100k Guaranteed Late Pick 4 at Golden Gate Fields: How I Play The Ticket

18 Feb


Today at Golden Gate Fields, we’ve got a Late Pick 4 guaranteed pool of $100,000. I think it could get up to $200,000, so there is going to be plenty of money to take home in that pool! The sequence is Races 6-9. Post time for Race 6 is at approximately 3:15 Pacific Time.

Here’s how I’m playing The Late Pick 4 today. Thank you for reading!

Race 6 is a really competitive six furlong sprint for 8k maiden claimers. Looking at this race, I think 7 of the 10 runners have a legit chance of winning this thing. We used:

  • #3 Awesome Run, who was last seen running a solid third at this level. The two runners that finished in front of him would probably be favored in this race.
  • #9 Italian Fling, the speed of the speed who looks like another “must use.” He has picked up a check in all 5-career starts, including in his last start where he ran a better-than-looked second behind a horse from Southern California who was taking a major drop in class.

Those two look like the ones to beat. If neither of them wins, then it’s a crapshoot. To keep the ticket affordable, we used just two more runners:

  • #6 Lets Say Grace, a first time gelding who drops in class and freshens for this race under the care of trainer Cliff Delima. He wins at a 30% clip from 20 starters with runners making their first start off a 61-180 day break. This one could run well at a solid price (12-1 on the morning line.)
  • #8 Old Honest Coop, another who drops in class significantly after a 4-race stint in Southern California. He also makes his first start for a very high percentage trainer (Blaine Wright.)

Horses I considered, but did not use that you may want to consider:

  • #2 Raging Warrior, cutting back from a route to a sprint and dropping in class.
  • #4 Seattle Smoke, also cutting back from a route to a sprint and dropping in class.
  • #5 London’s Gamber, yet another horse who drops in class. He adds blinkers too, which could help him considering he hasn’t shown much speed in two starts.

Race 7 is The El Camino Real Derby. This is the race where people will probably try to take a stand and hope things works out. It’s hard not to use #3 Ann Arbor Eddie and #5 Sheer Flattery, two runners shipping in from California who have run well against stakes company before. So, I put these two on the ticket.

We did not use #2 More Power To Him, but it wouldn’t be a surprise this horse took home the top prize. He has run four really solid races over this track and was last seen finishing second, only beaten ¾ of a length, to So Conflated, one of the favorites in The Risen Star Stakes next week. #6 Colonel Samson is also a danger at a price.

Race 8 is a fun allowance race for older fillies and mares sprinting six furlongs. A field of eight is now a field of six, with two late scratches. We used three runners:

  • #3 Run For Retts, who is my top pick. She was FAR out of it last time out but came with a huge run down the lane, only losing by a length and ¾ lengths while galloping out the best. She didn’t need to be so far back last time out, so I’m thinking if this gal sits closer with new rider Kyle Frey in the irons, then she has a great chance to get the gold medal today.
  • #5 Calm The Sea, a mare from the Jerry Hollendorfer stable who has finished second at this level twice in Southern California and is making her third start off an 11 month layoff. She’s improved in each race since the layoff and maybe she’ll be at her very best in the third start off the long break, while also facing easier company up here in the bay area.
  • #8 Meet Miss Kitty, who has been knocking at the door for a win at this level. She has seconditis though; her last three races (all of them coming at this level) have resulted in second place finishes.

Race 9 ends the sequence. A field of eleven is set to contest six panels in this 4k non-winners of two event. We went three deep again, using:

  • #1 Continental Song, who cuts back from a route to a sprint after fading in his past two starts going long. In October and December, this horse ran at this level sprinting and ran second both times. He also removes blinkers, a move I love…why? Last time out he was pretty keen to go on and hopefully with the removal of blinkers, and the cutback in distance, he can relax and get a good stalking trip from the rail.
  • #4 Star Express, one of two runners for the John Martin stable. This horse has finished second in his past two starts and both races were at this level. It’s hard to leave John’s horses off of any of your tickets, too. He wins at a very high percentage at Golden Gate, especially in claiming races.
  • #6 My Son John, the other John Martin trainee in the race. He drops in class after a solid second place finish at the $6,250 non winners of two lifetime level last time out.


50 Cent Late Pick 4 ($36)

R6: 3,6,8,9

R7: 3,5

R8: 3,5,8

R9: 1,4,6

Good luck to everyone playing and enjoy watching the races!

Closing Day Selections at Emerald Downs: Races 5-11

11 Sep

Today is closing day at Emerald Downs and we’ve got 11 races to finish off our 20th anniversary season! Below are Race 5-11 selections. All 7 races will be shown on TVG today. Race 5, the first of seven races analyzed below, begins the 20 cent Pick 7 wager, while Race 7 begins the 20 cent Pick 5! Both wagers will have a mandatory payout!

Race 5: #2 LOTS OF PRAYERS won last week against the hard-knocking HEZA WITCH DOCTOR and wheels back quickly for a try at one more win before the 2016 Emerald Downs meet comes to a close. Trainer Charlie Essex wins with 33% of his runners making a 1-7 day turnaround and it’s definitely a good sign that leading rider Rocco Bowen hops aboard for this race. #4 JEN’S JAG was in a speed filled 5 furlong dash on August 13, showed the most early zip out of anybody before taking the field gate to wire. Today’s distance is 6 furlongs, but 3 of the 7 wins in ‘Jag’s career have come at this distance, which means the added distance should not be a huge issue. That said, he has not had a workout since that race, which is a minor concern, and Rocco Bowen, who rode this gelding to that August 13 win, hops off to ride our top choice. #6 WINE AT NINE was terrific when defeating a solid group of claimers on August 27. In fact, the third place finisher in that race came back to lose by a nose yesterday. Wine At Nine will need to improve to have a shot at winning this race but there’s no reason why he can’t be around at the wire if he puts his best foot forward. (SELECTIONS: 2-4-6)


Race 6: #3 KELLER’S GOLD broke his maiden in career start #3, defeating ASK NOT and HART MOUNTAIN, both who came back to win next time out. Facing winners for the first time, Keller’s Gold finished second in The Washington Cup Stakes for 2-year-olds and was unlucky to run into 2-year-old star SO LUCKY that day; ‘Lucky will be heavily favored in the Gottstein Futurity later on. It would seem all Keller’s Gold has to do is run his race and he’ll probably be pretty tough to beat. #8 STORMIN’ PROMISE won her first start by over 7 lengths, which was impressive considering her trainer, Jeff Metz, rarely has his runners cranked up in their first career start. This gal came back to run a better-than-looked fourth in The Barbara Shinpoch Stakes and now drops in class while sporting a steady work tab. One to keep an eye on. #2 MYLADYSABITSHADY is a wildcard possibility. She looked pretty awesome breaking her maiden by over a half dozen lengths last time out. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise if she moves forward after that wins for trainer Doris Harwood, who does well with 2-year-olds. (SELECTIONS: 3-8-2)


Race 7: #4 TIMBERFALLER was claimed by trainer Blaine Wright on July 31 after an uncharacteristically poor start. The winner of that race, THE PRESS, won a stakes race on Washington Cup day. Wright, who wins at a 21% clip with runners making their first start off the claim, freshens Timberfaller for this race and has worked him steadily since that poor effort. Looking for him to rebound here. #5 WANDO CAT may be inconsistent, but his best effort makes him a major player. The two times he has run at this level, he produced two big races. Believe it or not, one of those losses was a neck defeat behind our top choice. The son of Wando won an allowance race three starts back and drops to this level after a fifth place finish in The Emerald Downs Derby. Leading rider Rocco Bowen hops aboard to add to the appeal. #8 JOHN PAUL’S BET is a longshot to consider. He showed promise when he was younger and, even though he hasn’t lived up to high expectations at age 3, has finished behind some tough runners in past starts. He drops in class here and could run well at a price. (SELECTIONS: 4-5-8)


