has a lot for anyone who loves maiden races — there are three, including a special weight for juveniles.
Without further ado, here’s a look at today’s card!
Race 1: $10,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, N2L, six furlongs on the dirt, post time 2:10pm CST
Selections: Daddy’s Wildflower (1), Chero (2), Miss Classy Girl (4, undersides)
The light may possibly have come on with Coco Gia, but in her first try against this condition, taking an underlay is hard if there are better price options out there. Rail-drawn Daddy’s Wildflower appeals at a price. She finished fourth beaten only 1 3/4 lengths against tougher last out, and on a day when speed was king, she closed from well off the pace to get that close. She should get plenty of speed here, with Canadian Candy and Coco Gia to run at. Chero should be a little closer to the pace, but still out of the fight on the front end. Interesting here is that Chris Emigh rode both Coco Gia and Chero last out, and opts to ride Chero here. Emigh remains the top rider in the colony, and he wins 20% of the time going short. Miss Classy Girl is not much for winning horse races, having a 1-14 record, but she has been second or third eight times. This includes a 9-1-1-5 line at this distance. Last out she missed the board, but it was her first start since May. Here she comes in second off the lay, and should be sharper.
Race 2: $20,000 maiden claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, post time 2:40pm CST
Selections: Miss Post Oaks (5), Gilded Argument (1), Hi Ho Heels (8)
Miss Post Oaks faltered at six panels on the dirt last out, but that was against maiden special company. Here, she drops back down to the claiming ranks, and cuts back to a turf dash. She tried a turf dash once before, at Arlington, and finished 2nd beaten just a head in $15,000 maiden claiming company. She is third off the lay, and if that race two back suggests turf dashes are her bag, she contends at a price. Gilded Argument raced once before in maiden special weight company, and drops in for a tag for the first time. She also goes first-time Lasix (a 13%, +ROI instance for trainer Brian Williamson), and first-time turf (16% winning angle for Williamson). She is making the right changes, and should improve. Hi Ho Heels is a first-time starter, which appeals in this relatively weak field. She runs for trainer Gerald Aschinger, a 21% winner on the turf who has been selective yet live (6-2-1-0) in picking spots this meet. The worktab is long, and sire Kitalpha does get the job done 12% on the turf. Though Kitalpha is more of a route sire, there is some speed on the bottom, as she is out of a Bold N’ Flashy mare.
Race 3: $5,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, N3L, post time 3:10pm CST
Selections: Zip’s Moondance (2), It’s a Great Life (7), Edging (4)
This race has plenty of speed, with My Man Richie, Edging, and Zip’s Moondance all fast on the front, but Zip’s Moondance is likely the fastest of the bunch, and did come from a couple lengths off in his maiden win. Although he hasn’t delivered on the promise of a juvenile maiden win at the Spa last year, this is an easier set, and he wired $5,000 N2L company with a race good enough to beat this set. The switch to E. T. Baird is a positive sign, and he should beat this bunch. He won’t be much of a price, though; if you want to take a bit of a swing, do it with It’s a Great Life. He beat $5,000 N2L company decisively last out, and keeps Tim Thornton in the irons. He has a solid enough 6-2-0-1line over the Hawthorne main, and can rally from a bit off the pace if Zip’s Moondance gets caught in a speed duel. With the scratch of Freakin Rocket, Edging is the best of the rest. He has some versatility, able to run well from the front or from off the pace. He has a win over the Hawthorne dirt course back in the spring, and ran a solid and troubled third against this level company last out.
Race 4: $20,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, three years old OR N3L, one mile on the turf, post time 3:40pm CST
Selections: Risk and Return (6), Cernobbio (2), A Nice Slewish Boy (4)
In this paceless affair, the possible return is well worth taking a risk on Risk and Return, 15/1 on the morning line. He comes in second off the layoff, and takes a class drop from optional $25K/N1X company last time out. Without much in here who can do anywhere near their best work on the front end, the fact that Risk and Return had a close-stalking maiden win and a front-end N2L win speaks volumes. There was no way he would get anywhere near the front end last out, with a speed demon like Rivzinthehouse in the field, and going just five panels. Here he stretches to a mile, a distance at which he has won before, and strong front-end rider Juan Molina could get the lead and wire at a huge price. Cernobbio has sent in a lot of his back races, but has figured it out in his last two starts as a stalking to midpack type instead. It took him 22 tries to break his maiden, but he followed that up with an N2L win in $15,000 company the very next time out. that last-out win came at Hawthorne, going this same turf mile trip. He should be in range, and his form could carry him. A Nice Slewish Boy tried allowance company last out, going a mile over yielding turf. He rallied from the clouds to finish fourth, beaten only 3/4 length for all of it. Chris Emigh returns to the irons from that trip. A Nice Slewish Boy faces easier here, and his recent speed figures fit the field well. He does have a win at a mile over the Hawthorne grass, and is in the form of his life. The lack of pace hurts, but he has been able to rally before into paces not especially fast, making him attractive among closers.
