Another long week at the office, another chance for salvation playing the ponies Friday night at Hollywood. We’ve got 8 races tonight, and as you all know Friday nights never seem to go as expected. I thought I’d offer up my thoughts on each race on the card.
Saturday’s going to be the main day of the weekend with the running of the Hollywood Gold Cup – unfortunately Heatseeker has just scratched from that race – there goes your logical single in the pick 6 sequence. I’ll have more on that race early tomorrow morning.
For now, let’s focus on tonight’s action.
Race 1: Clm 25000 N2L – F+M 3↑ (1 1/16 Miles)
- #2 Canonita (8/5*)
- #4 E Bee Girl (5/2)
- #3 Angel’s Reward (3/1)
Small field to deal with in the opener due to the scratch of Discover Dolly along the rail. This means no trifecta wagering will be available. I think the exacta here is pretty simple with Canonita and E Bee Girl. Theoretically Angel’s Reward could get a good enough trip to factor into the equation as well. I was going to use Notacharlie’sangel underneath in the trifecta, but alas none will be offered in the opening race.
Race 2: Md 25000 F+M 3↑ (6 1/2 Furlongs)
- #3 Dice Afare (2/1*)
- #8 Warren’s Cookie (5/2)
- #5 Party Punch (6/1)
Things get a bit more interesting in the 2nd race of the evening. My copy of the DRF purchased on Thursday had Warren’s Cookie predicted as the favorite, so I was a tad bummed to see that honor went to my top choice Dice Afare. Dice Afare has the class drop from Md 40000 to Md 25000 and that last race was encouraging for a debut. It’s hard not to like the combination of Vladimir Cerin and Rafael Bejarano. Look for improvement tonight in her 2nd career start. Warren’s Cooke has obviously been knocking on the door and has every right to blow through it tonight. I’d cover her name on the multi-race exotics as well. Party Punch looks useful underneath for the exactas and trifectas. I don’t think she can beat the top two choices but she should be involved in the outcome of the race and a minor award seems likely. I’ll probably toss in Foxy Lady as well on the bottom of the trifecta ticket.
Race 3: Clm 8000 F+M 4↑ (6 Furlongs)
- #3 Gone Californian (9/5*)
- #1 Hotitude (6/1)
- #8 Early Anna (7/2)
Bottom rock claimers are featured in the third race of the night. Gone Californian has run well since dropping to this level and looks to be tough to defeat tonight. Her form looks good, she likes the track, and I’ve got no concerns about the sprint distance of 6 furlongs. Hotitude is admittedly a risky choice as 2nd pick, but I think this 4 year-old can move forward off her 2008 debut on June 7, which really wasn’t that bad considering the time she had spent on the shelf. I’d prefer some faster workouts from my 2nd choice in a perfect world, but then again bottom rock claimers aren’t usually associated with a perfect world, are they? Early Anna’s a horse that has burned me in the past. I think she has to be considered here still, but I’ll shy away from making her a top pick and getting burned again. I could see her getting a good trip today and she should be a part of the trifecta when all is said and done. Spy Aly also warrants look warm excitement here. She’ll have to hold on for dear life to hang on for a money placement it would seem, but it wasn’t long ago that she would’ve crushed this field.
Race 4: Md 25000 3↑ (6 Furlongs)
- #2 Tigley (4/1)
- #5 Dynaquake (3/1*)
- #1 Peace Prospect (7/2)
The fourth race looks like the most wide open of the early pick 4 sequence. Really I think any of these three guys can get the job done. Tigley might seem an odd top choice, but I can’t ignore that combination of jockey Smokin’ Joe Talamo and trainer Brian Korimer. They’ve paid dividends for me before and judging from the workout lines they appear to be on a live one again tonight. Dynaquake looks plenty useful as well against this competition. He earned place honors in his first try at this level last time out andtakes the hood off tonight. I expect to see improvement from this guy under the guidance of jockey Michael Smith. Peace Prospect warrants consideration based largely off the class drop. He’s run against Md Sp Wt foes and $50k maiden claimers in previous efforts and ought to find the competition here easier to handle. I’d like to get a good look at the outside horse, Joshua’s Dream, in the post parade. Eric Guillot is hard to ignore with a first time runner and this son of Johannessurg looks ready to roll.
