Check back here for daily selections on some the best races from coast to coast provided by track handicapper, Jessica Paquette.
1. DIABLO’S DARLING 2. PRINCESS ROSE 3. QUEENOFTHECHANNEL
DIABLO’S DARLING was a huge upset winner on this turf course last year – she won at odds of 56-1. She proved last time out that was not a fluke performance and ran a good race to finish second though at not quite the same generous odds. Her speed is very effective on this turf course and she has proven she should not be overlooked. It is easy to root for PRINCESS ROSE – she is the daughter of local legend Ask Queenie. Her last race was not inspiring but she caught an exceptionally tough field and should find this group much more manageable. She is better than that race may indicate and could offer some value here. QUEENOFTHECHANNEL ran a very good race last time out and was second as the favorite in a competitive field. It was a solid step in the right direction for this well bred mare and prior to that she had been keeping some very tough company in New York. She has a good turn of foot and should be poised for a repeat performance.
1. TAKE CHARGE JAKE 2. RIPE 3. MUTARAAMY
TAKE CHARGE JAKE is tough to overlook even though he will likely be the overwhelming favorite. He was much the best in only his second career start and broke his maiden handily in June over this track. With only two starts, he has a lot of appeal at this level as he seems at this point like a horse who can still roll through his conditions. RIPE seems like an obvious contender here – he broke his maiden only two starts back over a solid field including a horse who came back to win. His first try against winners was competitive and off of that form, he looks very tough on the drop in class. He has some back class and may be too much horse at this reduced level. MUTARAAMY is one of the more consistent horses here and has been catching respectable fields in his recent starts. He should find this field within his scope and while he has had plenty of chances to get that second victory at this point, he still seems like a logical contender.
1. SHACKLESON 2. SHANGAI STORM 3. THERESAS BOY
SHACKLESON has not been the most consistent horse so far in his career but he has shown enough ability to warrant some consideration here. Of his four starts, he has had two solid efforts and has shown he can be competitive on both turf and dirt. He needs to do better off of his last race but is worth a look. SHANGHAI STORM has turned a corner since switching to the turf and both starts this year at Laurel on the lawn have been competitive. He has effective tactical speed and if he takes to this course, he should be a big front running threat. THERESA’S BOY is getting some class relief after a poor performance last time out. Though that effort was not great, this group should be more within his scope and he has run well enough on several occasions to warrant a look.
1. PLAY BIG 2. GITIDONE 3. ORBIT
PLAY BIG was much the best during our racing weekend in June and went gate to wire over a large field. Since then, he has had a really game runner up effort and seems to be in sharp overall form. His best efforts come on or near the lead and you can expect him to be a factor early though he may have some opposition out front. GITIDONE had a really game performance last time out and a repeat of that will make him a contender. He was game in defeat and was able to make a positive step in the right direction. He has some tactical speed and will be a top threat with another step forward. ORBIT has so apparent excuses for his last race but with only a handful of starts this year still has some room to improve. His form was really consistent last year and a return to that will make him a contender on or near the lead.
1. KHAN OF KHANS 2. EVERYDAY DAVE 3. INDIAN BUCKS
KHAN OF KHANS is better than his last race may indicate and this classy veteran has at least one more trip to the local winner’s circle in him. He is a true war horse – 12 years old, over 100 starts and physically looks better than some horses literally a quarter of his age. He has an impressive local record over this turf course and his natural early speed always makes him a contender. EVERYDAY DAVE is the model of consistency and shows up and runs his race nearly every time. He is well proven over this turf course and is impossible to leave out of the exotics. He is a difficult horse to key on top, though. He should be able to hold his own here and may offer some value.INDIAN BUCKS was a game second, beaten only a nose, in June and since then had an average effort against a tough field at Laurel. While he is not the most consistent, his local effort was sharp and if he can run back to that he will be right in the thick of things.