Race 5: Maiden special weight ($20,000 purse), two year olds, six furlongs on the dirt, post time 4:10pm CST
Selections: Wanna Danze Lady (6), Veracious (2), The Tascosa Kid (1)
Even before the scratches of G F Budders and Roguish Gray (my original second and third selections), Wanna Danze Lady appealed the most of this bunch. He still does. He has a half-sibling named Julia S who won first time out at age two, and though trainer Hugh Robertson’s debut maiden special weight rate is just 3% in his last 34 starts, half of those horses have hit the board. They do come ready to run. He has a long worktab as well, and should be fit to make an impact against this set. Veracious, a regally bred 2nd time starter for Eoin Harty, does have some precocity in his blood. He is half to Sky Mesa, who won first out at 2, and half-brother Monthir also won third time at two. The race he comes out of has proved key: 2nd place Runningfromthefeds broke his maiden next time out, and winner Force It turned around and won an allowance at Churchill last week. This field is weaker. The Tacosa Kid is the other Hugh Robertson horse. He has a long work tab leading into the race, and his second dam won first time out at age two. Against what remains of this field, he should figure.
Race 6: Allowance optional claiming ($21,000 purse), three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, non-winners of $9,800 once other than maiden, claiming, starter, or state-bred allowance OR N2L OR $16,000 claiming price, five and a half furlongs on the turf, post time 4:40pm CST
Selections: Spring Formal (8), Henry’s Song (10), Fort Prada (12 – undersides)
For my detailed analysis of this race, read the latest Chicago Railbird.
Race 7: $8,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, post time 5:10pm CST
Selections: Life Is a Ride (4), Lydia’s Angel (3), My Moment (1)
Life Is a Ride has been one of the most consistent horses in the state. In ten starts this year, she has three wins, and has been in the money all ten times. She is 15-4-6-1 lifetime at this six furlong distance on dirt, as well. She finished second beaten three lengths at this level last time out, and rider Juan Molina (who has ridden her last three starts) returns here. Her stalking style should keep her out of the likely front-end fireworks, but close enough to make a run in this short field. This adds up to a strong contender. Lydia’s Angel comes in first off the re-claim by Michael Reavis, from whom Leonard Slager claimed her back in the spring. Reavis took her back out of an open $5,000 race last out, which she lost by just a nose, and goes back up to $8,000 here. It is a step up from what she has been facing, but her speeds are good, she gets Tim Thornton back in the irons, and is another who has a shot to sit just off the pace. Rail-drawn My Moment gets Chris Emigh, the hottest rider on the grounds, back in the irons. She tends to fire well from the rail. She could prove the speed of the speed and just send, but she has also run well coming from a few lengths back, giving her a few outs here. She drops from allowance attempts in her last two starts, but was competitive against $16,000 beaten company during the summer at Arlington. Still, she’s not just a polytrack pony; she has two wins on the Hawthorne dirt.
One note on Lacey the Spartan. The re-claim angle is strong for her; Steve Manley took her back out of her last race, after two starts for Jere Smith. She also has a close second two starts back at this level. Still, with all the speed in here, and the fact that she needs to be right up on the lead to win, this looks like a suboptimal setup.
Race 8: $17,500 maiden claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, one mile and 70 yards on the dirt, post time 5:40pm CST
Selections: American Merlot (3), Sedge Pond (9), Dessa Native (6)
On paper, this race does not appear to have a lot of early pace, and American Merlot may provide that. She gets the weight break for having seven-pound bug Killian Hennessy aboard, and also tries first-time dirt. Trainer David Hinsley has also been having a solid meet, having marked up a 24-3-4-4 line so far. Sedge Pond drops back down in class here after running in maiden special and higher-priced maiden claiming company at Indiana Grand and Arlington this summer. The recent upward trend in her speed figures encourages, as does trainer Aaron West’s 15% win rate with runners coming in off a lay of 90 days or more. She ships up from a training centre in Kentucky, and it is probably not just so the trainer can enjoy a good Chicago hot dog. Dessa Native drops in for a tag for the first time. She was running in $25,000 maiden-optional company at Indiana Grand against Indiana-breds. Still, she hit the board twice in three tries against that set, and in two out of those three races, none of the horses were up for a tag. (In the other, only one was.) They were basically maiden specials. Dessa Native stretches out to a mile here, and it stands out that Santo Sanjur is riding this one and not the Hinsley horse, given how well Sanjur and Hinsley have been firing this meet.