-Emerald Downs is offering a little handicapping tournament at the track tonight. $20 buy-in with mandatory $2 Win/Place on all nine races on the Friday night card...and it's a tough, tough betting card from top to bottom.
The first four races tonight at Emerald are all maiden claimers for $5k, $7.5k, $5k, and $7.5k, with the two $7.5k races for juveniles. Things don't get any easier from there: a $3.5k claimer, another $4k claimer for non-winners of three lifetime, a $4k claimer for non-winners of two lifetime, a $7.5k claimer for non-winners of two, and finally, a $3.5k claimer for non-winners since January 1st or non-winners of four lifetime.
I'm going to head down to Emerald tonight to test the contest waters and see if I can't pick a few winners out of the bunch.
-The NTRA is adding 27 more berths to the NHC through on-line tournaments in November and December. (Thoroughbred Times: Online tourneys add 27 handicapping championship berths)
-One of my horses to watch from Saratoga is running back in the second race at Belmont today. Hear Her Roar got bumped leaving the starting gate back on August 26th and then raced five-wide coming off the final turn against $20k NY-bred Maiden Claimers. She returns at Belmont today and makes three changes. First, she'll stretch out from six furlongs to a mile. Second, she moves out of New York-bred company to open company. And finally, Hear Her Roar takes a price cut from $20k to 16k.
Hear Her Roar is 9/2 on the morning line.
UPDATE: Hear Her Roar dropped to 8/1 by the time they loaded the gate for the 2nd race. She broke last leaving the gate and then made a spirited run down the lane to finish second to the winner, Curlina, keying a $51 exacta. Hear Her Roar paid $7.70 and $4.90 for the place and show.
Several other watch horses will be in action over the weekend, as well:
- Roderick, a horse that got caught in a nasty speed duel last time out, returns on Saturday to repeat the state bred N1X competition. He'll shorten up just a touch from seven to six furlongs. He's got some speed to his inside to deal with but as long as he doesn't run the fastest quarter and half on the entire card (like he did last time out) he should be in much better shape. Roderick is 3/1 on the morning line.
Salty Little Sis returns after dominating NY-bred Maidens and will take on N1X competition in Sunday's 3rd race at Belmont.
That same 3rd race on Sunday will also include Under the Rainbow who was the beaten favorite in her last try against N1X. The last effort saw her start slow and then run into traffic troubles coming down the stretch.
- Beau de Beaupre comes back against Maiden Specials on Sunday at six furlongs.
One of the worst trips during the last two weeks of the Belmont meet was that of Forever Tango, who got bounced around a number of times against $20k Maiden Claimers. She makes her return on Sunday in the ninth race at Parx Racing (formerly Philadelphia Park) and takes a price cut to $12.5k and stretches out to a mile and 70.
Forever Tango is 6/1 on the morning line.