Saturday Aqueduct, Race 6, Local Post Time 2:45 pm ET
The Summer Secretary S., 1 and 1/16 Miles, 3YO Fillies, Turf
By Douglas Salvatore
The $100,000 Summer Secretary has attracted a strong field of 13 three-year-old fillies, and the TimeformUS Pace Projector indicates that it will be run at a fast and contested early pace.
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5/2 morning line favorite Watsdachances (#5) could not possibly have found a better spot than this one to finally land her first win of the season. Not only does Watsdachances own the best last-out speed figure, earned in a race where she faced much tougher competition than she will today, but she also projects a perfect covered-up turf trip from well in behind the expected fast pace.
She was a good fourth in her most recent start, behind Alterite and Discreet Marq. The former was a strong third against her elders in last weekend's Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf. The latter returned to win a good $200,000 stakes race at Belmont in her next start.
Watsdachances rounded into form beautifully last season, finishing up her season with a second- place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf before being shelved for the winter. She has started to improve on her two-year-old top figure, and we think that is a positive form cycle for a horse trained by the indomitable Chad Brown, a man with numerous TimeformUS Trainer Ratings of 100 in the relevant categories.
While the lukewarm morning line favorite in this race appears rock solid, the real value to the race is in exotic wagers. We believe the three best underneath contenders in the exotics are Frosty Bay (15/1 morning line), With Sugar On Top (12/1 morning line), and Sense To Compete (15/1 morning line).
Each one of this trio has an ideal running style to benefit from the expected fast pace. Each also brings formidable form into this. Frosty Bay performed excellently with a wide trip against tougher competition last time out. With Sugar On Top is two-for-two lifetime in fast-paced turf races (fast paces are denoted by red fractions in the running lines). Her most recent fast-paced race resulted in her winning by a length and a half at 11/1 odds and receiving a career-top speed figure of 93. Lightly raced Sense to Compete has run two speed figures on synthetic surfaces that would make her very tough today. She has handled turf, but she will be a big factor if able to step up and run to her synthetic surface levels today.
Betting strategy: Key Watsdachances on top in all exotic wagers, with Frosty Bay, Sense To Compete, and With Sugar On Top in underneath slots.
Sunday Betfair Hollywood Park, Race 3, Local Post Time 1:40 pm PT
The Hollywood Prevue S., 7F, 2YO, Synth
By Justin Finch
There are only five horses entered in this Grade 3 stake for two-year-olds, and it seems certain that the toteboard will end up making it look more like a three-horse race. Let's go over the three horses we consider contenders:
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Papa Turf (3-1): A $220,000 purchase as a yearling, this speedster makes the third start of his career today. In his debut, on Del Mar Polytrack, he broke sharply, engaged for the early lead, and then hit a wall and faded to finish fifth, receiving a speed figure of 67 for his efforts. He followed that up by switching to real dirt at Santa Anita and breaking his maiden in impressive fashion. He dueled for the lead from the outside, set a solid pace, and came away in the stretch to score a clear victory and earn a strong speed figure of 85. One could argue, based on the evidence from these two races, that the switch from real dirt back to a synthetic surface is a negative for Papa Turf, but we find ourselves doubting that argument. Papa Turf's synthetic effort was in his debut, and it is generally a good idea to be lenient toward debuts. There are countless reasons why a horse may fail to fire in his debut. Moreover, Papa Turf has trained well over this surface in the past, and the cushion track at Hollywood Park is not to be confused with Polytrack. It is more like a cross between Polytrack and real dirt. Papa Turf appears to have an excellent chance to open up a clear early lead in this race. He looks to have the talent to win it. He exits a lively maiden race that has been producing good next-out efforts. He has been training well. His trainer, James Kasparoff, is a low-profile trainer who gets strong TFUS Trainer Ratings (on short samples) with spacing similar to today's and when attempting a repeat victory. Papa Turf is our selection in this race.
Shared Belief (8-5): This gelding was purchased privately after breaking his maiden with ease on the Tapeta surface at Golden Gate and earning a speed figure of 91, which is the best number any horse in this field has ever run. His new trainer, Jerry Hollendorfer, gets an excellent Trainer Rating of 92 with horses who are making their first start for his barn. Shared Belief is a strong contender who figures to be a short price.
Kobe's Back (7-5): The only start of his career came in a stakes race in which he got left at the gate and then could hardly have been more impressive. He put in a stirring late run, waiting for room and then overpowering his overmatched rivals, and earned a speed figure of 66--a number that needs to be ignored because, owing to his horrible start, it doesn't even begin to do him justice. Kobe's Back went to the sidelines after that race and returns today for John Sadler, a top trainer who gets a mediocre Trainer Rating of 55 off of similar-length layoffs. Kobe's Back is another obvious contender.