You know summer is in full swing when you start hearing about the upcoming meets of Saratoga and Del Mar. – Horse player’s keep time by what track is in session, and with the “Million Day” preview card at Arlington Park, the Arlington Million is about a month away. With that in mind, here are some runners you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for next out. Best of luck, and remember that “fortune favors the bold.”
Up With the Birds = Arlington / Race #6 / #2 / 7/11/15 – The grass course had plenty of cut by all reports, and it seemed a little better from this handicapper’s eye. Up With the Birds had the services of young Drayden Van Dyke who may be one of the best up-and-coming turf riders for the future. He broke well and stayed along the rail down the backstretch. Just about the time he was given his cue, he was soundly bumped by Yankee Dealer and Coco Mon nearing the 1/2 mile mark. After the bustling he kicked out four wide and attempted to make a rally, but came up a bit empty. You can bet trainer Graham Motion will have the bugs ironed out the next time he enters the paddock.
Roman Approval = Arlington / Race #7 / #3 / 7/11/15 – When a runner does very little wrongs and still gets beat, you just hold your breath until the next outing. Julien Leparoux broke on the lead under a hammer lock and tried to control the early pace of his efforts. He held sway all the way around until he was bested down the lane by the ultra-tough runner The Pizza Man. – He was only beaten a neck and you can bet if he faces runners in his ability range, it may be a different outcome.
African Fighter = Belmont / Race #7 / #6 / 7/11/15 – Luis Saez had the mount for Todd Pletcher and they were shipping over from Monmouth for this venture. He stumbled at the start and regained his footing. Going down the backstretch he started picking up momentum but ended up in the parking lot all the while gaining ground at a good clip. Give him a better start and we’ll end up having a very nice runner to play.
Willow U = Belmont / Race #10 / #9 / 7/11/15 – She stumbled at the start getting a snout full of race track to begin. This is usually pretty tough to overcome, but started to get in gear about the 3/8th’s pole. His interest was keen and swing three wide to finish up for the show money. Junior Alvarado did an excellent job all the way around, and if she doesn’t go face down in the dirt next out, she’ll be a factor to be reckoned with about the 1/4 pole.
Donsandroses = Belterra Park / Race #8 / #9 / 7/10/15 – Remember the name Jordano Tunon. He’ll be a really nice rider over time, but the young jockey had everything but the kitchen sink tossed at him in this race. He broke out and hit the gate at the start, settled out, and started gaining to have the lead at one point by a head. He was drifting about and just looked to be lost on this day. Claiming $5,000 N2L is not the Queen’s Plate, but sometimes the small tracks offer a player or two that deserve a good look next time out. After speaking with the chart callers following the race, we all agreed he was one for the watch list as he appeared to have other things on his mind. If you liked 6-1 this last time out, I’ll bet dollars to donuts he’ll be about the same price if not higher next up.
Sapphire Spitfire = Ellis Park / Race #6 / #2 / 7/12/15 – B.J. Hernandez did nothing wrong for the record. He broke alertly and settle in nice. He started closing in on the leader, but was bested by a monster by the name of Dothraki Queen who won by a commanding 7 lengths. – I like to call this effort “running a winners race” but not getting your picture taken. Two-year-olds mature rapidly at this time of year and she’ll be money in the bank next out.