To show our support for the across the board takeout reduction, we will be posting handicapper helpers, courtesy of Emily Gullikson and OptixEQ, for each card.
MONMOUTH at the MEADOWLANDS 10-05-16
It’s good to be back at the Meadowlands after last week’s cancellations. As alluded to close out the last racing week, OptixPlot was very helpful, especially in route races signaling on horses that were positioned favorable to that track profile. Sprint results played out similar to last year, favoring horses on the lead. The track took some water and may play differently, of course we won’t know until once the races have started.
RACE 5 #7 IAN SMITH (3-1) looks like a play against in this spot as the morning line favorite. I do question whether or not he will be the post time favorite, but he still should be an underlay in the multi-race sequences. There are a lot of factors at play that scream “PREP?”. After a failed attempt to start his 3-year-old year, he was laid up another eight months - this is not something I find favorable and signal a horse that has issues and is not completely reliable. During that time away he received a barn change (same owner); this barn change is acceptable and would not consider a downgrade, even moving away from Pletcher. The Abbott stable operates on a smaller scale, the trainer is more personally hands-on, and does especially good work on the turf.
Compared to the rest of the field, IAN SMITH only has one career win, whereas the rest of the runners sport multiple wins. As for running style, both of his starts in sprints were on the lead, which is favorable on this course, but he will have to deal with the pressure of others in here that are confirmed frontrunners and will be fit enough to fight the battle and win the war.
Another question with him is whether or not he is a true turf sprinter. After breaking his maiden, the former connections continued to stretch him out around two turns. His posted speed figures are on the slower side but do remember those are 2-year old numbers and reasonable age improvement puts him on par for level. Again, this looks like a prep race, perhaps using this race for conditioning for a future start or stretch out. He looks like a runner worth taking a wait-and-see approach, especially at a short price.
Twitter: @Mayhemily1 and @OptixEQ