We’re back Stateside on Friday night with five more meetings from the United States.
Our man on the trading floor has kindly run through the action from two of those cards, Gulfstream and Tampa, and picked out his race to watch across the evening too.
Luis Saez is still very much the man in form at Gulfstream. The Panamanian ace continues to rack up winners and has maintained a near 20% strike-rate so far this season.
He’s got an extensive book of rides for some top trainers, and two that could be worth paying close attention to are Hartling (18:34) for Michael Pino and Eve of War (21:46) for Todd Pletcher. Both fillies are seeking redemption having been good winners before both coming unstuck last time out.
Hartling had a rare blip last time where she was beaten on the turf course. Before that though she’d run up four smooth victories including three on the dirt. Her expert handler looks to have found a good opportunity to get this three-year-old daughter of Mucho Macho Man back on track in what looks an open race.
Eve of War contests a much stronger race containing two ex-Jessica Harrington imports. She trounced her opposition on her first start, bolting up by 7½l and looking like a very good horse. Things went wrong a few weeks later, though, when she stumbled at the start and was never in contention.
Legendary trainer Pletcher is clearly seeking to get her back on track with this switch to turf. It would be no surprise to see him get it right, but the stiff competition posed by Secret Stash (3rd in the Florida Oaks) makes this a tough contest.
Saez booked rides: First In Line (18.00), Hartling (18.34), Borrowed Angel (19.39), Frenchmen Street (20.11), Simple Story (20.43), Combination (21.15), Eve of War (21.46), Graceful Princess (22.17), Fifty Cents (22.47)
One horse that might be familiar to racing fans is Shrewdness. Formerly owned by The Queen, this daughter of Lawman was trained by William Haggas in the UK and makes her second start in the US for trainer Patrick Biancone.
Some might consider her first run (beaten only ¾l) to be an excellent one considering that came after almost six months off the track and she might not have been fully tuned up.
However, that race was on the turf and this is a different proposition entirely. She isn’t bred for dirt and even though Biancone has a good record switching horses from one surface to another, it does pose a serious question.
Shrewdness’ only win in the UK did come on the dirt at Wolverhampton, though, and there is some hope she might take to the mud. She isn’t the only former Haggas in-mate in the field either.
Whispering Beauty also used to be in the care of the Classic winning trainer and arguably achieved more. In the UK she managed two wins at novice level and has run well on her two starts in Florida.
This is also her first attempt on the dirt surface and again there are questions about how well she will handle it. Brendan Walsh hasn’t had much success so far with his runners this season and a win for his filly here would be very welcome. The real question is, will either of the former UK-trained horses be able to shine on the dirt?
Tampa Bay Downs
Although Daniel Centeno is the hottest jockey at Tampa right now, Samy Camacho continues to ride at the top of his game and has more bookings on the card.
He looks to have some excellent chances, the best of which could be Sunset Empire in the first race (17:24) and Fort King in the last (20:58). The former has three wins and two seconds from just eight starts at the Florida track and Camacho has a great record when teaming up with Anthony Granitz.
While the five-year-old doesn’t have the most impressive recent form figures, the switch back to dirt and big class drop could see him in a much better light. On the other hand, Fort King comes into this race off the back of a win under Samy last time.
The pair obviously get on well together and no doubt his pilot will be hoping for a repeat performance. They’ll face strong competition from likely favourite Bueno Bueno Bueno, but there is no substitute for a partnership who get on well and a jockey full of confidence.
Camacho booked rides: Sunset Empire (17.24), Majestic Melody (17:52), Silent Mischief (18.21), Baci (18.52), Lady Breanna (19.25), C’Era Una Volta (20.26), Fort King (20.58).
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication