Quick amendment to account for scratches and surface changes:as of 11:56 AM
Race 1: 7-5-1A
Race 2: 7-6-8
Race 3: 8-11-2
Race 4: 4-1-5
Race 5: 12-3-9
Race 6: 4-5-3
Race 7: 10-9-13
Race 8: 2-1-3
Race 9: 1-2-8 Still on turf as of writing this ..if they come off I had 5-1-3
Race 10: 6-3-4
Race 1: 7-5-1,1A
(7) Ma Meatloaf goes 2nd time out for trainer Todd Pletcher after finishing 3rd (behind Mertz) last time out when heavily favored in her debut. She should be sharper today, and the daughter of Stay thirsty should appreciate the off going. Tyler Gaffalione has the call to ride.
(5) Mertz makes her 2nd start after showing speed in her debut down at Aqueduct for trainer Rudy Rodriguez. The daughter of Ghostzapper should handle the off going that is expected at Belmont just fine and I expect her to be sharper 2nd time out.
(1,1A) Romani and Abyssinian form the favored entry for trainer Wesley Ward; however as jockey Joel Rosario is named to ride both I would expect only one of them to race. Romani would be making her debut and shows a sharp last workout at Keeneland, and Abyssinian will be making her 2nd start after showing speed before finishing 2nd in these exact conditions at Belmont a week ago.
Race 2: 1-2-8 on turf / 7-6-1 off turf
(1) Blissful Breeze looks to win her 3rd straight race since being switched to the turf for trainer Mark Casse, and will be our top pick should this race stay on the lawn. Dylan Davis retains the mount on the daughter of Colonel John who becomes our 3rd choice if the race is rained off as her sloppy track race 4 back at Aqueduct earned a competitive enough figure to still factor in here.
(2) Tiz Priceless ships up from Gulfstream Park after dominating a maiden claiming race first time on turf for trainer John Kimmel. We can expect her to improve in her 2nd turf start if we stay on today.
(8) Regal Dame lost a head bob after leading all the way at this level last time out when 2nd to our top pick Blissful Breeze and should be prominent from the start once again for trainer Mike Maker.
(7) Northernstreetgal will be our top pick if the race is rained off of the turf. Her dirt figures are somewhat up and down but her best race would at least make her competitive at a price in here.
(6) Salty Smile is entered for MTO and will be the big favorite in here if the race comes off the turf. Last time out she was 2nd to the impressive Jump Ruler down at Aqueduct for trainer Rudy Rodriguez.
Race 3: 6-1-9 on turf / 9-8-11 off turf
(6) Way Early will be our top pick if this race stays on the turf after she ran a solid 2nd in her 2018 debut finishing 2nd down at Aqueduct for trainer George Weaver. She should find herself in good stalking position early on.
(1) Phone Funky Munky has been away since breaking her maiden in late August at Saratoga for trainer David Dunk, but the son of Data Link shows a steady, but not spectacular work tab for his return.
(9) Minsky Moment returns from a December layoff where he finished 2nd in similar conditions. Chad Brown is typically good off the layoff and he will be one of the choices in here. On turf Minsky Moment will be our 3rd choice, but on dirt we will elevate her to our top choice as she has handled these exact same conditions well in the past including breaking her maiden at Belmont last spring in an off the turf special weight.
(8) Gio d’Oro ran well in the sloppy Gander stakes down at Aqueduct last time out after winning on a good track in his previous try for trainer Brad Cox and definitely moves if this race comes off the turf.
(11) Engineers Report is the only MTO entrant in the field, but did finish 4th behind Good d’Oro in the slop 2 back for trainer Rudy Rodriguez.
Race 4: 4-1-5
(4) Major League steps up in class after an impressive win last time out at Aqueduct earning an 87 bris figure for trainer Rudy Rodriguez. He should handle the off track, and be sitting on or near the lead.
(1) Missile Bomb stretches out off a win last time out for trainer Brad Cox and also ran well 3 back on a sloppy track at Aqueduct. The former $225K purchase drops in for a $12,500 tag today.
(5) Toohottoevenspeak just missed last time out at this level finishing 2nd to fellow entrant Holding Aces and will now stretch out to 7F. He should be making a good run late under jockey David Cohen.
Race 5: 12-9-10 on turf / 12-10-3 off turf
(12) Grand Banks will be our top pick on turf or dirt for what appears to be a weak $40K maiden claiming event. The Jeremiah Englehart trainer drops from a special weight after finishing a solid 2nd last time out on turf. In her only off the turf event he finished an even 4th, but earned a figure that might be good enough against this bunch.
(9) Single Mission returns from an October layoff for Michael Stidham and shows a solid workout tab down at Fair Hills for her 2018 debut. Tyler Gaffalione gets the call today.
