RACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: C+
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 7-Yellow Brick; 5-Flat On
Forecast: The opener is a maiden affair over nine furlongs on grass that should be treated with caution. There are two main contenders, neither of which are trustworthy. Yellow Brick is the strongest on speed figures, but this will be his first try on grass, and he’s always been a one-paced grinder without a turn of foot. However, he was produced by a daughter of the noted turf sire More Than Ready, so if he moves up on the lawn his dam’s influenced probably will be the main reason. Flat On has the blinkers off angle that we like and might be the controlling speed. He has a right to enjoy grass (Uncle Mo) and could take this field a long way if not respected.
RACE 2: Post: 1:34 PT Grade: B
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 5-Midnight Love; 4-Mr. Suds
Forecast: Midnight Love has the benefit of a prior race under his belt, an okay runner-up performance behind the very promising Smokem E Z in a quick dash 17 days ago. He’s likely to produce a forward move, and from his cozy outside draw the son of Midnight Lute will be afforded the opportunity to load last and hopefully break first. Mr. Suds has looked fairly decent in morning drills and is the one to fear most. The Stay Thirsty colt was much the best in a team gate drill eight days ago when breezing in :48 flat while able to go quicker if permitted. He’s the newcomer to fear most.
RACE 3: Post: 2:07 PT Grade: C+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 5-The Reign Song; 4-Toby’s Candy
Forecast: The Reign Song rates top billing in this restricted (nw-2) $16,000 claiming sprint for fillies and mares primarily due to a significant class drop that should produce a much improved performance. Drawn nicely outside, the Steve Knapp-trained filly fits on numbers and projects to settle into a cozy stalking spot and then have clear sailing and every chance to tag the leaders. Toby’s Candy should be part of the pace based on her Phoenix form and the interior fractions that she is capable of producing. On pure numbers she’s competitive, so in a five-runner affair we’ll toss her in.
RACE 4: Post: 2:39 PT Grade: X
Main ticket (in order of preference): 5-Kristi’s Tiger
Forecast: Kristi’s Tiger returns to her winning level after being pitched too high in a tough allowance race won by the Grade-1 winner Eda. This starter’s allowance sprint is well within her capabilities, so from her advantageous outside draw the daughter of Smiling Tiger should inherit a soft stalking trip and then be able to accelerate when called upon. She’s the 7/5 morning line favorite and likely will go lower. Kuora earned a strong speed figure when winning a comparable affair over this track and distance earlier this month, and if she can turn in two alike – never her strong suit – the Peruvian-bred mare could provide our top pick with some competition. We’ll include her on a ticket or two as a backup.
RACE 5: Post: 3:12 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 3-Queen Goddess
Forecast: Queen Goddess was in too steep in the Jenny Wiley S.-G1 at Keeneland, fading to sixth behind the world class mare In Italian, but in this year’s edition of the Gamely S.-G1 the daughter of Empire Maker projects to enjoy her coveted role as the controlling speed. A two-time graded stakes winner over the Santa Anita turf course, the Michael McCarthy-trained mare is simply better than these with anything close to her best race. Macadamia and Quattroelle are thoroughly genuine and consistent mares and will give it their best shot. Should our top pick fail to run to her potential for whatever reason, either one of these high class turf performers could get up in time, so if your budget allows use them both saver’s role while reserving the main punch for Queen Goddess.
RACE 6: Post: 3:42 PT Grade: X
Main ticket (in order of preference): 6-Truehood
Forecast: Truehood, a $700,000 yearling purchase, has done everything asked in the morning for trainer Bob Baffert and looks primed and ready for a major effort in his racing debut. The son of Nyquist trained like one of the best prospects in the barn last summer at Del Mar but never made it to the post; he’s done the same this time around and should go about his business from his cozy outside draw and build form there. At 8/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower, he’s a logical short priced, rolling exotic single.
RACE 7: Post: 4:13 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 2-Hong Kong Harry; 6-Exaulted
Backups/savers: 3-Du Jour.
Forecast: This is a deep and contentious renewal of the Shoemaker Mile-G1, with several winning possibilities. We’ll spread three deep and hope to survive and advance. Hong Kong Harry was given a bit too much to do when second behind runaway winner Up to the Mark in the Turf Classic at Churchill Downs three weeks ago but this is his favorite course and a flat mile arguably his best trip, so we’re expecting the Phil D’Amato-trained gelding to snap back with his best effort. From his good inside draw, the Irish-bred veteran should be able to settle somewhere in mid-pack and then accelerate when given his cue. Exaulted has truly found a home on grass – he’s unbeaten in three starts since changing surfaces – and after winning the All American S.-G3 over this course and distance in early April the son of Twirling Candy gets his chance to face the big boys in this $500,000 affair. He’ll need to improve a bit to beat this quality of a field, but we wouldn’t put it past him. Du Jour wasn’t given the best of rides when fourth as the 7/5 favorite behind Exaulted last time out but his race before last – an unlucky runner-up in the Kilroe Mile-G1 – charts very well with these. At 6-1 on the morning line with Luis Saez picking up the mount, the son of Temple City has a legitimate look to at least hit the board.
RACE 8: Post: 4:44 PT Grade: X
Main ticket (in order of preference): 4-Defunded
Forecast: Defunded finished second in the 2022 Hollywood Gold Cup-G1 but he’s a much better horse now than then and will be odds-on to add to his impressive resume in this year’s edition of the mile and one-quarter classic for older horses. Successful in three of his last five outings while facing many of the best handicap runners in North America, the son of Dialed In was tons the best winning Californian S.-G2 here in late April after overcoming a slow start and earning a career top 102 Beyer speed figure. Stable mate Country Grammar has the bigger bankroll but Defunded is the “now” horse and rates as a confident rolling exotic single.
RACE 9: Post: 5:16 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 8-Anisette; 1-Ultimate Hy
Forecast: Anisette appears to be an English import with some quality. She makes her U.S. and 3-year-old debut after winning a 13-runner allowance race over the synthetic surface at Wolverhampton in December by daylight, and her local works for new trainer Leonard Powell indicate she is fit and ready to resume where she left off. This will be her first try on grass, but she’s clearly bred for it, so at 8-1 on the morning line she offers an excellent price chance. Ultimate Hy may be rounding back to her best form, and since both of her career wins were accomplished over this course and distance the Carla Gaines-trained mare looks reasonably solid in this first-level allowance grass miler, especially from the coveted one hole post. This will be her third start off a long layoff and, theoretically, it should be her best. Eleuthera earned a confidence building win at this level when facing state-bred foes last month in a race that produced a solid speed figure. She’s always been well thought of and with only a slight forward move the daughter of Square Eddie can be a factor against open company.
RACE 10: Post: 5:46 PT Grade: B-
Main ticket (in order of preference): 5-King Apollo
Backups/savers: 7-Doinitthehardway; 10-Wyfire
Forecast The finale is a competitive 12-runner slalom event, AKA a grass gab bag. King Apollo has run well over this course and distance in the past and most recently earned a career top speed figure when a closing second in a similar affair on the flat track. With only slight improvement, the Kristin Mulhall-trained son of Palace Malice can beat this field. Doitforandrew, a close fourth in the same race King Apollo exits, should be on or near the lead throughout and rates a decent look, though he is still seeking his first win in his eighth start, since being imported from Ireland. Wyfire seeks his third straight win while moving up from starter allowance company. He’s a tad shy in the speed figure department of what is required to be to be successful at this level, but the Mark Glatt-trained gelding has finished first or second in four of five starts over the local lawn and should at least be able to get a piece of it.