Race 8: #4 SO LUCKY looks to become the first Emerald Downs 2-year-old to win 4 stakes races and 5 races in a season. This colt has been lightning quick in all four career starts and looked flawless cruising down the lane in his last race, where he won by 9 lengths. The main question is whether he can run a winning race at a mile and a sixteenth, which is today’s distance. His dam, Miss Pixie, was a stakes winner who won going a mile in The Finlandia Handicap at Del Mar. ‘Lucky’s sire, Coast Guard, broke his maiden at one mile and finished third in the mile and an eighth Santa Anita Derby. If anybody can beat So Lucky, it might be the filly, #2 BLAZINBEAUTY, who had all sorts of traffic issues in The Barbara Shinpoch Stakes before eventually finding a clear path to roll and powering to the front late. She was much the best. This gal is bred to love two turns and we expect her to do some damage against the boys today. #7 MIXO has always been well regarded and finished behind our top choice in his 3 career starts. Mixo’s dam, Valour Road, finished second in this race in 2002. (SELECTIONS: 4-2-7)


Race 9: #8 HE’S CAGEY looks to become a six-time winner at the meet. He hasn’t sprinted in some time, but it’s hard to ignore his terrific form. He ran a career best race last week when beating a decent group by over a half dozen lengths after setting a fast pace. Sure, he might bounce…but we think high percentage trainer Blaine Wright knows this guy has one more big race in him before the end of the season. Absolutely the one to beat. #4 PERFECT NIGHT has run three terrific races at this level and looks to put up one more big effort before the meet ends. He has hit the board in 7 of 8 starts going this quirky six and a half furlong distance and is a tactical; he can head to the lead or stalk if the pace gets too hot. Look for him to be in the mix. #6 MISTER BREEZE is a hard knocking horse that always gives an honest effort. He needs to improve to win this race, but there’s no reason why he can’t hit the board with another one of his decent efforts. He’ll complete our trio of selections. (SELECTIONS: 8-4-6)


Race 10: #5 IMPECCABLY left a hole in the wind last time out when blowing away her competition, heading straight to the lead and opening up without being asked to win by 8 and a half. An effort anywhere close to that and she’ll be tough to deny. #3 BELLALI has run well in all four starts this meet for trainer Manny Ortiz, who has won with 17 of his 53 starters (32%) at the 2016 Emerald meet. Clearly, it’s best to keep an eye on any Ortiz runner that hits the track. #2 ANITEWITHYOU drops in class for today’s race and has run well against tougher. Last time out, Anitewithyou ran fourth behind LIVE LIKE MIKE, who came back to be in a three horse photo for the win in a 10k claimer. (SELECTIONS: 5-3-2)


Race 11: Rocco Bowen has had an absolutely outstanding meet and it would be fitting to see him take the last race of the season with #6 WICKED LAUGH. Like most, I don’t enjoy picking 0 for 19 maidens. That said, she has run well behind some runners that would be super tough if they ran in this race, and it’s also worth noting she takes a minor drop in class. #5 CHEZZELWIT makes her career debut here for trainer Alan Bozell, who wins at a 20% clip with first time starters. If this filly can run at all, she might be able to do some damage in final race of the 2016 Emerald Downs season. #9 CUTE TALKER has steadily improved and ran the best race of her life last time out, getting edged out for the win late to lose by a head. She stretches out an extra half furlong here. (SELECTIONS: 6-5-9)


A big thank you to all of the fans, horseplayers, horsemen, and Emerald Downs staff for an amazing 20th anniversary season. See you all next year!!!

Longacres Mile Day Selections (Emerald Downs)

14 Aug


Today is the big day: The Longacres Mile is here!!! 10 races on the program today: first post at 2:15 PM. Races 1-4 will be shown on TVG2 and races 5-10 will be shown on TVG. We’ve got a special 50-cent “Mid Pick 4” today with Races 5-8. The last two legs of that Mid Pick 4 are the 2 stakes races on the card. Good luck! Let’s get to the analysis!

Race 1 (6 and-a-half furlongs, $2,500 claimers): #6 AGUACITA stretches out a furlong after two victories at 5 and-a-half furlongs. In both races, she rallied from off the pace to win in the final strides. We know she will love the added ground today considering she has won 2 of 3 starts going 6 and-a-half. #2 ANALYSIS PARALYSIS takes a significant drop in class after she finished fifth on July 31; that was her first off-the-board finish in six starts this year at Emerald. To put it simply, she fits with this group and has a big chance with her best race. #5 CHRISSY’S WEDDING comes off a win going a mile on July 1. Two starts back, she ran third at this level and distance. She should be sitting in a good stalking spot and will get first jump on our top choice. #8 BELLALI is another one that comes into this race after a win going one mile. We’re not sure she’s best sprinting, although it’s worth noting she only lost by about 3 lengths going this distance on June 10. #1 BB’S QUICK ACTION appears to be the speed of the speed and could get brave if she gets a lone lead. Wide-open race to start off Longacres Mile day. (SELECTIONS: 6-2-5)

Race 2: (6 furlongs, Maiden Special Weight): #6 WALTZING was purchased for $110,000 as a yearling. In her lone start, at Santa Anita for trainer Richard Mandella, she went fast early before fading badly down the lane. She is facing much easier company today and her two most recent workouts catch the eye: a 1:10 and 3 six furlong drill on August 7 and a 57 and 4 five furlong work out of the gate on July 31. Must consider. #1 TOGRAMMASHOUSEWEGO is probably the one to beat. In his two career starts to date, he broke poorly but ran on strongly down the lane. Last time out, he got tagged in the final stride by the well-regarded IDIDARIDESOLO, who is back in an allowance race later today. Charles Essex, who trains #1 TOGRAMMASHOUSEWEGO, has been firing on all cylinders lately. A must-use on tickets. #3 WHOLE LOTTA ZIP is the wild card. With just two workouts since May, he dueled going a fast pace on July 31 before fading in the final furlong to run fourth. With a race under his belt, the son of CITY ZIP has a right to improve in his second start this year. (SELECTIONS: 6-1-3)

Race 3 (6 and one-half furlongs, 25k claimer): #3 COPY BEGONE is 4 for 5 this meet. Just 9 days ago she annihilated 15k claiming competition and showed a new dimension when sitting in a stalking position before motoring by the early leader at the top of the stretch. She won once at this level earlier in the meet and will be tough if she fires her best shot. #1 TRINNI had been knocking on the door for a win and finally put it all together last time out (July 9) at this level. She’s a consistent filly who has won half of her starts; should be respected. #2 IT’S MY KNIGHT will be part of the pace. She has two wins and two third place finishes in four starts this year and won at this level two starts back. These three picks are the three most logical choices. Wouldn’t count any of them out. (SELECTIONS: 3-1-2)

