HORSEPLAYERS JOURNAL – MONDAY, MARCH 29 – Robert Reid Jr.
BEST BET: Race 7 – #8 BOTTOMOFTHENINTH
Race 1: 1-6-9-4
#1 MASS ABRAKADABRA was trotting well under the wire last time in finishing fourth to a much-thebest Hope So on March 22nd. She got away seventh off the gate and followed rivals around the oval until she moved third-over around the final turn. This filly came forward when shown clearance in the stretch and really got rolling in the final sixteenth. She came her back-half in 58.1 with a final quarter in 29.1. Giving her the edge and hoping for some value in a tricky contest to kick off the card.
#6 THE WHEEL took support to the tune of 3-1 last week but jumped it off at the start in the same contest that our top selection exits. He had no chance after the miscue but went into that contest with momentum after closing well to be fifth the week before to a well-meant Century Highness. It was just his first start back and he came his final quarter in 27.3. He is one of the main chances in the race but will need to mind his manners.
#9 WARRAWEE WELCOME sat the two-hole to a pumped-up winner last week in Halliday Dream. She had to settle for third under the wire when Golden Compass trotted past her for the place spot and now will make her third start back off a lengthy layoff. This filly qualified well on February 25th, but we had expected to see more out of her in her first two and will have her most difficult task so far in her sophomore season in leaving from the dreaded nine-hole. She has a chance but would need a favorable trip and should be a price dependent play.
#4 JACKSON STORM put in some ugly steps behind the gate last time and had to be steadied by Filion. He tried making a three-wide move around the final turn but ended up finishing fifth. He had hit the board for three consecutive starts prior to that effort and might rebound to hit the ticket tonight.
Race 2: 2-4-7-3
#2 LEVI AT PLAY is one we are going back to the well on again, even though he has let us down now in all four of his lifetime starts as our top selection. He has been the favorite for three of those starts and had not missed by more than three quarters of a length prior to his latest. This gelding moved first-over on the final turn and never could get to the leader P L Oliver before backing away to finish fifth. He shook loose too late two starts back and now draws another favorable post against a beatable group. Hoping we are not looking up the definition of insanity after this contest.
#4 CONFIDENCE MAN has picked up minor shares in each of his three lifetime stats so far this season and was pacing well under the wire last week. He paced home in 27.3 to finish fourth when shown daylight by McNair and should be brave coming into this. Trevor Henry will be at the controls this evening and this son of Bettors Delight should not be ignored.
#7 FOUR FINGER FLOYD is a homebred that will be sent out for the first start of his career by Murray Brethour. He comes into this off a qualifier where he did his best work late in the mile when he closed from well out of it to finish fifth. This colt paced his back-half in 57 seconds flat with a final quarter in 27.1. He picks up the services of Sylvain Filion with Trevor Henry opting to drive the one above.
#3 LIKEAFREIGHTTRAIN ran into a couple of tough customers in the form of Century Heineken and Bluemoon Bayama in his first career start on March 15th. He went an overland journey with cover and finished sixth, after pacing his final split in 27.3. This gelding might be able to take a step forward tonight with a start now under his belt.
Race 3: 2-6-1-5
#2 WILDCAT VICTORIA was only beaten a head in the first start of her sophomore season on March 15th when Cold Freeze would not be denied. She went to the lead down the backside and was ambushed by Scotians Shadow on the final turn to be relegated to the two-hole. This filly then came back at them for more in the lane and made a second move at the lead but just missed getting past that determined rival before the wire. She went winless in six as a rookie but should find the winner’s circle soon if se can repeat that multiple move effort.
#6 MIAMI SEELSTER will be making the first start of her three-year-old campaign, after picking up four cheques but never hitting the board as a rookie. She managed to finish fifth in an OSS Gold event last season comes into tonight’s tilt with a decent looking qualifier under her belt. This filly rallied late to be fourth and came her back-half in 58 seconds flat with a final panel in 28.2 in a prep that was easily won by Game Of Shadows. She might be worth a look if the price is right.
