by Brett Sturman
Grand Circuit action kicks into gear Saturday (Oct. 3) at Red Mile featuring freshman filly trotters and colt and gelding pacers. In addition, a number of the best horses in training are featured through three signature races from Dayton Raceway. Here is how I see those races playing out.
Race 2, Bluegrass 2YO Filly Trot $87,000
It’s easy to say now but 6-1 was a gift on LADY CHAOS in the KYSS here two weeks ago. Coming off a second to Donna Soprano in the Peaceful Way, she was able to pounce on Darlene Hanover who wasn’t at her best and capture that $250,000 final. She will win her division of the Bluegrass if that good again. Jeff Gregory has been sneaky good this year with his youngsters and may have won that PASS final two back with YOU ATO DREAM if not for Svanstedt’s charge that snuck up on her inside; can’t seem to beat that rival. All of those second-place finishes have been notch. CHABLIS tired late in her last pair at the Meadowlands; may be better late now for trotting specialist Czernyson. INEFFABLE will get play on the strength of her connections; would have to see her prove it.
Race 3, Bluegrass 2YO Colt Pace $119,100
LOU’S PEARLMAN popped the pocket maybe a little too early last week on Jug Day, though I’m not sure he would have beat Chase H Hanover in that record performance anyway. That aggressive try should bode well for a controlling attempt from the rail; one of three Burke entries. COMMANDING OFFICER goes for the winning Jug connections of Bongiorno and Alagna. A winner of two in a race including a 1:51:2 two back, he rode the cover of Perfect Sting three back but tired in the waning stages of that mile. FULSOME Is another that finally gets away from Perfect Sting; closed evenly off second-over cover last out. That was a breakout kind of mile at the Meadowlands last out from ONE EIGHT HUNDRED. LITERL LAD HANOVER is the 3-1 morning line favorite but I don’t see it.
Race 5, Bluegrass 2YO Filly Trot $87,000
AVENIR had a minor hiccup when she was about to clear to the lead around the first turn at the Meadowlands last out, but she was able to recover quickly in a multiple move win. She now goes second time hoppled and can win at a square price if she trots. I’d like at least 5-1 to justify the risk. FLAWLESS COUNTRY was absolutely buried around the final turn in the PASS final at Pocono before she was gifted the pocket and then sprinted up the inside for the win; beat some talent in that race. ITERATION may not be the flashiest but always manages to win; obviously dangerous connections in Sears and Melander. LINDYS DOLLYLWOOD beat eventual KYSS Final winner Lady Chaos four back at the Meadowlands, not without a chance for trainer Ducharme.
Race 7, Bluegrass 2YO Filly Trot $87,000
AUNT IRENE is the lesser proven one than race rival BEAUTIFUL GAME, but there could be a great deal of ability here. She was finally able to stay flat in her Kindergarten race at the Meadowlands two weeks ago and powered away to a convincing win; was highly regarded in the summer. BEAUTIFUL GAME showed speed, yielded to the big favorite and then had some late trot after some traffic from the pocket but by that point Lady Chaos already had the jump on her. She shows up every race is far more deserving than that 1 for 8 record. SWEEPING RAINBOW is a playable longshot for Holloway. Crushed lesser in the maiden breaker two back in the sloppy going and didn’t get the cleanest trip in her last; watch out. HELLO I LOVE YOU needs to go a touch quicker.
Race 8, Bluegrass 2YO Colt Pace $120,100
PASS champ SOUTHWIND GENDRY gets the worst post but I don’t think many would question he’s the best horse. He exists a well measured win in the Elevation stakes at Hoosier and it looks like Miller loses the drive now that Gingras is back; looms a heavy favorite. SHAKESPPEARE could make for an interesting longshot play; see how Commanding Officer does from race 3 to get a better read on this one. SOUTHWIND PETYR steps up but with Harder and Sears he’ll get a shot if good enough. HIGHLANDBEACHSBEST paid $30 two back when he won his Metro elimination, you don’t see that kind of price too often coming from Takter. Was in too tough in that final but inside post now and acquisition of Tetrick will help. WINNER IS COMING goes off a game try on the front end.
Race 9, Bluegrass 2YO Filly Trot $87,000
HOT AS HILL makes her third start off the qualifier and showed speed two back from an outside post in a race won by Aunt Irene (see race 7). She wasn’t good enough for some of these earlier in the summer but might be worth a shot now; upset call. DARLENE HANOVER picked a bad time to not fire her best when she finished off the board last out in the KYSS Final. That was the first loss in five races for the Doherty winner; seems like she can be forgiven. ANOKA HANOVER out-closed Insta Glam last out in the Meadowlands when they were all coming home slow after the fast fractions; figures to have a say. MAY KARP has some speed; has steadily quickened in every race.
Race 10, Bluegrass 2YO Colt Pace $120,100
It doesn’t always pan out when you breed a champion to a champion but in the case of PERFECT STING it did. By Always B Miki out of Shebestingin, he’ll be out to accomplish at the historic Red Mile what both his parents were able to do. Aims for 7 straight. An upset possibility could be PIRATE HANOVER. He broke in the Metro right as he tipped off cover into the stretch, prior to that closed in :26:2. SUMMA CUM LAUDE gets the driver change to Gingras and will be firing. ALWAYS A MIKI broke two back when was likely going to be defeated anyway; disappointed next out at 50 cents on the dollar.
Race 8, Dayton Distaff Derby $175,000
KISSIN IN THE SAND was dominant in the Milton and she looked better than she has in some time. I think she has the conditioning edge on #2 and will take my chances at the better price. What more can you say about SHARTIN N? Is she at all vulnerable in first start since mid-August? CAVIART ALLY has beaten both those mentioned mares in the past and had too much work to do in the Milton. Appears to be much sharper now than she was in the summer; chalky looking race.
Race 10, Dayton Trotting Derby $175,000
This is another race where on any given night the winner can rotate among the top two or three, it’s ATLANTA and MANCHEGO again. Just when ATLANTA looked like she was tailing off a few back she powered away in the Maple Leaf two back. Similarly, MANCHEGO hasn’t won in her last four and all of the sudden she’ll be the one let go at a higher price than usual. LINDY THE GREAT is always around but doesn’t win. GUARDIAN ANGEL AS was parked three-wide to the quarter in 26:3 last out; can bounce back. MAJESTIC PLAYER A deserves another chance against this level, but it didn’t work out in the Crawford at Tioga in August. WHEN DOVESCRY can and has beaten these on her best.
Race 12, Dayton Pacing Derby $176,500
BACKSTREET SHADOW faltered last out through the Hoosier stretch but the rail at this track can play to his liking. Tetrick should try to have him on the lead and I like at a price. THIS IS THE PLAN invades in fine form for Burke after capturing last week’s Pacing Derby at Hoosier; slightly tougher group now and 10/1 programmed line seems inviting. BETTOR’S WISH is the one to beat as the most consistent of the older pacing group this year; tough competitor. DANCIN LOU and CENTURY FARROH have been alternating form; either of their best gives them a fighting chance. OUR MAJORDAN A is another that isn’t always consistent but is fast when right; could be a threat at double digit odds for Brett Miller and Virgil Morgan. The 3-year-old Ohio gelding OCEAN ROCK gets the highest possible test for class; tall task ahead of him.