Race 4 (Mile and a sixteenth: 4k claimer): #3 RISKY WITH WHISKY improved in his second start routing when he finished third at this level and ran a career high Beyer speed figure last time out. He has never run past a mile but we like that this guy gets another sixteenth of a mile to work with here. #8 COZZABI finished in front of our top pick last time out and arguably ran the best race out of anyone in the race, even though he finished second. After racing wide on both turns while pressing a very fast pace, he was the last of the speedsters to stick around in the end but got tagged late by the winner. The pace shouldn’t be nearly as rapid this time around and his best races have come going a route of ground. #5 ENDANGERED is a son of BERNARDINI who broke his maiden last time out. That evening, he beat IRISH WINE and BIG HERO, both whom came back to hit the board in their next starts. #5 ENDAGERED should get a good stalking trip and doesn’t face any world-beaters here. One to consider. (SELECTIONS: 3-8-5)

Race 5 (6 and one-half furlongs, 15k claimer): #8 SIERRITA seems like a logical choice. She won her last start against similar company and beat contender #6 OUR SILVER LINING in the process. #8 SIERRITA is versatile; she can be close to the pace or sit off if the tempo gets hot. Her lone start at this distance resulted in a 3 and 3/4 length win, where she ran a career high Beyer speed figure. #4 WICKEDIZASWICKEDUZ clearly isn’t the same filly we saw last year, but this is the easiest field she’s ever had to face. Even though she ran fifth at this level last time out, this field came up light for the level and she’ll be adding a sixteenth of a mile, which we think will work in her favor. #6 OUR SILVER LINING, who lost to our top choice last time out, has finished second or third in four of five starts at the meet. Her lone off the board finish was a fourth place effort. Yes, she is consistent, but she is also 1 for 13. May be best used in exotics. (SELECTIONS: 8-4-6)

Race 6 (One mile: Pete Pederson Memorial [allowance]): #4 MIKE MAN’S GOLD has had a spectacular meet, with 4 wins in 5 starts, that lone loss coming in The Mt. Rainier Stakes against Longacres Mile contenders O B HARBOR, DEDICATED TO YOU and STRYKER PHD. There is no speed to go out with the quick #4 MIKE MAN’S GOLD in this race, so he may get a cozy lead up front. #3 TRICK OR RETREAT has made a trip to the winner’s circle in his two most recent efforts. He beat a stakes placed runner in ARROM BEAR on June 26 and followed that up with a win on July 17, beating WESTLEY, who came back to win impressively last week. Who doesn’t love a horse with great recent form? #6 COACH ROYAL wheels back in 7 days but ran huge behind WESTLEY. In fact, he was in contention for the win before having to steady late when in tight on the rail. He cuts back a sixteenth of a mile in this race, which he should like considering he is 6 for 8 at this distance. Tyler Baze starts off his day riding ‘COACH.’ #8 ITS ALLABOUT JERRY finished third in The Mt. Rainier and merits respect, but there’s not much pace in this race and he got quick fractions to run into in the ‘Rainier. This deep closer is at the mercy of the pace. #7 RASPBERRY ROAD grittily won an allowance race last time out but faces tougher company here. (SELECTIONS: 4-3-6)

Race 7 (Mile and an eighth: $65,000 Emerald Distaff): #4 PRINCESS KENNEDY won The Washington Oaks on July 24 going this distance and faces older foes for the first time today. She will be happy to go a mile and an eighth once more, but there’s not a lot of pace for this gal to close into. Wouldn’t be shocked to see Rocco Bowen place her closer than usual. #9 ALL STAR BUB finished third behind BEHOLDER earlier in the year; that right there immediately catches the eye. She should be forwardly placed in a race that projects to have a pretty slow pace. Her last start was concerning; she lost by 16 lengths. That said, the competition she faces here is easier than what she usually faces. Needs to be taken seriously. #7 CHRONOLOGIC’SGHOST was rank heading into the first turn in the one-mile Boeing Stakes, made a sustained run from the 3/8ths pole to the wire and ran third. Her effort was better than it looks on paper. With not much speed in this race, jockey Anne Sanguinetti may place this gal right off the leaders, try to relax her until the quarter pole and then see how much she has left for the stretch run. Longshot possibility. #8 GUINEVERE’S FINALE pulled off the upset in The Boeing Stakes and has improved greatly this year. No reason why she won’t be able to run well again. #2 LOCKET ran a better than looked race in The Boeing, when she was caught behind traffic in midstretch, had to alter course and just missed fourth. She will love stretching out another furlong. That said, she is 3 for 32 in her career, with 11-second place finishes. She has 5 seconds in 8 starts at this distance. One to consider for exotics. (SELECTIONS: 4-9-7)

Race 8 (Mile: $200,000 Grade 3 Longacres Mile): #4 O B HARBOR has been flawless in four starts this year. It does not look like anybody is fast enough to go head and head with #4 O B HARBOR, unless they want to be a sacrificial lamb. He may get a little pressure from #10 PRIME ENGINE or #11 INDIAN BRUT, but if jockey Jose Zunino can give ‘Harbor’ a breather at some point, he’ll be tough to catch. He has shown in past starts he can handle pressure just fine. This is his home track and my prediction is he’s going to take it to the field from the opening of the gates. All that said, there are some classy invaders coming into the race. #7 CYRUS ALEXANDER is a half brother to the 2010 Kentucky Derby winner SUPER SAVER. He was terrific in the Lonestar Park Handicap, stalking the pace and winning the race by 2 and a half-lengths. He threw up a clunker in his next start, although the race has turned out be a key race; the first and sixth place finishers have come back to win a pair of stakes races. It’s also worth noting that ‘CYRUS’ has been working with #8 POINT PIPER in the mornings and is continually beating him. #5 ALERT BAY is a hard knocking son of CITY ZIP who has earned $1.1. million. Last time out, he ran fourth in The California Dreamin’ on turf at Del Mar but it’s worth mentioning he lost both front shoes that day. He finished third in this race last year and is 6 for 10 on dirt. He should try hard like he always does. #8 POINT PIPER, who has not run since May, finished third in The Oaklawn Park Handicap behind EFFINEX and Santa Anita Handicap winner MELATONIN, but getting beat by #7 CYRUS ALEXANDER in the AM’s makes us wonder if he’s fully cranked to fire his very best race. #6 SAMMY MANDEVILLE, the 2015 Longacres Mile second place finisher, got a ridiculously fast pace to close into last year and probably won’t get that type of set up today. #1 STRYKER PHD looks to become the only horse in history to win 3 Longacres Miles…quite the feat! In two starts this year, he has been flat. Many question whether his best days are behind him. We will find out today. (SELECTIONS: 4-7-5)

Race 9 (6 furlongs: Allowance optional claimer): #7 THE PRESS was ultra impressive in his last start on July 31, quickly putting away the competition in upper stretch while showing a nice turn of foot before running away to win by almost 8 lengths, on a hold in the end. He wheels back in 2 weeks, which is a quick turnaround, but if he can duplicate that July 31 effort, he has a chance to pull off the mild upset. #2 ALGENON makes his first start since February for trainer Len Kasmerski, who is 2 for 9 with runners coming off a layoff longer than 180 days. #2 ALGENON finished second in The Golden Nugget Stakes going this distance last year and was third in The California Derby behind the talented FRANK CONVERSATION in January. Clearly this guy is the class of the field, but now is the time to try and beat him. That said, I wouldn’t leave him off your tickets. #6 CRUSHIN CANDY ships down from Canada after a third place finish going a mile and a sixteenth. We know he’ll be super fit for this. Two starts back he won going six and a half furlongs, so we know he can be effective sprinting. Tyler Baze teams up with Blaine Wright. (SELECTIONS: 7-2-6)

Race 10 (6 furlongs: Maiden 5k claimer): #1 RELENTLESS RAIN cuts back to a sprint after two off the board finishes going a mile. Her best race this year was going one turn and this is the softest field she’s ever had to face. The cutback in distance and drop in class may be what this gal needs to break her maiden. #7 FOXY ROXY takes a massive drop in class from maiden special weight company all the way down to this 5k maiden claiming level. When facing maiden special weight runners, she lost by 21 lengths. You’d have to imagine she will compete in this spot if she has any run in her. #9 SNOWY has run two decent races this meet that makes her playable in exotics. Her lone poor performance at Emerald this year was excusable. That day, she was in contention on the far turn but dropped back sharply after taking a couple awkward steps and losing all chance. (SELECTIONS: 1-7-9) 



Emerald Downs Selections: August 7

7 Aug

We’ve got ten races on the program today at Emerald Downs, highlighted by the Angie C Stakes and WTBOA Lads Stakes, both for two-year-olds! We’ve also got a $3,620 carryover in the 20 cent Pick 7 and a $6,156 carryover in the 50 cent Late Pick 5. Plenty of opportunities to win…let’s get to the analysis!