1. VISKI JONES 2. WHITE MISSILE 3. PIRATE BEACH
VISKI JONES ran a good race last time out and could get overlooked and offer some value here. He has been a model of consistency and has performed well over several very different types of turf courses. He may actually want a little longer of a race but should get an honest pace scenario here. WHITE MISSILE did everything right in his local debut and delivered as the favorite. He answered the question of whether or not he can be effective on this turf course and his speed translated very well. That was only his second start of the year and he may even continue to improve as he rounds further into form. He is stretching out slightly here and the added distance may be a question mark. PIRATE BEACH will need to make a step forward off of average recent form to be a contender but the ability is there and he had several competitive efforts at Gulfstream in the spring. He seems to have some useful early speed and if he takes to the turf he could be part of the early pace.
1. AVICII 2. EVEN BETTE
AVICII is making her first start since being claimed out of a good runner up effort in June and this mare has been very popular at the claim box. She also has an interesting back story – she was one of the horses that survived the fire that swept through San Luis Rey Downs in January. This mare is all class and her impressive career record speaks for itself – 9 wins and almost $400,000 in earnings against good company. She should be a top contender here. EVEN BETTE needs to make a step forward off of her last race but she has some back class and did have a very good effort locally last year. She has a sharp turn of foot in her better races and should have some pace to run at in this spot.EXPLOSIVE CANDY has a lot of upside here making her second start of the year. This barn hits at 20% second off of the bench and after an encouraging return effort last time out, this one looks poised for a big effort.
1. BISHOP’S CASTLE 2.. LOYALTY SPIRIT 3. BOPPIN ANDA WEAVIN
BISHOP’S CASTLE definitely seems like an all or nothing type of horse when competing over hurdles. His recent record is spotty at best but this looks like a good spot for him to get a conditioning race on the flat. He got over this turf course very well last year and if he can make a step forward, he should be able to be a factor here. LOYALTY SPIRIT lost all chance at the start last time out when he reared straight up at the break. That race can be totally tossed out and if you can overlook that, he could be an interesting contender here and should be able to give a better account of himself. His turf form last year was really solid and his race last time out was his first off the bench – he has plenty of room to improve.BOPPIN ANDA WEAVIN is making his first start off of the claim and is an interesting horse stretching further out in distance. He’s well proven locally and while a mile and a half may be a question mark, his preference for this turf course makes him tough to overlook.
1. . HOLIDAY BOY 3. VENTURA HIGHWAY 3. RECALIBRATING
HOLIDAY BOY could offer some value here – he is switching back to the main track after a respectable effort against a tough field on the turf and should fit with this group. He is very capable on the local main track and after returning off of a layoff this year, he seems to be getting sharper with each race and could be sitting on a breakthrough performance. VENTURA HIGHWAY has been on the board in three of his five starts this year and this royally bred gelding should be able to hold his own and get a piece of it here as well. He has a top class pedigree and while he didn’t pan out as a world-beater, he has had a very productive career and could offer some value.RECALIBRATING is making his second start back off of a minor freshening and may move forward off of a solid third place finish in June. Though not the most consistent, his Gulfstream form was good against better and he should be a contender for live connections.
1. PANAMA PAPERS 2. MASCARELLO 3. BARHANPOUR
PANAMA PAPERS needed a little more last time out and was fourth as the favorite. It looks like he caught a really strong field that day and he is capable of holding his own at this level. It is worth noting also that he has some serious pedigree – he is out of a half sister to Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice. MASCARELLO is making his third start of the year and will try to improve after a lackluster effort last time out. If you can overlook that, his comeback effort was very competitive and a return to the consistent form he showed in New York last year will place him squarely in contention. He is a versatile sort of horse and can be effective on the lead but has also shown the ability to rate and that should work to his advantage.BARHANPOUR (FR) has been primarily a steeplechase horse in recent years but was a quality horse at a high level on the flat in California early in his career. There is plenty of back class there and this gelding has stamina for days.
