We are halfway through November, and yet the weather has not gotten particularly cold. It has been windy this week, a big help in drying out the turf after storms earlier in the week, but the temperatures still remain in the 50s.
The card features eight races, including one on the grass, as well as a maiden race. There are two allowance races, including one which drew a field strong enough to be a prep for the Blackhawk Handicap at the end of the month.
Without further ado, here are my thoughts on the card!
Race 1: $10,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, N2L, one mile and seventy yards on the dirt, post time 2:10pm CST
Selections: Wildwood’s Afleet (2), Y Ya Gottabedatway (4), Ogee’s Ekati (1)
Scott Becker wins and wins and wins with class droppers, and here’s another one. Third against tougher going six furlongs, he stretches out to the longest distance of his career, but should be able to handle it being by Northern Afleet out of a Congaree mare. This speed figures are good, and with Turbulent War likely to make things a little fun for Y Ya Gottabedatway on the front, Wildwood’s Afleeet should be running them down late. Becker’s A jockey Chris Emigh, 30% in the last two months with Becker, rides. Y Ya Gottabedatway looks the speed of the speed, and has E. T. Baird in the irons. He faltered on the grass last out, but hung on for second after being on a contested pace two back at this distance, level, and course. He finishes second far too much to love on top, but has to figure. Ogee’s Ekati should have first run on the speeds, and does have a win at this track and distance two back. He also revers to rider Carlos Montalvo, who booted him home in that start.
Race 2: $15,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, N2L, five and a half furlongs on the turf, post time 2:40pm CST
Selections: Runaway Soul (5), Raining Diamonds (8), Goddess of Kip (7, undersides)
Runaway Soul was third against similar at Arlington in her first start off a yearlong lay. She has done her best work in turf dashes, having hit the board in five of seven. She has speed figures that contend with this set, and with no shortage of speed right on the front end, she should be able to sit cozily a few lengths back and then make a run. Finally, her last four works have been five furlongs, suggesting she will be fit. Raining Diamonds looks the best of the speedy contingent. She gets top speed rider E. T. Baird in the irons, and has a decent run against harder company the only time she ran with give in the ground. She gets that again today. Goddess of Kip has a touch of the second-itis, but class and course affinity suggest she should hit the board today. She has been second in all four of her tries on the Hawthorne grass, and though she has typically been going long, she has hit the board in a turf dash before as well. She gets current regular rider Carlos Montalvo back, and trainer Tom Swearingen has a 23% win rate (5-23) on the Hawthorne meet.
Race 3: Allowance optional claiming, three-year-olds and up, open with an optional $65,000 claiming price, six and a half furlongs on the dirt, post time 3:10pm CST
Selections: Armando’s Star (1), Helooksthepart (4), Purging the Stone (2)
I discuss this race in the most recent Chicago Railbird, and much of the analysis still stands. However, there was a huge scratch: the original top selection, Goesse. Without Goesse to send to the front, there is really only one real speed horse left in the field, and that’s Armando’s Star. He moves way up as a result. He has shown form from the rail before, and though he had ended up a presser in many of his races this year, he showed true front-end form at two. He was off the board in his one try at six and a half, but it is worth given him another shot given how well he ran in a one-turn mile try at Arlington this summer. Below him, the commentary on Helooksthepart and Purging the Stone over at Chicago Railbird stands.
Race 4: Allowance ($21,000 purse), three-year-olds and up, non-winners of $9,800 once OR a state-bred race other other than maiden, claiming, or starter, OR N2L, six and a half furlongs on the dirt, post time 3:40pm CST
Selections: Better Shine (1) , Smokey Row Mac (2), Flasha (4)
This race drew very little in the way of speed, leaving it open for Better Shine to send and go as long as he can. He has not tried six and a half furlongs before, but did win at a flat six last time out. That came from off the pace against weaker, but that is not his usual race shape. Most times, he is forward. He is also consistent — on the board in eight of his last ten starts, with some speed figures that contend with this allowance bunch. Smokey Row Mac is the only relatively short-priced horse who appeals at all here. He is relatively well proven at six and a half furlongs (6-2-1-1), and has hit the board in five of nine at Hawthorne. Last out, he finished second at this same level, chasing Chicago Son all the way around. Santo Sanjur returns to the irons from that outing. Flasha comes in second off a freshening. He was well beaten at this level last out, but has rattled off a couple of works since then and should be fitter. He has a win and a second in two tries going six and a half furlongs, and stands to improve on the stretch back out from a flat six panels in his last.