Race 1: #5 KELLER’S GOLD was last seen in a maiden special weight and finished second, three-quarters of a length behind MONYDONSPENDITSELF, a well-regarded two-year-old at Emerald that was purchased for $115,000. KELLER’S GOLD takes a drop in class and faces much easier competition here. If he runs like last time, he’ll be tough. #6 LAST CALL LOBO is a half brother to some fast runners and is bred to run well early for top Emerald trainer Jeff Metz. #3 SUM CANDY is a longshot possibility. Unlike many in here, he has racing experience, and even though he didn’t show much in his two races to date, he drops in class and cuts back in distance. He’ll be fit. (SELECTIONS: 5-6-3)

Race 2: #2 SUCKITUPBUTTERCUP is bred to love two turns (by Eskendereya out of an Empire Maker mare.) She drops in class and gets leading rider Rocco Bowen, who has won a race on the last 19 race cards. Expecting this gal to improve today. #1 ZENSATIONALLY is another who drops in class and stretches out in distance for high percentage connections. #8 THAT’S NOT FAIR ran better than looked in her lone route race, where she was moving on the far turn but had to steady hard at the ¼ pole and lost all momentum. She may enjoy stretching out again and could run on for a minor award at a price. (SELECTIONS: 2-1-8)

Race 3: #1 E Z STAR MAKER was much the best last time out, in her career debut, but was rank and got in a ton of trouble. Nonethless, she still ran on well down the lane and finished behind a filly who came back to run well against winners in her next start. If this one can improve in her second career race, she has a big chance for young trainer Howie Gibson, who wins and hits the board at a high percentage. #6 ARLINGTON LADY has been running in maiden special weight races and facing stakes runners like THREE FORKS GOLD, SUNRISE GLOW, and JERRE TO CARRIE. The class relief is going to help her big time. #2 KAIULANI finished fifth in her career debut, a maiden special weight race on July 10. With the drop in class and a race under her belt, she has the right to improve. (SELECTIONS: 1-6-2)

Race 4: #5 MEMPHIS BEACH has run well in his last two starts. On June 25, he finished third behind GOLDEN DYNAMO, who came back to romp in his next start, and followed that up with another solid third place effort behind CALEX AND LEAN COZZENNE; both would be favored if they ran in this race. #4 DOUBLEDEESONTHETEE gained ground down the lane and finished a half-length behind the winner in his last start. He looks like a major player on paper, but the problem is he is 0 for 9 this year and 2 for 31 at this distance, with 10 second place finishes. We’re trying to beat him, but he is a must use on tickets. #3 THE SEARCH IS OVER perked up in his last start and ran away from the competition to win by open lengths. This is a much tougher group he has to face today, but at least he’s trending upward. (SELECTIONS: 5-4-3)

Race 5: #2 GOLDEN DYNAMO is in great form right now, as he’s won his last two starts in fine looking fashion. Both races were at a mile; he’s 0 for 5 going a mile and a sixteenth, but in the races he ran 8.5 furlongs, he tried to take the field gate to wire. He has shown a new dimension in his last two starts by sitting off the pace and we believe he’ll get the distance better now that he is relaxing a bit more. #8 DEPUTY’S COMMAND made a wide move on the far turn last time out and ran on strongly down the lane to get the victory. He’ll need to improve a bit to be competitive here, but there should be a decent pace for this deep closer to run into. #9 HE’S CAGEY had won three races in a row before his last start on July 10, when he ran last at this level. There were no excuses for him that day, which is concerning, but his best race makes him a major player and it’s also interesting to see that trainer Blaine Wright claimed ‘CAGEY back after winning a race with him two races ago. Clearly, he thinks he can win some more races this guy. (SELECTIONS: 2-8-9) 

Races 6: #5 CLOSET E could improve in his second start off a layoff. After taking a seven-month vacation, he ran fourth at this level on July 24th after sitting off the pace and gaining ground steadily down the lane. He’ll get a wicked fast pace to run into here. #2 HEZA WITCH DOCTOR won his last start and has good tactical speed; he should get a good trip right off the fast pace. This old pro, who is 10 for 31 at Emerald, will get the first jump on our top two pick. #10 CREDIT LINE draws a good outside post position and can track the fast pace. He makes his first start for trainer Chris Stenslie, who does not claim runners often. Maybe she sees something in him that suggests he may be ready to run big here. (SELECTIONS: 5-2-10)

Race 7: #4 SCAT DADDYBABY does his best work on the front end when he gets an uncontested lead and we think he could very well get things his own way once again today. The last time he ran at this level, he took the field gate to wire at 4-5. Come and catch him. #5 PARTY POOPER always fires. In fact, he has only finished off the board once in his 12-race career. However, he has only won twice and holds 6-second place finishes to his name. #6 BOTCH has picked up the pieces for a minor award behind allowance competition in his most recent efforts. In fact, he finished in front of our top choice three starts back. We expect him to be in the mix once again. (SELECTIONS: 4-5-6) 

Race 8: This is probably the hardest race on the card. We’ll take a shot with #5 LET’S MAMBO, a daughter of CONGRATS who has always been well regarded. She raced greenly in her two career starts to date and was last seen finishing fourth in The Angie C. Stakes behind a freakish winner (KARULA). To prepare for this race, ‘MAMBO worked five furlongs out of the gate in 59 and 4/5 seconds. If she can put it all together today, there’s a chance she’ll spring the minor upset. #4 BLAZINBEAUTY finished second in The Angie C. Stakes and beat the other four runners in that race who enter back here. In her debut, she also finished second, behind PADDY’S SECRET, who was a run-away winner. Clearly a contender. #6 GETTING JOELLENNED broke her maiden in wire-to-wire fashion and looks like she may be the speed of the speed in this race. She’ll try to go as fast as she can for as long as she can. We think she’ll be able to stick around late. (SELECTIONS: 5-4-6) 

Race 9: #2 SO LUCKY has been terrific in his first two starts, going gate-to-wire in both races. We think he’s simply quicker than everyone else; he’ll be a short price. #1 MIXO was a first time starter heading into The Emerald Express Stakes last month, so obviously the connections think highly of him. He had to run against SO LUCKY, whom already had racing experience, but #1 MIXO ran a gallant race in defeat, finishing three lengths behind ‘LUCKY. With a race under his belt, #1 MIXO may improve, and even though we didn’t put him on top, it wouldn’t be a total shock if he improves enough to turn the tables on ‘LUCKY. #4 DISTORTEDATTHEBAR broke his maiden by 4 and a half-lengths just 8 days ago against much easier company. He will need to run big to beat our top two choices but is a contender nonetheless. (SELECTIONS: 2-1-4)

