The Horseplayer Monthly from HANA also has tips, hard-to-find stats, and analysis for the meet at Kentucky Downs. You can read that issue for free here.
KENTUCKY DOWNS 9-08-16 RACE 4
CLAIMING $20,000 6.5 TURF
Given my choice of races, typically I would not land on a lower level claiming race; however, in this case the morning line favorite, and likely post time favorite, is very weak and makes this race very playable. One of the things I took note of on opening day was how the track was playing. In the route races, horses need to have some type of positional speed. Mid-pack/closer types were at a disadvantage and can be upgraded off efforts as necessary. In sprints, the course played a bit fairer, mid-pack types were not as compromised as they were in routes. The OptixPlot RESULTS tab is very helpful for visual running lines to see where the winners were on the OptixPlot prior to the race, and then comparing that to the RESULTSGraf. This is a very tricky track to handicap with the course configuration and horses shipping from all over. These are great tools to help with the handicapping process.
#8 BISSECTRISA (2-1): This is a mare I am familiar with taking OptixNotes on the NYRA circuit, and really she is not much. She had a couple perfect trips and was frankly average. Last time out she was over-matched, washy and rank. Sure you could toss that effort, but were her races at the similar $25,000 level all the great? Not really. She even struggled at a lower level at the Fair Grounds. One could argue this is the distance she needed all along. I am not so certain. She tends to run the same race every time and is no monster in here. It would not take a huge effort from someone else to step up and win.
#4 LIKE A QUEEN (8-1): I think this is an interesting spot for her. Looking back at her career she began sprinting in Florida, and actually broke her maiden at 5f, coming from way off-the-pace in a race that was melting down. She has tried sprinting three other times, and they were not bad efforts, just falling short each time. Turf sprinting in Florida is limited to those shorter dash sprints; her connections really did not have many options other than to run her long. I think this distance will be to her liking, and she is coming into this race with some recent form. A couple notes about that last race at IND: One, that race turned out to be productive, and two, in that race she looked a bit tired and not fully recovered from the previous two starts. That August 9th race was her third race in roughly 30 days following the layoff. I like to see that she is now given 30+ days, a little fresher and if the front wraps are removed, even better.
#11 ELAINE KOWALESKI (20-1): I am not expecting the 20-1, but on her current form she looks every bit deserving. The connections here are very strong with this move and her needed improvement is not out of the capacity of Maker. Her four starts on turf were all at routes, and she finished in the money in both starts at the claiming level. There are a few others that look similar to her on speed figures, but none of them are receiving the changes like this mare is to expect reasonable improvement.
#3 INDY BREEZE (8-1) and #12 BLACK BUTTERFLY (30-1) are not without hope in the win category, but likely best used underneath.
INDY BREEZE had trouble in last and has a good record at this distance. She is also lightly-raced on turf, and those starts were around two turns. Her speed figures in those races were comparable to what she was running on dirt and synthetic. Visually, she looks versatile enough the handle any surface. Her running style looks right for this track and distance.
BLACK BUTTERFLY is a bit of a reach; based on what she has shown she is slower than the other contenders. The positives are that she is a lightly-raced 4-year old, with good positional speed, she has nice outside post, and her best races have come at this extended sprint distance.
R1: 8-4-6-5 (normally I don’t like to give out four+ horses per race - some of these races are spread-worthy, and often times with these big full fields, overlays are present and deeper “choice” is worth a mention and upgrade)