1. MOON GATE WARRIOR 2. MASTERKEY 3. PEPPI THE HUNTER
MOON GATE WARRIOR is coming out of a strong runner up effort in an overnight stakes race at Parx and this gelding has been a popular horse at the claim box. He has some back class and has been consistent against solid competition with three wins this year. He should fit well here and seems like a logical contender. MASTERKEY turned in a solid effort in his local debut and likely needed the race off of a seven month layoff. He should be even sharper in his second start back and it is tough to knock his consistency – he was on the board in all ten outings last year and shows up and runs his race nearly every time. PEPPI THE HUNTER was very game in victory last time out and will try for a repeat performance. He returned to action this spring off of a year long layoff and seems to have found his best stride in his last two starts. He may have some company on the lead but he may be the quickest of the front runners here.
1. LIKEAGIRL 2. HIGH HEELED 3. SAINT THERESE
LIKEAGIRL looks well spotted here and is a better horse than her recent form may suggest. She had two very strong efforts over the local turf course last year and while her last couple of races have been average, she has been catching some tough fields and should be able to hold her own here. It is worth noting that she got claimed away from this barn last year and they went in and got her back and that often speaks to the quality of a horse when connections are willing to claim them back. HIGH HEELED has been on the shelf since a victory in September on the turf. This barn prepares them well off of similar layoffs and her worktab has been steady.SAINT THERESE is stretching out and switching back to the turf. There is both turf and distance pedigree there and overall her form has been too consistent to overlook. She has been primarily successful recently sprinting on the main track but seems to be in overall good form.
1. DR. BLARNEY 2. BROKER’S PRIZE 3. JC INDY
DR. BLARNEY is a star. He is one of the most brilliant horses to come out of the Massachusetts breeding program in recent memory and has been unbeatable on the local main track. He has won this race for the past two years and has somehow gotten even more impressive as he has physically matured and developed. Since his stunning victory in the Rise Jim Stakes in June, he has clocked a sharp bullet workout and all signs point to another strong showing from this popular gelding. BROKER’S PRIZE was second in this race last year and will try to turn the tables on his rival here. While that is a formidable task, he did turn in a sharp effort to win over a quality field of Mass-bred horses in June and seems to be in good form. JC INDY seems to be getting better and better as he gets older and with only two starts this year, he could be poised for a peak effort. He can hold his own at this level and is as consistent as they come.
1. WORTH THE WORRY 2. GRADY 3. SPECTACULARSOCIA NO
WORTH THE WORRY looks like the one to beat here and the cut back in distance from a flat mile to a sprint should only work in his favor. He is by far the most accomplished horse in this race and this multiple stakes winner has maintained a consistent form for years. He is winless since last May but has been catching the formidable Dr. Blarney in most of his starts. GRADY is another contender here with a very respectable resume and this seven time local winner may be continuing to round into form as he makes his third start of the year. He does need to make a step forward but looks well spotted here. SPECTACULARSOCIANO has some upside making only his second start of the year and should improve significantly in his second start off of a layoff. His best efforts come on or near the lead so expect him to be forwardly placed and a front running contender.
1. WEE BONNIE LASS 2. THE GRANGE 3. QUEEN COURAGE
WEE BONNIE LASS has run well enough in both starts since switching to the turf to warrant some consideration here. While her most recent effort was flat, her race two starts back was competitive and a return to that sort of performance should place her squarely in contention. She has plenty of turf influence in her pedigree and the surface switch makes sense. THE GRANGE is interesting here – while she is an eight year old maiden, she is a maiden on the flat only. She actually won a race over hurdles in 2015 so the ability to win is there. Her form has been spotty at best but she should move up back on the turf and stretching out in distance. QUEEN COURAGE has one of the better recent records in this wide open group and has hit the board in five of her seven tries this year. So far, she has not run well on the turf but if she handles the surface she should fit class wise.
1. INCLUDE GOLD 2. RISE TO THE TOP 3. DOINWHATSHELIKES
INCLUDE GOLD looks like a logical contender and is coming into this race off of two strong efforts in a row. She returned to action off of a six month freshening and appears to have really rounded into form. She delivered as the favorite at the end of June and her tactical speed should work to her advantage. RISE TO THE TOP will try to rebound off of a disappointing effort locally last time out. She had a sharp win two races back at Mountaineer and may have bounced off of that effort. She put together a very solid, consistent campaign last year and if she can return to that sort of form she should be a factor. DOINWHATSHELIKES was third locally last time out and it looks like she caught a legitimate field – the runner-up has already come back to win. She has some back class, comes out for live connections and should move forward off of that last race.