Race 10: #9 SUMMER HARBOR has started twice at Emerald this year. In both efforts, she raced extremely wide on the far turn but found her best stride late and ran on for a minor award. She has an extra sixteenth of a mile to work with in this spot and if she can save a bit more ground, maybe she’ll get there this time. Leading rider Rocco Bowen has the mount. #4 STORMIN NORMA L drops in class and adds blinkers in her third career start. This is by far her easiest assignment to date and we think she’ll be heading straight to the lead. If she can get away from the competition at any point in the race, which is a real possibility, it may be tough for anyone to catch her. #8 WICKED LAUGH has been knocking at the door for a win and ran second at this level last time out. 0 for 17, with 11 second or third place finishes. Good one to use in exotics. (SELECTIONS: 9-4-8)

Good luck! 🙂

Emerald Downs (Derby Day) Selections: July 31

31 Jul


Ten races on the program at Emerald Downs and the feature is Race 8: The $75,000 Emerald Downs Derby. BARKLEY and MACH ONE RULES have become quite the rivalry at Emerald this year and they are ready to throw it down one last time! It’s going to be a fantastic race!!!

We’ve got 9 other fun and competitive races on the program and some feature a lot of hard knocking, classy Emerald Downs runners. Races 1-5 will be shown on TVG2 and races 6-10, which includes the Emerald Derby, will be shown on TVG. Let’s get to the analysis!

Race 1 (Maiden Claimer: 6 furlongs): #5 MARK YE WELL takes a very steep drop in class and cuts back in distance after a fifth place finish in his first start. That day, he lost to BLAME IT ON ROYCE, who beat 25k claiming company last night, and ZAHABRA, the morning line favorite in a maiden special weight later on in the card. Expect MARK YE WELL to improve second time out. #1 CITIZEN SAM is a half brother to the Grade 1 winner SAM’S SISTER. This gelding put up a respectable effort in his lone start to date, a third place finish at this level on July 16. He only lost by ¾ of a length that day. His post position is far from desirable, but if he runs back to that July 16 race, or improves, he’ll be tough to beat. #6 NO COMPROMISE, like our top choice, cuts back in distance and drops in class after a poor effort in his only start. He adds blinkers for trainer Blaine Wright, who wins at a 22% clip when putting “the hood” on his runners. (SELECTIONS: 5-1-6)

Race 2 (Maiden claimer: 4 & a half furlongs): #2 GOLDAZURA made her debut in a maiden special weight on June 25 and went off favored. She hopped at the start, raced wide on the far turn and never made up ground, but still ran fourth. She drops in class, has a race under her belt (unlike a couple of her other rivals today) and adds blinkers. She’s been working well for this race and should be ready to roll in start number two. First time starter #7 APRILS NOT FOOLIN gets leading rider Rocco Bowen, which is an immediate sign that she may have some ability. Trainer Dan Markle conditions his runners so that they are super fit right off the bat. #5 OLIVIA SNOWBOUND ran well enough in her debut, finishing fourth behind a run-away winner, and merits respect, especially if she can improve in her second lifetime start. (SELECTIONS : 2-7-5)

Race 3 (Maiden Special Weight: 6 furlongs): #1 TOGRAMMASHOUSEWEGO had been working sharply for his debut on June 20 and ran like a good thing, breaking poorly before regrouping and finishing with energy to finish second. The horse who beat him that day, THE PRESS, is the morning line favorite against allowance runners in Race 7. Even with the poor post position, #1 TOGRAMMASHOUSEWEGO will be tough if he can put up another good effort. The gelding who finished right behind our top choice on June 20, #4 ZAHABRA, is knocking at the door for a victory. He has improved with every start and figures to be a main threat here. #3 HIT THE BEACH has worked sharply for his debut and may have talent, but his trainer only wins at a 7% clip with first time starters. He may be able to pick up the pieces at a price. (SELECTIONS: 1-4-3) 

SIDE NOTE: #8 IDIDARIDESOLO has been working well for this race and has a work pattern that suggests he will be fully cranked in his first start. He was one of the sale toppers at the 2014 Washington September yearling sale. He can run, but we think he may want to route.

Race 4 (8k Claimer, 6 furlongs): #2 ANALYSIS PARALYSIS has 3 wins and 2 seconds in 5 starts at the meeting. She usually does her best running late and finds a race that will have plenty of early pace to run at. If the race sets up for her, she can run on and spring a mild upset to start off the 20 Cent Pick 7. #6 COME ON COZZENE is a versatile filly that ran away to win by over 5 lengths in her last start. In fact, she beat our top choice that day. Her last three races have been sharp and there’s no reason why she won’t put up another solid effort here. #7 VELOCITA drops in class and draws a good outside post position. Jockey Erick Lopez can look inside of him and make the decision on whether he wants to sit right off the leaders or be up on the pace. She sports two very quick five-furlong drills in preparation for this race and may be able to improve in her second start of the year. (SELECTIONS: 2-6-7)

Race 5 (2.5k Claimer N3L, 5 and a half furlongs): #1 SHEELFLY FOR GOLD is a longshot possibility. She comes out of a key race; the top two finishers came right back to win, against tougher company, and ‘GOLD only finished a half dozen lengths behind them. Two starts back, she won at 12-1. Expect her to save ground the whole way around and get a good pocket trip under jockey Jorge Rosales. #8 ROCKPORT BIRDIE finished second at this level as the odds on favorite last time out and freshens for this race for high percentage trainer Charles Essex. Leading rider Rocco Bowen hops aboard and has options from the outside post; she should get a good trip. Probably the one to beat. #3 DANCINGWITHDEBBIE enters a race with a projected fast pace, which should help set things up for her closing style. Her last two starts were going a route of ground, so she should be really fit for this race. We know she can sprint too; she broke her maiden at this five and a half furlong distance. (SELECTIONS: 1-8-3)

Race 6 (4k Claimer N2L, One Mile): #1 SIX S STREET broke his maiden in fine style last time out and stretches out to two turns in his debut against winners. There certainly aren’t any world beaters in this race and it’s good to see Rocco Bowen opting to hop back aboard. This gelding is bred to really like a route of ground as well; might be tough. #3 STORM THE CHANNEL is 1 for 17 but has finished second 7 times. A good one to use in exotics. #7 AGATE BEACH broke his maiden on June 24 and  followed that up with an even fourth place run at this level, in his first start against winners. The group he faces today is a little bit lighter. (SELECTIONS: 1-3-7)

