4-9. Four winners on top (2nd, $7.40; 6th, $5.70; 8th, $5.10; 9th, $3.70). Cold exacta in the 6th ($15.40/$2). Reversed exacta in the 3rd ($9.70/$2). Our fourth pick completed the $36.40/$2 tri in that race. In the 8th our top pick bested our third choice with our second pick coming in third for the $24.20/$2. With our top two picks filling the win spot in six races we also had a mix of double and "pick" plays. Obviously there wasn't a whole lot of value on display Thursday though -- a trend that has been on display over the last week or so at the Spa.
A crowd of 17,819 attended and enjoyed a fine, sunny afternoon. The feature race, the $65K Union Avenue, was won by Sugar Punch -- owned in part by Yankees manager Joe Torre, the 3YO NY-bred filly now has a four-race winning streak.
The highlight of the day is clearly the G1 $400K Personal Ensign. Azeri goes for a Spa double in the stake after winning the G1 Go For Wand on 8/1. As she pulled away late that day the crowd broke out in spontaneous applause and that was probably the emotional high of the meet. Could be more of the same this afternoon.
Also, as part of the Travers celebration there is a microbrew festival in the backyard. Those of age can sample the wares of a number of breweries.
Stong...Third start of the meet. Troubled at the break two back and then got a little closer last time. The added furlong should help.
My Man George...Speedy sort faded last time but now goes first-out for Hushion and drops, might last longer against these.
Looks Expensive...Hmmm, his last couple look good enough to contend here -- but perhaps he got brave against a little cheaper. Iffy but looks capable on best.
Fixed Amount...Trainer doesn't have a strong stat there but can get it done with firsters. This one shows a nice work on 8/19 in prep for this. Might add some value.
Waitingonasunnyday...Experience counts and this one ran well in debut.
Visionesque...Also has one under belt. Was kind of a dull effort but expect better from Dutrow trainee in second try.
Dance Tune...Rallied nicely last time this track and trip for second. Could have some speed to shoot at today as well.
Guide...Also was second in a similar event last time -- albeit off-the-turf.
Star Celebrity...NY-bred from Pletcher rolled through conditions nicely then ran third in a F'Lakes stake in latest. The intriguing thing is that this gal already has three wins but fits snugly into this NW1 because she was facing state-breds earlier.
Madison Dollie...A decent third two back in turf debut. They thought so much of that she shipped to Colonial for a turf stake -- that was moved to the main track. Back on the surface they seem to expect her to be best on...
Slewbee Dubee...First-out for Violette -- a trainer who likes to have them ready to pop at this meet.
Merrill Gold...Expect improvement with this one on switch to the lawn.
Catch My Cat...Has gone well in two trips over the track. Also has shown ability at the trip. Claimed off of a nice win here last time. Johnny V rides.
Feb Eleven...Won a NW1 at Delaware last time. Goes out for Gill/Shuman who have put together a good meet thus far.
Cheetah Speed...Florida invader ran best race ever winning latest. But now jumps from $35K to $75K. A repeat would make him competitive -- but gets a little class test today.
Broadway Idol...Would be no shock to see a son of Theatrical do well on the turf. Must get in from AE list.
Builders Option...Another AE lister. Already has two good turf starts.
Franklin's Tower...Sire scores 20% first-time on turf. Powerful stat. C Velasquez riding well now -- especially on turf.
Veiled Speed...7F turf work on 8/9 seems to indicate this one is well-meant today.
Runingforpresident...Horse-for-course or perhaps just getting the hang of it -- but ran best race yet winning here on 7/29. A repeat of that is likely to be good enough to compete for the top spot here.
Seneca Point...Put in a couple of good tries since shipping in from SoCal.
Bond Arbitrage...Scary. Was stakes-placed last season. Won here in debut last summer. Concern is the layoff -- but putting in some nice works. The one to beat if ready.
Madeira Mist...Clement mare is always in the hunt -- and it's been a long time since she has missed a stakes appointment.
Vespers...Ran well here last time -- but she might be better over a less than firm course, so she's perhaps a little iffy today.
Finery...Nice, improving form in two 2004 starts. Should go well.
NINTH RACE -- Personal Ensign G1 $400K
Azeri...Will have to contend with Roar Emotion early in her first try at 10F. That might be an obstacle but we have to assume that this gal is just much better than Roar and should have little trouble handling that one. Then should be able handle this small field in the lane.
Storm Flag Flying...Putting together a decent season -- but would have work cut out beating the top choice.
Roar Emotion...Will try to take them all the way.
Deputy Strike...Looked good winning latest. Perhaps that was helped by the 11F trip. This is shorter but if he handles the 9F as well as the 11F he's clearly the one to beat.
Serial Bride...Won at this level in Jersey two back. Was a good fourth in a stake last time. AE list.
Gasperillo Daze...Lightly race over the past couple of years. Perhaps ready to fire his best and that will be enough to contend.
No White Flags.
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