Race 5: $17,500 maiden claiming, two-year-old fillies, Illinois-bred, six furlongs on the dirt, post time 4:10pm CST
Selections: The Cake and I (6), C J’s Ruler (1), Causing Smiles (8)
The Cake and I is backed by the potent team of Michael Reavis and Tim Thornton. He got walloped by stablemate Run Mickey Run in his last two, but won’t have to deal with that one here since Run Mickey Run graduated last out. The Cake and I was second last out after ducking at the break; if she gets going better this time, she should beat this soft group. She stays at six furlongs, she keeps the blinkers on, and she stays at the right level. C J’s Ruler comes out of the same race The Cake and I does; she was an even third. Her pedigree suggests more precocity than anyone else in the field; C J’s Ruler is half to a first-out winner at two (Tazi’s Brother) as well as a second-out winner at two (Easter Miss). She would need to take a step forward to win here, but given that this field is weaker than her last race (despite it nominally being the same level), it should not be a large one. Causing Smiles is a first-time starter, the only one in the field. She gets a seven-pound weight break for having the bug aboard, and trainer Brian LaMew occasionally sends home some bombs in maiden races. She has been working regularly, with her last two at five furlongs. This is little to go on, but the rest of the field is so dubious that taking the new shooter has more appeal than anyone else. Still, if playing a multi-race — go two deep on The Cake and I and C J’s Ruler, or consider pressing the ALL button.
Race 6: Starter optional claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, starters for a claiming price of $5,000 or less in 2014-2015 OR claiming price $12,500, six furlongs on the dirt, post time 4:40pm CST
Selections: Indian Artifact (5), Eileen Evelyn (6), Dustem Carolina (3)
Races rarely get saltier than this one. Most of the horses make sense, and have an argument to be made. However, Indian Artifact looks well set to succeed here. She drops in for the lowest level she has tried since she returned for the fall, a level at which she was well competitive back in the spring. She was third last out against $18,000 optional company, and that was at six furlongs in the mud. Here, she cuts back to six furlongs (at which she is 30-7-7-2 lifetime), over a track where she has hit the board in 13 of 23 starts. Regular rider Santo Sanjur returns. She should be well placed close to more frontrunning types — especially important if Eileen Evelyn or Dustem Carolina does not send after Enchanted Facts — and her late pace is strong. Eileen Evelyn has been streaking. She is a winner of her last three, including an absolute romp in an open $10,000 at Keeneland last out. Her form is solid over the course and the distance, and she gets a switch to 20% rider E. T. Baird. She is in the best form of her life, and though this is the toughest field she has faced in years, she fits. Dustem Carolina is another who comes into this race on an absolute tear. She has won her last three, her last win having come in an open $8,000 over this same distance and course. She is another who has been facing weaker than this, but is in the current form to be competitive. She should be forwardly placed, and her lines at Hawthorne (14-4-6-1) and at the distance (11-3-4-1) have been sharp.
Race 7: $5,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, N3L, one and one sixteenth miles on the dirt, post time 5:10pm CST
Selections: Atomic (1), W W Orient (8), Ascendancy (6 – undersides)
For my full analysis of this race, read the latest Chicago Railbird.
Race 8: $4,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, non-winners of two races in 2014-2015 OR non-winners of a race since November 14, 2014, six and a half furlongs on the dirt, post time 5:40pm CST
Selections: One for Biscuit (2), Papasote (4), Coolride (10)
One for Biscuit has the best six and a half furlong form of anyone in the field, with a 34-3-10-5 line at the rather specific distance. He finished up the track last out going six and a half, but that was over the slop. His recent efforts at the distance over fast dirt and even all-weather have been better. There is enough speed with the likes of Crypto Gulch, T J’s Folly, and Faithful Gift that he should get something to chase, and he should be a price given his last two races. Third off the lay, he finally gets his distance and surface, and he figures at a square price. Papasote comes into the race with the best recent form of anyone, and should be able to stalk relatively close to the pace without getting tied up in a fight. Though he hasn’t won going six and a half panels, he has hit the board three times at the distance. Rider Jim Bielby is in good form, trainer Chris Dorris is a 24% winner on the meet, and Papasote is probably the one to beat here. Coolride was second last out against $5,000 N1Y types, and stretches out half a furlong from that today. He has not tried the distance yet, and though he has typically run shorter, six and a half should be well within the abilities of a Candy Ride out of an Eskimo mare. He will be the shorter priced of two entries from trainer James Jackson, but he is the one in far better form, and the other (T J’s Folly) should be among the set who gives Coolride some pace to attack late.