Race 7 (25k claimer, 6 furlongs): #8 TIMBERFALLER draws a good outside post position. Erick Lopez has options and can either send him to the lead or sit in a stalking spot off the projected hot pace. This guy broke his maiden sitting off the pace and making one run, so we know he is versatile. The son of FORESTRY cuts back in distance after a better than looked fourth place effort going a mile behind Emerald Downs Derby contenders HUYA and WANDO CAT. His last start in a sprint, which was at this 25k claiming level, resulted in a wire-to-wire score over WANDO CAT. #5 THE PRESS finished fourth behind older runners in his first start against winners, going a route of ground, last time out. He broke his maiden sprinting and should be super fit with the cutback in distance. Like our top choice, he is versatile, and will probably get a good trip sitting off the projected fast pace. He’ll attempt to pounce late. #2 RALLYING MARKET has done his best work sprinting and is the class of the speed. He finished fourth behind the talented HUYA in his last start going one turn. (SELECTIONS: 8-5-2)
Race 8: ($75,000 Emerald Downs Derby, Mile and an eighth for 3 YO): #4 BARKLEY is a perfect 6 for 6 and hasn’t done one thing wrong in his career. He should be OK going a mile and an eighth. Even though, ideally, he wants to run a little shorter, Howard Belvoir told me the other morning, “He’ll get the distance because he has the heart.” Good enough for me. #2 MACH ONE RULES has suffered three straight heartbreaking losses to #4 BARKLEY. This super talented Washington bred should give our top choice a run for his money once again for trainer Frank Lucarelli. #1 WANDO CAT is the “other” Lucarelli trainee in the race and we feel he has a big chance. This gelding wants to run all day long and should be motoring home in the final furlong. He beat #5 HUYA going a mile two starts back; that rival came back to win by 9 lengths in his next start. ‘CAT had a troubled trip last time out but still only finished a head behind the older and more experienced RASPBERRY ROAD. #1 WANDO CAT is going to love stretching out another furlong and will be rolling late. (SELECTIONS: 4-2-1)

Race 9 (25k claimer N2X: 6 furlongs): #3 INEXCESS AGAIN went into his last start with a three race win streak in tact. A fourth straight win could not be achieved, but he was not disgraced when finishing third to TRICK OR RETREAT and ARROM BEAR. TRICK OR RETREAT came back to win his next start and ARROM BEAR’s next race resulted in a narrow loss against allowance company in California. All 3 wins at this meet by INEXCESS AGAIN have come at this level. He’ll be tough. #7 BIG HAT CHARLIE is a half to Malibu Moon and Parker’s Storm Cat (fun fact.) He ran a better than looked third behind the very sharp SWINGSHIFT DEPUTY and RASPBERRY ROAD, who came back to win his next start. Should be stalking the pace and trying to run by the leaders in the final furlong. #2 MISTER BREEZE is a hard knocking gelding that always gives his best effort and can hit the board with his best race. (SELECTIONS: 3-7-2)

Race 10 (Maiden claimer): #8 GUARDIAN ONE should be more conditioned to travel one mile in her second start going a route of ground. Last time out, she was a no-excuse second behind a run-away winner. This gal has tactical speed, so if she can get a good trip and avoid losing ground on the turns, then we’d say she has a great chance to break her maiden in the nightcap. #5 SCARPETTA VELOCE is another one who makes her second start routing in this spot. She was floated wide on both turns last time out, in her first route attempt, but still managed to run on for third. She has a right to improve with a cleaner trip today. #6 OLD FASHION HALO ran extremely poorly last time out, but she was in a three-way speed duel from the start. This time around, she may be out on a lone lead and it’s worth noting she ran one of the best races of her life going this distance on June 18. (SELECTIONS: 8-5-6)

Good luck! 🙂

Selections at Emerald Downs on (Longacres) Mile Preview Day: Sunday, July 17

17 Jul



Today is a very big day at Emerald Downs. It’s (Longacres) Mile Preview Day!! 10 races on the program this afternoon, with first post at 2:02 PM. We have 4 stakes races on the program, with an All Stakes Pick 4 (Races 5-8) for the horseplayers out there. We also have a carryover in the 20-cent Pick 7 of $6,357.89. Races 1-3 will be shown on TVG2 and Races 4-10 will be shown on TVG. Let’s get to the analysis: Good luck! Race 1:

#1 WEB OF DEMONS should save ground the whole way around and get a good trip sitting right off the solid pace projected in this race. She should also be fit in her second try going a route of ground. Last time out, WEB OF DEMONS stretched out to two turns for the first time and ran third behind TEMPTATIOUS, and that rival came back to win at this level last week. #8 GUARDIAN ONE has run evenly in all four careers starts going one turn. Sometimes those types of runners fare well stretching out to a route of ground, so we think she should benefit from the added distance. #7 OLD FASHION HALO has had plenty of chances to break her maiden, and finished second and third, respectively, as the favorite in her two most recent efforts. Her lone try routing was one of her best starts though, and we figure she’ll be a contender, in exotics at the very least. (SELECTIONS: 1-8-7)

 Race 2: #5 SPLIT PAIRS has been knocking on the door for a win and finally got the job done last time out. He should get a good stalking trip off the speed in a race with plenty of early pace players, and may have figured things out after that maiden win. This is a weak group of runners for this level, so we’ll gladly try with a horse who is in improving. #6 MOKHANDOIT is 1 for 23 but has run two bang up races in his last two starts against similar company. If he can run well again, there’s no reason why he won’t at least hit the board. #2 INAWAR likes to be up close to the pace but is the class of the speed and towers over most of the others in speed figures. (SELECTIONS: 5-6-2)

Race 3: #7 IT’S LITTLE RICHIE pulled off a 21-1 upset in his last start, when he shook loose on the front end and had enough in the tank down the lane to hold off a couple of rivals finding their best strides late. It looks like this guy could get another loose lead in this race, and if he does, he might be able to duplicate his last start. #2 VOLUME TWELVE adds blinkers and gets rider Leslie Mawing, who rode this gelding to an 8 length maiden score in April. He should show more speed than in his last two starts with the equipment change, and his best races have come when he is forwardly placed. #8 FIRE THE TRAINER has finished behind some nice runners, but has also burned a lot of money for the horseplayers. He continuously runs second and third, which means he is a must use in exotics.(SELECTIONS: 7-2-8)

 Race 4: #10 AFFLUENT ASSET broke his maiden breaking from the ten hole last time out, and even though he has to break from the outside again, and faces winners for the first time, this field didn’t come up all that strong. If he runs like last time, he’ll be tough. ‘ASSET’s stablemate, #9 WEST COAST WHEELIE, drops in class and stretches out to a route of ground. His lone win came at this mile distance and the class drop and added distance (after two failed sprinting attempts) should really help this one get to the winner’s circle. #3 STORM THE CHANNEL has run well in every route race he has competed in this year. Even though he is 1 for 16, he has 7-second place finishes…throw him in your exotics. (SELECTIONS: 10-9-3)

Race 5: The Emerald Express Stakes for 2 YO begins the four stakes races on the card. #5 THE CHILLI MAN is the single in the first leg of the All Stakes Pick 4. The son of TRAPPE SHOT broke his maiden by 11 and a half-lengths under wraps going four and a half furlongs, and ran the third fastest time at that distance in track history. Word on the street is he has been privately purchased and will head to Saratoga after this race. Hopefully ‘CHILLI ends his Emerald Downs tenure in winning fashion. #3 MIXO is a first time starter but has been well regarded and is apparently working very sharply. He was going to run on July 2, but threw the rider in the post parade and scratched. He was getting heavy support at the time of the scratch. The race ended up being won by #4 SO LUCKY, who rolled to a 4 and a half-length victory, and then proceeded to gallop out strongly after the wire. Trainer Howard Belvoir, who has 5 Emerald Express wins to his name, has always liked this colt since he bought him at The Washington Yearling Sale. (SELECTIONS: 5-3-4)

