The featured eighth race is a wide open $50,000 claimer on the turf for older horses going a mile. What we don’t know is where the Irish rail will be placed. On Sunday, the last day of racing, they ran on the hedge with no rail and out 96 feet, the widest position on the course the rail can be placed.
(The rule of thumb is that the narrower the circumference, the better for the pace horses. Despite five inches of rain here late last week, the course was rated good on Sunday, which was right on the mark.)
On paper, today’s mile is a battle between two classy old pros vs. two younger and sharper rivals. Since either figures to be the better price than the “class” horses, we’ll err on the side of value.
Murch (6-1) has more class, if his Equiform figures are the measure, and is faster than Man Above (8-1). But the latter has made great strides for Eddie Plesa, who’s handled him like a good horse [schedule-wise] after beating $35,000 rivals last time out. Freshened, Man Above races best in that scenario, and owns tactical speed in a paceless race. The presence of position conscious Elvis Trujillo helps his chances.
We’ll go for the gusto. Taking Man Above to win at 6-1 or greater, [turf only] boxing him in the exacta with Murch, and adding the two class types, Wood Be Willing (3-1) and Ballast (5-2) to the trifecta mix.
Running Totals: (388) 119-81-53 Total Dollar Return: $826.20 [win selections only]