#1 ZIPPER SWEATER disappointed as the favorite last week when she could not sustain a first-over bid and faded to fifth in the lane. The rival she was menacing went on to win and this filly did manage to fend off a foe that was alongside her for much of the stretch drive to claim that minor award. This daughter of Bettors Delight has been on the edges in her first two efforts but might be able to work out a more favorable trip from the pole position in this contest.
#5 IM CHIARA is the only winner in the field and that victory came just 10 days ago when she made her sophomore debut at Flamboro Downs in NW1. She was stuck in the three-hole behind a rival that was gapping out a long way from the leader down the backside for the final time but was able to surge up the passing lane late to score going away under tight lines to Byron at the wire. This filly should not be taken lightly and might offer up some value.
Race 4: 10-7-4-8
#10 TWIN B SHOWTIME was the easiest kind of winner in each of his last two and now gets to come right back in NW2. He was sent to the lead early by McClure in here on March 18th and held a comfortable margin throughout before powering away in the stretch to score by nearly four lengths under no urging form McClure. This colt coasted to the wire two starts back when he trotted past his rivals first-over and has now won three of his last four overall. He will have to overcome a new challenge tonight in starting from the second-tier but we think he will pass with flying colors and we are not willing to side against this one. The pick.
#7 CLASSY CAROL went one for seven in her two-year-old season, but that victory came in an OSS Gold tilt at Georgian Downs in her first career start. She only picked up two cheques in her subsequent six tries, but all came against difficult rivals in stakes events. This filly comes into her sophomore debut off a good-looking qualifier where she made multiple moves and only finished behind Iglare Am, who was a rock-solid winner here last Thursday night. She might need a start, but this field looks within her reach.
#4 CENTURY HIGHNESS crushed her competition in NW1 on March 15th when she opened a wide margin in the stretch to win by just over two lengths at the wire. This filly pulled the pocket early and blasted home in 28.1 under tight lines to Jamieson. She now must make the difficult transition to NW2 but should be competitive if she can build off her latest.
#8 LADY TITAN finished third in her latest at 45-1 and has raced her last three in NW2 since running up the score on her competition in NW1 on February 18th when she won by six lengths. This mare can get a piece of it with the right type of trip.
Race 5: 6-1-2-3
#6 MISTER GODRO finished second in here last week when he held a healthy lead for much of the mile before getting run down by Cool Rock in the stretch, who paced away to score by more than five lengths. This gelding was clearly the best of the rest and was plucked out of that contest by trainer Jared Bako. That conditioner is having a fantastic season with eight wins in 26 starts and has won two of three off the claim so far this year. Doug McNair will be at the controls this evening and this gelding is our clear top choice against this group.
#1 SPORTSMANSHIP has been racing at the claiming handicap level above this for his last six starts and returns to the level where he was a runner-up on December 23rd. He has hit the board in four of his last seven and should enjoy the class relief. This 21-time winner gets rail control and should be in the mix if MacDonald can work out a favorable trip.
#2 AMERICAN ASSASSIN was put into play two starts ago here at Mohawk Park when he was sat the two-hole before fading to ninth in the stretch at this level. He has since went back to Flamboro Downs and finished second in a winners over condition claimer. This gelding was claimed for $7,000 out of that contest by Isaac Waxman and might take a step forward tonight. He gets an inside draw and figures to be forwardly placed.
#3 MACH MESSIER has back-to-back third-place finishes at this level since dropping down in class on March 15th. He will likely be spotted well by Filion from post-three and can pick up a share.
Race 6: 3-4-2-5
#3 ONEY HALL gets some serious class relief tonight when dropping out of the Preferred all the way down to NW18500L5. He jumped it off last week from the first-over position and has now made breaks in stride in four of his last five. His only flat line over that stretch came in the top trotting condition class where he finished a good second behind Buck Dancer. The drop in class is likely all that will be needed to right the ship but getting reunited with Trevor Henry might also work wonders for this five-year-old son of Deweycheatumnhowe. This gelding is five-for-five when that teamster is at the controls and we fully expect this pair to extend that streak tonight.