Race 6: 11 signed on for The Angie C. Stakes for 2 YO fillies. #2 GRACE BAY has talent. She missed the break in her lone start on June 11 but made up significant ground down the lane and ran third in a race won by PADDY’S SECRET, who is the morning line favorite in this race. GRACE BAY has had two sharp gate drills (5 furlongs in 58 and 4 and 59 and 4, respectively) since her first start and could surprise if she pops the gate this time. #9 PADDY’S SECRET is hard to ignore. She broke her maiden by over six lengths in that June 11 race. The additional furlong should be no problem. I watched her 59 and 2 five furlong drill on July 10, and she looked good. All systems go for this daughter of PADDY O’PRADO. #3 LET’S MAMBO finished third in her debut after breaking slowly, rushing up to be in a stalking position, and got tired late but held third in a better-than-looked effort. If she breaks better this time and has more stamina for this race, she could be one to pay attention to at a price. (SELECTIONS: 2-9-3)

 Race 7: A wide open 12 horse field in the Boeing Stakes for fillies and mares, and we’ll give the nod to #7 PEPPY MILLER, who has terrific two-turn form. In fact, she is 3 for 4 at this mile distance. She finished third in the Washington State Legislators Stakes sprinting six and a half furlongs last time out, but she is best going a route of ground, so all things considered, that was a sneaky good effort. All signs point to this one running big in her second start off a brief layoff. #11 MORNING COFFEE is a longshot possibility shipping in from Hastings. Like our top choice, she has really good route form. Her three starts this year aren’t anything to write home about, but all three starts were sprinting. Now, she gets to go a route of ground. Last year, she won two stakes races going a mile and a sixteenth. Post position is the main concern. #10 LOCKET is another big longshot to consider in exotics. Her two starts this year have been poor, but like our second choice, they were in sprint races. She’ll enjoy getting back to running a route of ground. She finished second in five straight stakes races going over a mile at Hastings in 2015, but beware: she’s finished second or third 15 different times but has won only 3 races. Exotics play. (SELECTIONS: 7-11-10)

 Race 8: This is the final prep race for the big one before The Longacres Mile: It’s the Mt. Rainier Stakes at a mile and a sixteenth. #2 STRYKER PHD looks to become the first horse to win three Mt. Rainier Stakes races. He suffered his first loss at Emerald Downs since 2013 in The Budweiser Stakes last time out, when he ran third behind O B HARBOR and BETRBEGONE. That said, he had not run in 10 months, missed training time on multiple occasions due to an illness, and probably needed the race to get back into shape. He has a race under his belt now, gets an added sixteenth of a mile to gun down the main contenders and has been working forwardly since his last start. He should run very well here if he is the same horse he was in 2014 and 2015. #3 BETRBEGONE almost always gets disrespected at the betting windows, but continues to overachieve and prove to us that he has a lot of talent. After appearing beaten on the far turn in The Budweiser, he re-rallied down the lane and came back at the winner, OB HARBOR, only losing by a half-length. If he brings his “A” game today, he is very dangerous, especially if our top pick fails to run his best race. #1 O B HARBOR has been sensational this year, but was tiring late in his last start. He has to go another sixteenth of a mile here, and in order to do that, Jose Zunino needs to get him to relax a little bit more. Although I think he can do that, and will run well again, I also believe he is beatable. (SELECTIONS: 2-3-1)

 Race 9: There’s plenty of speed signed on here, which should help set things up for #6 THETRAILERGUY, who has disappointed in three starts this year. That said, he may be best going a mile, and his lone start routing this year resulted in a ninth place finish in The Budweiser Stakes behind our top three picks in Race 8. He was simply outclassed that day, so this class drop should really help him. If he lets a few of the speedsters burn each other out up front, he can run on from midfield and pull off an upset. #7 SCATDADDYBABY is the speed of the speed, and his three most recent efforts have been sharp. He is 4 for 6 at this distance and dominates on the Beyer front. That said, with a fast pace scenario and pressure from AWESOME INDIAN and possibly PAPA FRANK, we’re willing to try to beat him. #5 BOTCH, like our top choice, could benefit from sitting off the projected fast pace, and will be finding his best stride late. (SELECTIONS: 6-7-5)

 Race 10: #1 HAPPY HATTIE ran on strongly in her last start and finished second behind DEMONSDARLIN, a filly who would be tough to beat if she ran in this race. Rocco Bowen, who hops aboard this North Carolina bred, has been riding lights out right now, and is in front in the jockey standings by double digits. #5 DANCINGWITHDEBBIE takes a big dip in class after many poor efforts against much tougher company. Maybe she has found her friends in this $2,500 claimer. #6 RAESBEAUTIFUL HOPE finished right behind our top choice in her last start. That day, RAESBEAUTIFUL HOPE was making her first start routing since 2014. Maybe with age, she is best going a route of ground. (SELECTIONS: 1-5-6)

Emerald Downs Selections: July 3rd (4:30 PM First Post)

3 Jul

Today is a special day at Emerald Downs. For horseplayers, we have a $6,454 carryover in the $.50 Pick 5 (Races 6-10) and a $1,1,06 in the $.20 Pick 7 (Races 4-10). That’s reason to go play for some money to start off your July 4th the right way! ALL races at Emerald Downs tonight can be viewed on TVG.

On track, we are expected to have the largest crowd of the year. After the races, there will be the annual THIRD of July Fireworks Spectacular, presented by Carl’s Jr. It’s going to be a fun atmosphere, and we’re really looking forward to it!

Here are my picks for tonight’s card. First post is at 4:30 PM Pacific Time (7:30 PM Eastern.) Good luck and have a terrific Fourth of July! J

Race 1 (350 yards, Quarter Horse Allowance, 3 YO and up): #3 FURRIDDLE has not raced since January, but ran against tougher last year and figures to be fit off the layoff for trainer Dickie Martinez, who does a nice job with his quarter horses. It’s also worth noting this gelding’s best races have come at Emerald Downs. #7 HEZA FLYING FAST has won two races in a row, and has improved steadily since joining the Roddina Barrett barn this winter. One of the horses to beat. #5 SEPERATE LIST has not run since 2014, but he showed plenty of talent as a 2-year-old, and had a sharp gate work on June 26th. Maybe he’ll come back to the races ready to roll. (SELECTIONS: 3-7-5)

Race 2 (4 and a half furlongs, Maiden 25k claimers, 2 YO fillies): #6 LITTLE JOKER had been working well for her debut on June 19 and went off as the second choice. She got in a lot of trouble that afternoon, getting bumped around after hopping at the break, and had to steady hard at the quarter pole while racing in traffic. Her rider, Leslie Mawing, opts to hop back aboard for today’s race, and we’re expecting ‘JOKER to run much better with a cleaner trip and a race under her belt. #8 MYLADYSABITSHADY is another that had a less than ideal trip in that June 19th race, but was able to make up ground late and ran a very respectable fourth. She has a right to improve today for trainer Doris Harwood, who has done very well with 2-year-olds in the past. #7 ZOOMBADABOOM ran third in that June 19th race, but unlike our top two choices, had a pretty uneventful trip. She ran evenly around the track, and finished a decent third. Nobody stands out in this spot; no reason why this gal can’t hit the board again. (SELECTIONS: 6-8-7)

Race 3 (6 furlongs, Maiden 8k claimers, Fillies & Mares 3 YO & up): It may be #9 OLD FASHION HALO’s day today. She cuts back in distance and faces a relatively weak group of runners for this level. She ran second going a mile last time out, so there is no question she will be super fit cutting back to a sprint today. If anyone beats her, it may be #3 COASTAL CURVES, a first time starter for trainer Tim McCanna, who has been hitting at a high percentage with firsters this meet. She had a sharp half-mile drill out of the gate last month, and maybe that hints to us that she has some run in her. In maiden races, against a weak group, going with a first time starter is not always a bad angle, especially with a trainer who is capable of getting first time starters ready to go right off the bat. #4 GUARDIAN ONE faces a weaker group of 8k maiden claimers than what she saw in her last start at this same level. That day, she ran second behind a run-away winner. Trainer Chris Stenslie has always believed this gal will improve with racing experience. She may be able to take another step forward today. (SELECTIONS: 9-3-4)