(10) My First Gal ships up from Oaklawn Park and returns to the turf in her 2nd start of 2018 for trainer Michael Lauer. She ran her best ever speed figure 2 back on the turf, but would also be our 2nd choice on dirt as her figures match up with the rest of this field.
(3) Celtic Serenade goes turf to dirt and can be useful on either surface in here for Bruce Brown, but we think her best races have come on off tracks down at Aqueduct so we would move her up on dirt in here.
Race 6: 4-5-3
(4) Daring Destiny has shown speed in his recent races, and won in the Mud at Aqueduct 3 back. The Linda Rice trainee appears to be well spotted in this event,
(5) Asphalt Paving finished 4th behind Daring Destiny (3rd) in his last race and looks to be the next best on paper. The son of Speightstown should handle off going despite finishing 6th 2 back in the slop in a much tougher race than this.
(3) Shamrocked goes first time off the claim for Raymond Handal and could be helped out by the addition of blinkers today. He looks like the best of rest.
Race 7: 6-11-12 on turf / 10-9-13 off turf
(6) Royal Asset goes first time off the claim from Tom Morley and would be our pick if this race stays on the turf after racing on the dirt in his last 3 races. His 4 turf races have all been competitive though, and might appreciate getting back on that surface.
(11) Dr. Shane just missed dueling on the lead last time out at this level for trainer Danny Gargan. Could be a play right back at this level today.
(12) Banana Thief just missed at this level last time out at Aqueduct when rallying through traffic to finish 3rd behind Dr. Shane. If he works out a cleaner trip for trainer Steve Asmussen he has every right to be much closer today.
(10) Sudden Surprise would be our top pick on dirt after being reclaimed by trainer Todd Pletcher for Repole Stable after a 4 race stay in trainer Brad Cox’s barn. When last seen for Pletcher the son of Giant Surprise had won his last 2 races including a race in the slop at Saratoga last September.
(9) Blue Belt makes his 3rd start of the year for trainer Rudy Rodriguez and should show speed in here. His last race was a bit concerning as he showed little after running a big race 2 back at Aqueduct winning and earning a 96 bris figure that day.
(13) Love That Jazz also finished well behind in the same Aqueduct allowance race as Blue Belt last time out, and while that race was at this very same level the winner that day Long Haul Bay ran a very impressive race drawing off to win by 4 in 1:09 flat.
Race 8: 2-1-3
(2) Horoscope ran away with an nx1 allowance when last seen at Aqueduct going wire to wire that day for trainer Rudy Rodriguez and should once again find himself on the lead under jockey Jose Lezcano. The son of Astrology has earned Bris figures of 96-94-97-95 in his last four starts and will be the solid choice in this event.
(1) Calculated Risker should be sitting a nice trip off the early pace and returns to the same level where he finished 2nd last time out earning a 98 Bris figure for trainer Raymond Handal. He sports 3 wins from 4 starts on off tracks.
(3) Evaluator drops out of the Grade 2 Wood Memorial while returning to NY bred company here taking on older for the first time. His lone dirt race at Belmont was a nice late closing win to close out his 2 year old campaign in last years Sleepy Hollow.
Race 9: 1-2-8 on turf / 5-1-8 off turf
(1) March X Press just missed last time out when 3rd in the Mizdirection at Aqueduct rallying sharply late to miss by a half length for trainer Todd Pletcher. She should appreciate the added furlong. On dirt he would be our 2nd choice in what would be her dirt debut, but is bred well enough (Shanghai Bobby/Indian Rush) to handle the surface switch.
(2) Mentality finished 4th right behind our top pick last time out after encountering a little trouble on the turn. She wouldn’t be a surprise in here and shows a sharp 4 in 46 and 3 workout on the Belmont turf on May 6th for trainer Wesley Ward.
(8) Africa finished 2nd ahead of our top 2 choices last time out and was more forwardly placed than that pair. However, this time she will have to navigate the added furlong for top trainer Chad Brown. Africa would also be our 3rd choice on dirt as we feel she would handle the dirt (specifically the off going).
(5) Elevenses would be our top pick if this race moves from turf to dirt coming off a solid win in the Any Limit down at Gulfstream Park. The daughter of More Than Ready has won 3 of her 4 starts including a 10 length score breaking her maiden first time out at Aqueduct last November.
Race 10: 6-3-4
(6) The Giant’s Vow returns off an October layoff for trainer Charlton Baker after having a rough trip first time out in that race. She doesn’t meet a particularly deep field in here and is bred to handle the expected wet going.
(3) Downtown At Noon ran well last time out finishing 2nd on this track and stretches back out a half furlong today. She should be on or near the lead.
(4) Queenofeverything ran very well in her first start of 2018 getting caught late. It would be no surprise if she is sharper in her 2nd start back for trainer H. James Bond.
Good luck with your handicapping and betting today ladies and gentlemen. If you have any questions or comments feel free to contact me on twitter @JasonNYM.