Maybe not even the connections of some major Native Dancer Stakes players on Saturday’s stakes-laden program at Laurel Park have considered it but, given the new conditions, could one of these horses consider going for a mere $3 million at Gulfstream Park on JAN 25 next time out?
Of the older campaigners in this 1-1/8 miles test for three-year-olds and up, Monongahela (8-5) and Someday Jones (3-1), the 1-2 finishers in Penn’s Swatara Stakes last month, are very logical entrants from the brothers Servis.
Monongahela was a clearly best, perfect trip, three-length winner, hitting the wire with a bit in reserve in a solid 1:43.01. But it was Someday Jones which, after trailing badly, came with a furious late run way out in the middle of the course and impressed more. Neither has won at the trip.
But three-year-old Alwaysmining (8-1) has. That victory came here–along with six other scores–in the Federico Tesio of spring. The win was good enough to springboard him into the Grade 1 Preakness. He was humbled in that spot, as he was in the Indiana Derby. Subsequently, he was sidelined.
Alwaysmining returned with a Good News/Bad News/Not-Sure effort sprinting here on DEC 7, RACE 8 (see Laurel Park Live Video on HRI homepage). The good news is Kelly Rubley is profitable going sprint to route and using Julian Pimentel but is only 8% effective in LAY-2 scenarios.
The Don’t-Know portion was the prep itself. Bettors need to watch the video and make the decision for themselves. He appeared to be a tad short of condition, was not abused late when apparently beaten, but I would have liked to see him hold just a little better, especially given today’s trip.
Rubley was happy with the effort, said the horse came back great and that he used that race as a prep. All well and good but perhaps trainer-speak, too. I will say this: Before tiring he showed good life throughout and the race was strongly run; 1:09 4/5. His style ensures a viable stalking trip.
It’s a gamble but at 8-1 on the early line, it’s worth taking a positive guess. But the absolute best one could hope for is 4-1 straight, and that would be more than fair. We’re “alwaysbetting” value to win when available and here we’ll also key-box exactas with the Servis brothers.