In the hopes of securing a day after Christmas present, Thursday’s featured optional claimer for two-year-olds is an event with a strong favorite but also several very intriguing new acquisitions as possible upsetters.
Tommy Shelby (8-5) is very solid and will be a tough out. He’s proven consistently fastest on the Thoro-Graph scale, was a good third in a recent Maryland-bred stakes, and beat a higher grade in a prior start, albeit at 5-1/2 furlongs.
The two of interest are recent claims Twixy Cat (9-2), haltered by Claudio Gonzalez (25% FT off claim) and Candygramformongo (6-1), claimed by Jamie Ness (22%). A tough choice, we opted for the latter after checking video from his local win, NOV 8-RACE 4. [Laurel Live Video on homepage].
While all the breaks seemed to go his way, note how he was forced to move a bit early into the turn or have an outside rival take the momentum and the race, was driven hard into the stretch as the battling rivals pulled away from the race favorite, and doggedly held his coming-again rival safe.
Note, too, when his challenger reached even terms and was surging at the finish line, ‘Mongo’ extended his neck, refusing to let him his rival by, then galloped out clearly in front with good energy. It was his first start over the strip after breaking maiden at the 50K state-bred level in New York.
Taken by Ness for $25,000, he was given six weeks to freshen and has been entered back confidently at the $40K level with three recent five-furlong breezes to ensure his fitness. His outer draw gives new rider Trevor McCarthy options, and the price should be fair.
We’re taking Candygramformongo to win, 4-1 would be more than fair, will key-box exactas with his rivals noted above, and will go for a little holiday gusto by using On the Turf (7-2) in the super-exotics mix.
Thanks for the day after Christmas Gift from Laurel John. Following your advice I managed to cash a few tickets today including a few dime supers. Short field with the scratches, but still did OK. Just missed on the Ex and TRi. Looking forward…..
A Christmas Tales in closing for Toni… Acting as Santa each Christmas, I once encountered a youngster whose eyes welled up with tears when I simply asked him if he had been a good boy over the course of the year. “Santa” he answered, “I wasn’t really too good at all.” You should have seen his eyes lighten however, when I explained to him that most parents simply don’t understand. His eyes so brightened and glowed anew as I explained to him that he only had to be good from now on. I sure hope he experienced a great Christmas morning and received a few nice presents.
One additional tale for The Editor:
So I find myself in a living room in Hempstead many years removed, when once again in my red suit I am visiting the families of several co-workers on Christmas Eve., when the eldest of at least a dozen young minority children announces to all the other smaller kids “Hey Guys, he ain’t real”. “Santa is a Fake.” “He ain’t really Santa”, he continued on. So I asked the young boy in front of all the other youngsters, just why he would say that. He replied by saying “Just look at his boots.” “Even his foots are fake.” Well the observant youngster had me outed quite well indeed. I was wearing fake half boots that came with suit that I had purchased at A&S. My bad. Since that day, I have always worn only shiny black Totes. In recovery, I quickly asked the little guy to look out the living room window, and the “raised voice” of Santa asked the youngster “Do you see any snow out there? His reply was equally quick, a one word “Nope”. So I then asked him “What do you think kid, Santa is stupid? “You didn’t even get me any snow, and now you expect for me to wear my good boots?” Well he turned to all the other kids and recanted, “I was wrong everyone, he really is Santa”.
To Toni, John, Mark, TJ, and all, “To All a Good Night”.