Race 5 Clm 25000 4↑ (5 1/2 Furlongs)
- #2 Grey Black N White (5/2*)
- #4 Capte Town King (3/1)
- #5 My Friend Luis (7/2)
Hard to get too excited when your top three choices come up 1,2,3 on the morning line as well. Grey Black N White drops in class (note, as does virtually the entire field tonight) and exits four very solid performances in a row. He’s got speed, but he may not absolutely need the lead to still factor here. He is a 7 year-old, which does concern me, but on paper he seems the best of this field. Cape Town King may scare some bettors off. Whenever you see that dreaded double-lined layoff bar, you know you need to get a good look at the horse in the post parade before pulling the trigger. Thankfully we’ll get a chance to see him before launching the late pick 4 wagers. It’s not hard to see how he fits here if he returns anything like his former self. The workout tabs and the abilities of trainer Jeff Mullins have me intrigued that he just may come back strong enough to defeat this group. My Friend Luis is going to need some pace to run at, but he may get what he needs if Scottish Diamond and Grey Black N’ White were to go at it up front. It’s hard to back a closer at the distance of 5 1/2 furlongs, but he’s handled it before. Still, I think of him more as an underneath play in the exacta and trifecta wagering. I’ll add Scottish Diamond into the equation underneath as well most likely.
Race 6: Md Sp Wt 50k 3↑ (1 Mile – Turf)
- #3 Ginobli (7/2*)
- #5 Unvarnished (5/1)
- #9 Pop’shands Are Hot (9/2)
The second leg of the late pick 4 looks plenty dangerous for horseplayers. We’ve got a lukewarm favorite in #3 Ginobli – who we saw last Friday night running well for 2nd place to Zetterberg at the $52k level. Obviously you’ve got to respect his chances tonight after being nosed last out. Note that last race was also against open competition as compared to tonight’s race against only state-bred rivals. Usually that can be considered an angle in the horse’s favor. Unvarnished might get overlooked a bit at the windows. He’s got some speed and has yet to turn in his best effort. It’s a bit of a risky play, but perhaps Corey Nakatani can guide this one around the track for his best trip thus far? Pop’shands Are Hot has an interesting up and down progression of Beyer speed figures. Bejarano’s gotten some of his better runs out of him and they reunite tonight. Not sure what we’re going to get with this guy but he felt dangerous to leave off. There’s actually several other horses in here that I think have a good chance of making things interesting, including I Am Game, Mark the Bench, Tulip’s Dandy, and I’mblendednotshaken. Yeah, that’s pretty much the whole field, so I’ll likely pass on the trifecta wagering or play a really cheap ticket straight up and hope for some luck.
Race 7: OC 62k/N2X F+M↑ (6 Furlongs)
- #3 Highland Torree (5/1)
- #2 Brendolyn (5/2)
- #4 Overly Tempting (7/5*)
We’ve got a short field for the 7th race tonight, but interesting nonetheless. I wound up liking chalk yet again here with Overly Tempting, but don’t take this gal at too short a price as she hasn’t held on for a win since December. Still, she does have speed and you know she’ll be a part of things until someone comes and gets her. Working against her is the horse to the outside, Wickednwackyingrid could be pressuring her early on. If she does, trouble likely awaits. If she gets away clean, Overly Tempting could well wire this field. Brendolyn was the horse I thought would get the best tactical trip and look to pounce turning for home. True, she doesn’t have the best synthetic form to support a win wager (0 for 4), but her last two efforts over the artificial surface look strong enough to me. Highland Toree is quite dangerous here as the upset player. Note that she’s only 3 but has defeated older horses. That smacks of talent inside her. Enough so that I made her my top choice. Giddy-up!
Race 8: Md 25000 3↑ (6 Furlongs)
- #10 Peeka Buddha (3/1)
- #7 Cavanaugh (5/2*)
- #6 Kerzner (4/1)
We finish the evening with…you guessed it – more maidens! Cavanaugh is the favorite and will take a lot of action at the windows based off 3 straight in-the-money finishes in a row as he’s dropped in class – culminating in a 2nd place finish by 3 lengths last out. Yeah, he’s a player in here for sure, and the field doesn’t look tough on paper, but I would’ve preferred a better showing off the class drop last time. I’ll use him, but I’ll go elsewhere for my top pick. That honor will go to #10 Peeka Buddha – a first time starter for trainer Brian Korimer that was a $115,000 purchase. As noted in the DRF “closer look” comments – I’m not really sure what he’s doing debuting against such soft competition, but I’ll take it. The workouts look decent and breaking from the outside should ensure a clean start for the debut runner. Kerzner was my third choice but I’m not really excited about him. Just the best of the rest really. I’ll probably think of using Toppler as well underneath, unless someone else makes a favorable post parade impression. Don’t expect too much though – these are 25k maiden claimers.
So there you have it – best of luck to everyone and as always be sure to check for late scratches and changes. I’ll be back tomorrow with more Hollywood Park coverage – including Daytona earlier in the day and Tiago, Student Council, and Go Between in the Hollywood Gold Cup.