Just a reminder, paddock group one will be in the paddock for TENS WILD’s first race. The group has an awesome responsibility in front of it since the racing club is on a 5-race winning streak after MARYJEAN and TERICE tore up Hawthorne Race Course at the end of last season.
Those of you with last names including and falling between Grussing and Nelson are in Group 1. We’ll meet you all in Silks (Jeff was able to reserve us a pod there, look for the sign) after the photo for Race 3 and then we’ll head on in together.
Here is a brief rundown of the race.
$16,000 Claiming, One Mile and 70 Yards over the turf course.
UNSADDLED GLORY (Donlin/Hernandez): He tends to perk up when he hits the turf but still only has 2 wins in 10 attempts over it. Recently third in his seasonal local debut after cutting the fractions early. Now stretching out from that 7 1/2 furlongs.
BOBBLEHEAD (Rhone/Butler): Really stepped up winning a dirt sprint allowance first after the claim for Bernell Rhone. He tries the grass again where he was 0-3 at Tampa, though not awful efforts. Some “ifs” with this one stretching out and back on the turf but the Rhone/Butler duo is always dangerous.
DR ACTION (Brinson/Escobar): Clay’s other horse who really benefitted from the class relief last time out. Though he doesn’t have to set the pace, he seems comfortable there. That said, there is plenty of other speed in here as well.
CASTING (Tracy/Sanchez): Another who would like to be on or near the lead. Lower level efforts in Chicago were fair enough but I’m not sure this season if automatically pushing a horse up the ladder because it’s moving from Arlington to Canterbury is a given. Barns have gotten tougher this season.
KIPSON (Scherbenske/Martin): Minnesota bred dropping a bit here after a bit of a lackadaisical effort last out, his first of the season. This may be a bit of a tough spot but expect some improvement after getting a race under his saddlecloth.
TENS WILD (BRINSON/GONCALVES)
BRAINWASH (Diodoro/Eikleberry): Pulled up early last out in a very contentious allowance last out. Diodoro thought enough of him after the claim to try a Phoenix stake. He could be dangerous here on the drop or he could be trying to get the horse claimed. Hard to tell.
MR. MISCHIEF (Granitz/Homeister): Certainly has won v better in the past, though end of the season form last year is suspect. Granitz debuts him here instead of Chicago, maybe looking for an easier spot.
NATIONAL (Rarick/Velazquez): Very consistent 7-year old won in his local debut over the dirt going six furlongs. Switches to turf (0 for 3 lifetime) and a route, never his strong point either.
ANOTHER GEAR (Biehler/Goncalves) ENTERED FOR MAIN TRACK ONLY: Won at $15,000 at Oaklawn but faltered in his follow ups in starter allowances. Back in for the tag and, if on the dirt, on his preferred surface. If we’re on the dirt he’s going to be dangerous, especially if the speed doesn’t scratch.
The question I always like to ask in these previews is: Can we win and how do we do it?
Firstly, I haven’t spoken with Clay yet if we’re going to stay in if the race comes off the turf, but I suspect that we will. Our boy has a high wet track number and has a win and a third over that type of surface in five starts. Either way, though, I think the route to the winners’ circle is the same.
TENS likes to be at or near the lead and I think his best performances have been when he can lay off an early pace and charge late. CASTING, UNSADDLED GLORY and MR MISCHIEF all like the front. Add into the mix a couple of sprinters stretching out and there should be a healthy mix up front. Hopefully leaving from the six spot out of the chute with a pair with early speed inside, Leandro can get a decent trip sitting 3rd or fourth toward the rail while the rest of the speed gets taken wide onto the main track and, perhaps, through the first turn.
If we can stay close, we saw in that last race that our boy has some tenacity to him. The last 100 yards I’d put him up against anybody. This step up in class is a challenge but one that can be overcome. He’s a relatively fresh horse and he’s been steadily improving since his layoff. It doesn’t take a huge leap here to get us win, but it’s a closely matched field.