1. EMILIANA’S HOPE 2. MANHATTAN JACK 3. REPITITIOUS
EMILIANA’S HOPE ran a great race locally last time out and just missed by a nose as the heavy favorite. Though she got beat, it was an encouraging performance and she benefits having had a race over the surface. She is facing male rivals today but should be able to hold her own and has proven herself to be a game, hard-trying sort of filly. MANHATTAN JACK is trying winners for the first time and will also be switching surfaces to the turf for the first time. While those are two big unknowns, his maiden win came in only his third career start and it was a sharp performance despite being overlooked at the windows. He has enough turf influence in his pedigree to make a case for him here and he could surprise. REPITITIOUS was much the best last time out and will try for a repeat performance. He seems to have really rounded into form this year since returning off of a layoff and going back on the lawn. He has some back class and has proven himself over the local turf which gives him an advantage over several rivals.
1. GALLIANO 2. PAPA JOE’S LADY 3. WONDERFUL FINISH
GALLIANO is coming out of a winning effort and will try to make it two in a row. Off of that race, she has one of the better recent records in this field and has been on the board four times this year. She may have some company out front but her early speed should be effective.
PAPA JOE’S LADY has some sharp early speed and has been on the board in three of her seven starts. Her dam is a half sister to local star Technically Wicked and she may be a front running threat. WONDERFUL FINISH has not had a wonderful start to either of her races this year and it looks like she does have a history of getting into some trouble at the start. Though she went winless last year, she did have several competitive efforts and if she can break reasonably well, she should be able to hold her own here.
1. OVERWHELMING 2. DIPLOMAT 3. JUNONIA
OVERWHELMING is a quality horse through and through. This royally bred gelding is out of Grade 1 winner Oh What a Windfall (a half sister to millionaire, champion and top producer Heavenly Prize) and has put together a solid career over fences. He has a good foundation coming into this race with three races under his belt and his fitness should be exactly where it needs to be to land him right in the mix for the win. DIPLOMAT is a very accomplished racehorse and it is not every day we get a Grade 1 winner here. He had an excellent 2017 campaign and will be making his first start of the year as he prepares for Saratoga. JUNONIA is one of the least experienced horses here but comes out for a world class outfit and has a loaded pedigree. This gelding has already shown a good deal of ability and will be trying to earn his first victory here.
1. CLASSIC WILDCAT 2. FIELD SENSE 3. PERFECT DISCO
CLASSIC WILDCAT is a really cool warhorse – he is twelve years old and has 98 starts under his belt. He has earned almost $475,000 and has done so the old fashioned way – in the allowance and claiming ranks. He is making his first start off of the claim here and while his form this year has been average, he had five wins last year so it looks like there is some gas left in the tank. FIELD SENSE had a strong runner up effort last time out and has some upside here making his third start off of a layoff. He seems to be rounding into form and improving with each effort back and could be sitting on a big effort. He caught a tough field two races back in his comeback spot and looks live here. PERFECT DISCO was claimed out of an average effort last time out and will try to make a step forward and return to what had been otherwise competitive form.This gelding won six races last year and is better than his recent form may indicate.
1. MINI HERO 2. THE TWO NANCY’S 3. TEARLESS
MINI HERO made her first start since October last time out and ran a good race to finish second. She likely needed a race off of the bench and should be sharper in her second start back. She has some back class and while not the most consistent, she was keeping good Mid Atlantic form last year and should fit well with this group. She does her running from off of the pace and should benefit from some speed in this race. THE TWO NANCY’S is making her first start since being claimed out of a front-running victory locally in June. She was much the best as the heavy favorite and will try to make it two in a row. If she can break sharply and open up a clear lead again, she looks like she is the type that gets brave on the front and will be tough to reel in. She is stretching out to a mile and making a step up in class but is proven on this turf course. TEARLESS has gone winless from five starts this year but has been catching some in form competition and has been consistently holding her own. She has some tactical speed and if she gets over the turf course may be a strong contender.
