Lil heads postward Wednesday night in race 3, a $10,000 claiming race for horses that have never won 2 races lifetime or Minn breds that haven’t won 3 races. It’s five furlongs over the turf and regular rider Alonso Quinonez is aboard.
As usual for Covid racing there is no paddock for us for the race. I will be by our number outside the paddock before the race and I’ll have the winners’ circle photos from Satellite’s swan song for us.
Here is the race:
Winnager (Robertson/Hernandez) – Won so impressively in first Canterbury start last year but faltered badly in her debut after nearly a year off in an allowance. Drops from there to here hoping to perk up. There must have been a reason for a year absence for a non-MN bred.
Facing North (Biehler/Arrieta) – Sharp back to back wins, both over the dirt – once against Minnesotans and once versus open. Moves to the turf here and up in class a rung. Should be speedy early.
Triple Malt (Stuart/Eikleberry) – Lone turf try at the Fairgrounds last year was competitive until the late stages in a maiden $30,000 claiming and then broke the maiden next out at Charles Town. Had over a year break before coming back at Ellis and then moving to Canterbury. Should be sitting off a little early and hope to make a run, cutting back from a mile.
Sweet Sassafrassy (Kereluk/Garcia) – Another first turfer. Broke maiden at $3500 at Los Alamitos and was beaten 11 1/2 last out at $5000. Maybe turf will be the answer?
Party Lights (Litfin/Valenzuela) – The “other” Litfin horse (or is that us?!?). Lone turf try wasn’t great but was also against considerably tougher. Definitely quick up front and cutting back a little bit should help as well.
Heighten (Hanson/Harr) – Another first turfer. Was third in last against Facing North. There will be some pace to run at and she’s not one for the lead.
As you can tell, there are quite a few first turfers in the race. From experience, we know not to toss any first turfers out or they can score at 46-1!
We’ll look at this one as “surface neutral” to start.
We broke like a shot in our win and broke well in the stake before having issues through the first turn. There is a considerable amount of speed in here, which you would expect for turf sprinters. Facing North should be near the lead, Party Lights is quick and, taking their last races out of consideration, Winnager and Sweet Sassyfrassy both are capable of speed.
Can we be the speed of the speed or will we have to sit behind and try and make a run? Alonso is going to have to determine that for himself with the break. We certainly have a good post to go either way.
We have the fastest half mile of the group in our win with the notable exception of Winnager. We know that she dug in hard and kicked on strongly in the lane in her win, so it is entirely possible that she can battle on, or close, to the lead and still come out on top. She’s had a nice refresher and has been training really well. The only thing that will make me nervous is, after the first couple of furlongs, we’re more than 6-8 out of it. Then we could be in trouble. The other question mark is, obviously, how are some of these going to handle the turf?
GOOD LUCK EVERYBODY!