Race 4 (One mile, Maidens 25k claimers, 3 YO & up): #1 RALLY CAP RUDY is the one to beat and for good reason. He ran a good second in his last start behind the well regarded HONORED CITIZEN, and has a right to improve in his second start going a route of ground for one of the best Washington horsemen around, Jim Penney. #7 FACE VALUED ran very poorly in his last start, but had a rough start, checked on the first turn and was never happy after that. If you can excuse that head scratching performance, you have to like this gelding’s race two back, when he was in a three-way battle for the win in his first start routing. We’ll give him one more chance. #5 PACKY’S OUT always seems to run on for a minor award. He’s finished third in 2 of 3 starts at this distance. Why can’t he do it again? (SELECTIONS: 1-7-5)

Race 5 (One mile, $2,500 claimers, Fillies & Mares 3 YO & up): We’re going to try to beat the even money morning line favorite with #7 DEMONSDARLIN, who won going a route of ground two starts back: it was probably the best race of her career. She has tactical speed and can sit right off a runner or two who will probably be sent to the front coming out of sprint races. #1 CARRICK BAY is the even money morning line favorite. Even though she towers over these in the Beyer department, most of her races have come on turf. Her two-dirt efforts resulted in off the board finishes. All that said, she has faced much tougher company in past starts; this is a significant drop in class. Owner Vann Belvoir and trainer Howard Belvoir are 2 for 2 this meet with runners shipping in from California and taking a massive drop in class to this $2,500 level. #6 INSCRIPTION is one for four at this distance and may try to take this field gate to wire. Speed tends to hold up well here at Emerald. (SELECTIONS: 7-1-6)

Race 6 (One mile and a sixteenth, $50,000 Seattle Slew Stakes, 3 YO): #2 BARKLEY is undefeated and has all the characteristics of a good racehorse: speed, stamina, talent, heart and a strong will to win. He has defeated our second choice two times now, and there’s no reason why he can’t do it again. We’ll give the nod to this son of MUNNINGS. Of course, his main threat is #4 MACH ONE RULES, who has come up a head and neck short in two races against our top choice. He got things all his own way up front on a speed biased track last time out, and still could not hold off #2 BARKLEY. He’ll probably get that same scenario today, and this will be his second time routing and third start off a layoff, meaning he might be able to improve a bit. The one to catch. #1 WILLIAM CROTTY acted up going into the gate, made an early and wide move on the far turn, but flattened out in the stretch against our top two picks in The Coca Cola Stakes. Although it doesn’t look like he has the talent to compete with the top two anyway, he can hit the board.  (SELECTIONS: 2-4-1)

Race 7 (One mile, $2,500 claimers, 3 YO & up): #4 RELATIVELY FAST already has two wins at the meet, and ran a solid race at this level last time out on June 19, when he ran on from the rear of the field and had to alter course at the sixteenth pole when in a bit of traffic. He still finished strongly and hit the wire a half-length behind the winner, WHISKEYONTHEHOUSE, who would probably go off favored in this race. #8 DEAD EYE has not won in a couple years, but we can expect this guy to put up an honest effort. He has hit the board in his last four starts and has finished behind a few hard knocking, lower level claimers types that aren’t found in this spot. #3 SAMENDRA finished right behind our top pick on June 19 and ran a respectable race. He had an eventful trip that day, breaking slowly from the gate and having to navigate around traffic in the stretch. He can run on again and may even improve a bit in his third start off a layoff. (SELECTIONS: 4-8-3)

SIDE NOTE: #1 PICK BY THE BOX will go off favored, but is being dropped from 8k to this 2.5k claiming level, after being claimed for 8k by Jim Penney. This horse is 0 for 8 on dirt and 0 for 2 going a route of ground. May win for fun, or may be a play against. I’ll go with the latter.

Race 8 (6 furlongs, $25,000 claimers, 3 YO & up): #4 SWINGSHIFT DEPUTY is the “other” Frank Lucarelli trainee in this race. On June 18, he handily beat WAR WIZARD, who came back to win the feature race yesterday, and FIRE THE TRAINER, who ran on for third in that same race. Sure, that impressive effort by ‘DEPUTY was over a wet-fast track, but this guy is in great form right now, and not to mention he is versatile: he can go to the lead, or stalk if somebody wants to set crazy quick fractions up front. Third start off a layoff, he’ll be ready to fire his very best. #6 MISTER BREEZE is a hard-knocking guy. He’s been on a tear this year, with 2 wins, 2 seconds, and one better than looked fourth place finish in five starts this season for underrated trainer Alan Bozell, who is winning at a 22% clip right now. In fact, MISTER BREEZE beat our third choice, BIG HAT CHARLIE, last time out. #3 BIG HAT CHARLIE was claimed out of that second place finish behind MISTER BREEZE on June 12, and makes his first start for trainer Charles Essex in this spot. The half brother to MALIBU MOON and PARKER’S STORM CAT has had his share of physical issues, but has also put up very good efforts in all three starts at Emerald this year. Like our top pick, he is tactical, and should get a great trip right off the speed. (SELECTIONS: 4-6-3)

Race 9 (6 furlongs, $7,500 claimers, 3 YO & up): This is arguably the toughest race on the card. Many ways to go here, and you may want to spread in Pick 5 and Pick 7 tickets here. We’ll take a shot with #3 INAWAR, who ran poorly in his last start, but has tactical speed in a race that does not draw a ton of early pace. He can either head to the front or sit right off of #4 YOU MAD BRO, who broke his maiden in wire to wire fashion last time out, and is likely to streak to the lead again. INAWAR drops in class from the $15,000 claiming level and may have found his friends in this $7,500 claiming spot. #8 WEST COAST WHEELIE finished third, actually in front of our top choice, on May 22. The second place finisher in that race, IT’S LITTLE RICHIE, came back to win his next start. Another who drops in class, ‘WHEELIE may be able to rebound after he had a troubled trip on June 11, when he was off slowly from the gates, raced five wide on the far turn, and finished fifth. #9 MOKHANDOIT ran a big race at 13-1 in his last start, where he finished second to DAVE’S BIRTHDAY BOY, a nice runner at this $7,500 level. MOKHANDOIT also beat OLD FASHIONED GRIT that day; ‘GRIT came back to win by 7 at this level a couple of weeks ago.(SELECTIONS: 3-8-9)

Race 10 (6 furlongs, Maiden 5k claimers, 3 YO & up): #2 SIX S STREET has been running Beyer speed figures that the others in this race cannot come close to producing. That already shows he’ll be tough in the Sunday nightcap. He has also run against some OK runners: GO HENRY, who beat SIX S STREET two starts back, won when facing winners for the first time yesterday, and two horses SIX S STREET ran third to last time, ROME NEW YORK and KID CHRISTIAN, would be odds on in this race. #4 DE KAFINATOR could improve in his second start at Emerald Downs. He finished fifth behind tougher company on June 3 and now drops in class for high percentage trainer Blaine Wright. #1 CASCADE CAT figures to be competitive against this week bunch. He has hit the board twice this meet against similar competition. (SELECTIONS: 2-4-1)