Today’s card at Hawthorne features eight races — including one on the grass, since it still has yet to freeze at Hawthorne. In most of the races I have a pretty strong opinion of who I like best (or, in a few cases, who I oppose the least?), though the 6th is just as wide-open as a nice juvenile maiden race ought to be.
Here are my selections, with short notes on each race below:
Race 1: None of these maidens has shown much so far. At least Surfrider Beach (2) comes in off a lay for strong layoff trainer Roger Brueggemann, gets strong maiden rider Edgar Perez aboard, and takes a class drop from tries at Ellis and Churchill. Be prepared to either single him, or go very deep. Queen of the Sword (3) intrigues most of the rest; she took a lot of money on debut, and stands to improve on the cut back from a route to a sprint, plus the class drop. Crooked Lady (1), Money Attraction (4), Sassy and Regal (5), and Carablanca’s Dance (7) have all shown a bit of speed, at least.
Race 2: With quite a bit of speed in this race, Ms. Zenergy (2) should be able to sit off it and take over when the front-end tires. Julio Felix, the leading rider, has the call. The worry comes from how well the track played for speed yesterday, but there’s no true standout in the speed brigade. To back up just in case, Chanceymeetinuhere (3) is the most appealing of the speeds — she’s not the most consistent, but she likes the distance and is a Fairmount horse who can bring some form north. Just Sky (5) overcame a bad break against similar company to finish third last out, and typically shows more speed. She’ll be a great price, too. Alyczara (1) is a possibility as a defensive use — her form is questionable and the move to a sprint makes me wonder if Manny Perez is grasping at straws here, but she does love the track and does come third off a lay.
Race 3: Kalispell was a standout, but she scratched. Either single Hal’s Mischief (7) as speed in a short field or hit the ALL button. There’s little to differentiate the rest.
Race 4: With scratches, this turf allowance has a field of ten. With so much speed in the race, Solar Flair (3) stands to mow them all down. He has been in strong form, shows strong late pace, and can set himself just about anywhere. This is a class rise, but he has done well in salty starter and starter-optional fields, and his numbers are competitive against this allowance group. On class, he should also go off a good price — so in addition to leaning on him on multis, he should be a solid win bet proposition as well. Mendota (8) often does well on the lead, but his race two back suggests he can also rally from off the pace if he has to. That versatility helps here. Hesmakingabigscene (10) has been in good form, as well; he is a dependable off-pace type, and may be able to finish the job if Solar Flair has an unlikely off day. Hart Hills Road (2) is not much of a win type, but is another who gets a pace setup, and also gets Julio Felix aboard. Arch Rivalry (9) will be part of the pace, but has some game up front, and his best races put him right with this group at an enormous price. Moonlight Mischief (4), also an enormous price, does his better work on firm going. He gets that today, and he has also shown some ability to rate.
Race 5: Shobiz Star (5) was second at the same level and distance last out, and winner Side Pocket franked the form by winning again on Thursday. He also has some pace versatility. Rail-drawn Lethal (1) gets the always-dangerous Julio Felix aboard, and may get enough pace to run down. This is his best course and distance. Super Twenty Three (2) may be the most inconsistent horse on the circuit, but his best races put him right in the mix, and he has run some solid ones lately. If the track is playing for speed like it was much of yesterday, he has a shot.
Race 6: This maiden race for two-year-olds is replete with classy first-time starters — it’s the biggest spread race of the day. St. Peregrine (4) is the top selection. He showed some speed last out, just weakening late, but returns here with that under his girth — and first-time Lasix. Though he loses Edgar Perez, Carlos Marquez is a solid rider, and solid with maidens. Awesome Asher (3) is a first-timer for the Larry Rivelli barn, and has a solid worktab leading into the race. Lee’s Luck (7) is a price shot — but he showed some speed in his last two, and took a big step forward last out when stepping up from a claimer to a state-bred MSW. Blue Sky Kowboy (1) drew the dreaded rail, and his dam does not suggest the most precocity, but he has been working well and he lured Edgar Perez off a good Brian Williamson horse. Forgot to Forget (2) comes from a solid first-timer barn, has some solid works, and one of his half-siblings (Shalimar) won first out at two. Country Cool (6) is clearly the Brian Williamson B entry, but the works are solid, and Williamson does well with first-timers.
Race 7: With the scratch of Hollywood Script, it leaves razor-sharp Show’em Pop (1) as the lone A. He won’t be right on the front end, but he will be close, and the horse he beat last time (Paddybdancing) returned to win earlier this week. He also comes in third off the lay. The scratch of Hollywood Script helps Hey Hey It’s D K (4) a lot; though his recent form at Indiana is dicey, he has solid form at the distance, and he is a bit easier to trust on the front than the off-form W W Orient. Indy Awesome (6) likes the track and the distance, though may be a bit underlaid given his questionable recent ability to seal the deal. Limestone (3) is as plucky as a horse can get, but if any horses earlier in the day show the ability to close, his recent form has been competitive here.
Race 8: Holy Bullex (3) ought to win this on the drop to the softest class level of his career. He comes here third off the lay, has speed but an ability to fight or stalk, and the six and a half furlong distance should hit this Munnings son right between the eyes. Papa Bravo (8) comes in second off a lay, and has an outside shot should there be a bit too much speed in front of him. La Prado (6) is another who hopes for some pace in front of him, but he has been solid in two starts this meet and he gets Julio Felix back aboard. Rail-drawn Handsome Sean (1) is a price shot, but he comes in second off the lay, and makes some sense if the track continues playing heavily for speed.