1. MISSION OF HONOR 2. HARD HITTER 3. SOUTHERN CROSS
MISSION OF HONOR took quite a few tries to break his maiden but finally did so in May and quickly added a second win to his resume with a game victory last time out. He has the pedigree for local success – his dam Technically Wicked was a New England champion and routinely one of the toughest mares on the grounds. The cut back in distance is the biggest question mark because like his dam, he does seem better going long. HARD HITTER looks like a logical contender coming out of a good runner up effort against similar last time out. It was a step forward off of his recent form and he looks like he is heading in the right direction. SOUTHERN CROSS will try for two in a row after a sharp victory last time out. While he has not been the most consistent, he has a good turn of foot and a repeat of his last effort should make him a big factor.
1. PARKER’S PROJECT 2. LORD JUSTICE (IRE) 3. NO WUNDER (GB)
PARKER’S PROJECT is returning to action off of a long layoff – he was last seen in November of 2016 but this veteran gelding has an impressive resume and at one point was holding his own against the very best steeplechase horses in the country. The fitness level off of such a layoff is a question mark but this looks like a logical comeback spot for this professional to get a leg up before the action starts at Saratoga. LORD JUSTICE (IRE) looks like a horse who is on the verge of becoming a major force to be reckoned with in the top ranks. He has been the model of consistency since coming over from Europe and seems to have class, athleticism and stamina. NO WUNDER (GB) looks like he is coming into this race with a solid foundation and with three good efforts so far this season, he figures to be a top contender.
1. PRINCESS DREAM 2. JEB 3. MISS WILBY
PRINCESS DREAM will try to avenge her loss in this race last year. While she may be better sprinting, a mile should be within her scope and she is too talented and too consistent to overlook. She is yet another in a long list of stakes winning homebreds for Mrs. Patricia Moseley and looked very strong in her gallop out after her victory in June.
JEB is always a factor here and could offer some value. She was really game in defeat last time out and could turn the tables on her rival here – she is very capable going two turns and could gain an edge with the added distance. She is extremely consistent and has developed into a quality racehorse both against state bred and open competition.
MISS WILBY is better than her last race may indicate and physically gave a career best impression last time out. She won this race last year and while her form is not as strong this season, she improves dramatically around two turns and shouldn’t be overlooked.
1. CHAOTIC BULL 2. SEVENTYSEVENWILOW
CHAOTIC BULL is an amazing warhorse with an impressive local resume – he is a former New England champion and has always been a force to be reckoned with both on turf or dirt, going long or sprinting. At ten years old, this veteran is showing no sign of slowing down and he has been in solid form all year. He loves this turf course and should be a top contender for live connections. SEVENTYSEVENWILOW could offer some value here if he is able to improve off of average recent form. He did have a couple of sharp victories at Tampa earlier in the year and while he has been primarily more successful on the main track, he can hold his own on the lawn and could fill out some exotics at a generous price. CAMDEN STREET has only had two starts this year and will be returning to action off of a five month freshening. If he can rebound and return to form, he has always gotten over this turf course well and is better than those recent races may indicate.
1. DESERT SAFARI 2. SAINT ANNA 3. LOU TASS
DESERT SAFARI delivered as the heavy favorite over a similar field to break her maiden in style and earn her first stakes victory. This lightly raced filly seems to be improving with each start and will try to make it two in a row.
SAINT ANNA did everything right last time out and should be a source of real competition for Desert Safari. This filly has a ton of early speed and broke her maiden in front running fashion in a state-bred stakes race at Finger Lakes in her debut. She was game in defeat last time out and these two can fillies can renew their budding rivalry.
LOU TASS will need to show a little bit more to be a contender for the win but seems to be improving with age and experience.