#4 DREAM NATION is another that makes the plunge out of the Preferred ranks after racing at the level in four of his last five and picking up a cheque in each of those efforts. His most recent victory came at this level on December 7th, but he did not have to contend with anyone as talented as the one above on that occasion. This 11-time winner looks well suited to get a piece of this but will likely need the one above to make a mistake to find the winner’s circle.
#2 KAMERAN HANOVER got away fifth off the gate last week in NW12000L5 and was shuffled out the back of the field on the final turn. He edged off a helmet in mid-stretch and sprouted wings late to only miss by three quarters of a length to the one below. This 16-time winner came his back-half in 57.3 with a final quarter in 28.2. He starts from a much better post position this time around and might be able to hit the ticket.
#5 BAUTISTA was a winner in the class below this last week when he moved to the lead at the halfway point and then immediately had to fend off pressure from Beyond Kronos. He then had to hold off a late charge by Kameran Hanover in deep stretch to produce a gutsy effort in victory. This 16-time winner faces some tougher rivals tonight and likely cannot get the better of the two above but might be able to sneak onto the ticket with an ideal trip.
Race 7: 8-1-7-2
#8 BOTTOMOFTHENINTH made her sophomore debut in the second leg of the Blizzard Series on March 18th and was pacing up a storm late to grab fourth behind a nice trio of mares. She got away sixth and was shuffled back to last around the final turn. This filly was under tight lines to Jamieson for the early part of the stretch drive but then surged from an impossible spot to nail State Of Mind for fourth under the line. That effort was an impressive one, especially considering the company she kept that night and now she gets to move into a cozy spot in NW1. She will likely be handled more aggressively tonight and is our best bet of the night.
#1 B VANISH had no chance in her lifetime debut last week when she got away ninth off the gate from the seven-hole. She was more than 12 lengths off the lead at the quarter pole and paced her back-half in 57 seconds flat with a final stanza in 27.1. The leader stole the second quarter in 31.2 and that pretty much sealed the fate of this one, who was still a long way out of it at the halfway point. This daughter of Bettors Delight loses McClure to the Pentland pupil, but she picks up Sylvain Filion and gets to leave from a much better starting spot in the pole position. She should be much closer and might offer some value.
#7 WINE AND CHEESE is a homebred that will be sent out for her lifetime debut be trainer John Pentland. That conditioner typically has his pupils ready to roll at first asking and this one comes into her debut with a solid qualifier under her belt where she won by more than three lengths in 1:59.4 with a final quarter in 28.1. She was under some urging from McClure in the stretch drive in that prep, but he opted to drive her over two others in here, including our top selection above. The connections merit respect and she can hit the ticket.
#2 GOOD NIGHT MOON raced twice at two and was off the board in both of those efforts, but they came at the OSS Gold level in events that were won by Bet On Becky. She comes into this off a secondplace finish in her qualifier to Game Of Shadows on March 18th but loses Bob McClure to the one above. Trainer Jason Ryan will call his own number and this filly should have every chance to get a piece of it if she is fit enough.
Race 8: 9-4-5-3
#9 PLAY JET RAY plunges down to the bottom condition after making his first two starts back off the layoff in NW11500L5. He took mild support in both of those efforts and finished fifth to Torrin Hanover two starts back, despite being stuck behind a wall of horses and getting interfered with in the stretch. This gelding had no chance in his latest when he got away ninth off the gate from the eight-hole but did pace his back-half in 56 seconds flat with a final split of 27.2. This six-year-old gelding gets reunited with Trevor Henry and the pair have hooked up for three wins together over the past year. He should crush these if anywhere near his best, nine-hole and all.
#4 REGAL SON can be a Jekyll and Hyde type in that he can beat much tougher than these but is also capable of getting beat in the lower condition classes. He now drops down to the bottom for the first time since August and has never been beat in two tries at this level, with his most recent victory in the class coming last August. This 32-time winner will have McNair back at the controls tonight and they teamed up to be the runner-up in NW5000L5 on March 13th but were disqualified for a pylon violation. He looks like the main danger.
