Sunday’s feature, the Better Talk Now Stakes, will be a test for a field of promising, but occasionally inconsistent milers. When assessing such a field of young racers, it is often best to rely on their potential, such as that of Sifting Sands (3-1).
The Chad Brown-trainee has a pedigree that is well suited for a 1-mile race on the turf. He broke his maiden in a race with these conditions at Tampa Bay Downs in March, and is coming off his best race at 1 1/16 miles. In both wins, he made his move in the far turn and cleared in the stretch. Jockey Miguel Franco, who rode the most recent win as well as the race prior, should be familiar with what works for Sifting Sands. One concern is that both wins have come with Lasix, and his two losses without it were not close. He runs today without it.
Dr. Jack (9-2) is returning from a disappointing Grade II Jim Dandy Stakes, where he was eased to the finish. He should benefit from the drop in class Saturday, and the combination of an eased finish and a drop in class is an angle that I tend to look for. He is also making his first start on turf. The surface change is notable, but does not draw much concern, as his pedigree suggests he should fare equally well on either surface.
Dreamer’s Disease (10-1) rebounded from a tough finish in the Belmont leg of the New York Stallion Stakes with a much better run, finishing second in the Saratoga leg of the same series. A front-runner who built a five-length lead in the stretch, but was caught at the finish, he may only need a small tweak to his approach to complete his turnaround.
Straw into Gold (7-2) has been the most consistent runner of the contenders, with the best average speed rating of the field in his career races. He has not closed well in his last two races, and may need to lead early to run his best race. However, the field is full of runners who are best with the early lead, so if he falls behind early, he may struggle.
Sunday’s best bet is Beau Liam (8-5) in the eighth race. A winner in each of his two races, he has demonstrated far more speed than is needed to win a race of this type in the past few meets. A win Sunday should launch him into stakes company.
The best value on the card should belong to Gerrymander (10-1) in the fifth. She was bet down to 1-2 in her debut at Belmont in June in a shallow field of three. The Brown trainee finished second to Velvet Sister, who followed the win with a distant fourth in the Grade III Schuylerville Stakes and a competitive second in the Seeking the Ante Stakes. Thoroughbreds trained by Brown tend to run just as well after two months off, and Gerrymander has the capacity to outrun her morning line in this race.
1-Moonachie, 2-High Heater, 6-First Homestead, 7-The Great Dansky.
9-Charleston Strong, 10-Everesting, 5-Uncle Mo’s Cat, 8-Rogers Ginger.
4-Analyze It, 5-Bodecream, 2-Breaking The Rules, Coupled Entry (1-American Power and 1A-Sacred Life). (Coupled Entry 1-American Power and 1A-Sacred Life becomes the top pick if the race is moved to the main track).
4-Bronx Bomber, 2-Perfect Munnings, 3-Too Early, 7-Blue Gator.
2-Mommasgottarun, 10-Distinctlypossible, 3-Gerrymander, 7-A Mo Reay.
6-Bali Belle, 10-Vagaries, 4-Kinchen, 8-Hail To.
5-Montauk Daddy, 1-Air Show, 10-Elusive Edge, 4-Stanhope.
2-Beau Liam, 4-Night Time, 7-Girolamo’s Attack, 6-Yodel E. A. Who.
8-Sifting Sands, 2-Dr. Jack ,5-Dreamer’s Disease, 7-Straw Into Gold.
2-Molino, 7-Jarreau, 9-Landbiscuit, 5-Calibogee (16-Mr. Briggs becomes the top pick if the race is moved to the main track).
Whittington Park (fifth), Gamine (seventh), Jackie’s Warrior (ninth), Letruska (tenth), Essential Quality (twelfth).
Record for meet: 99 for 338.
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