#5 CORTEZ THE KILLER is another that should enjoy the class relief this evening after facing much tougher in his recent efforts. He tried to move first-over to the lead in NW8000L5 in his latest but was hung out by longshot Premier Joy. This gelding faded to finish ninth, but you cannot hold that against him after getting a nightmarish trip. He has every right to be a big-time player at this level but hooks a pair of classy rivals above.
#3 BIG BANG BOOM sat a two-hole trip to the winner in here on March 18th and maintained his position to claim the place spot. He retains the services of Jody Jamieson and figures to be forwardly placed again from an inside draw, after leaving to the lead from the eight-hole in his latest.
Race 9: 3-1-2-5
#3 BETTIM AGAIN was an easy winner in his debut on the circuit last week in his first start for trainer Richard Moreau. He left out for the early lead and then stole the second panel before sprinting away from his rivals to score by nearly two lengths in 1:53.4. He blazed home in 27.2 with a back-half of 55.2. This east coast invader has been kept eligible to the North America Cup and be able to handle the transition to the higher earnings version of NW2. He looks like a prime candidate to repeat but the price will be short.
#1 NO PLAN INTENDED has won two in a row but has not raced since March 5th. He was a 9-1 upset winner in the lower earnings version of the class in his first start back off the layoff and then came right back to win in here as the favorite in his next start. It is difficult to put this one ahead of the one above, especially when taking his stale date into consideration. His performances this season merit respect but the one above is our clear choice on top.
#2 CAPTAIN RAY was handled aggressively in the first leg of the Snowshoe Series when he was moved first-over at nearly 46-1 and stayed on to finish third under the wire. He was never in contention in his latest but now draws an inside post for this NW2 event and picks up Louis-Philippe Roy. He might be able to offer some value on the bottom end of the exotics.
#5 MAKE SOME WAVES has been scratched out of two scheduled starts since making the trip to Ontario from Alberta. He won five of 16 last year and hit the board in 10 of those efforts. He won his elimination for the Western Canada Derby at nearly 80-1 and then finished fifth in the final. This gelding will likely need the start but is worth keeping an eye on for next time.
Race 10: 4-1-10-5-7
#4 ONLY FOR JUSTICE disappointed as the heavy favorite at this level two starts back when he produced an underwhelming effort. He then dropped down a notch on the class ladder and scored when he was bet down again, this time to the tune of 2-1. This gelding got up in the final strides and trotted his mile in 1:54.2 over a pair of rivals that he will once again face off with tonight. He is just three starts removed from a pair of tries at the Preferred level and might be hard to hold off in the stretch after getting a confidence boost last week.
#1 P L JILL is one we have wanted to see sent down the road and we thought that would happen last week when the connections changed her bridle from open to blind. However, she got away sixth off the switch and had to settled for third in a contest that was won by her stablemate. This mare will not likely be able to get to the engine again tonight, as she had the rail with all kinds of early speed to her outside. She has hit the board in three of her last five and this field is well within her reach, but the trip scenario might not be ideal again this evening.
#10 NIMBUS DEO finished in a dead heat for the place spot last week with Grandma Heidi in a race that was won by our top choice. She sat an inside trip in the three-hole and then slipped up the cones late with some late trot. This mare was a late bloomer starting her career at the age of four last season and winning eight of 14. She will have to overcome the trailing post but might have a friend to follow in the one above.
#5 GRANDMA HEIDI gets to leave from the center of the gate tonight and will likely be pointed to the lead once again. She got picked up late last time in the class below this but only three horses in this contest are not moving up at least a level. He cannot be dismissed but we prefer the three above.
#7 HOT WHEELZ moves up another notch on the class ladder tonight after winning two in a row. He was impressive in both of those victories and might take another step forward tonight. He is worth a look is the price is big enough.