Each day during the Colonial Downs summer season, Racing Analyst Merv Huber-Calvo will provide analysis of the card and offer his selections on the races. Race caller Jason Beam will have a Best Bet on it as well. Here is the analysis for opening night’s card on Thursday August 8th at 5 PM. Enjoy!
Colonial Downs | Full Card Expert Selections
by Merv Huber-Calvo
ORBERT (3) navigated a 12-horse field last out to find the winner’s circle, a much improved effort after moving to the grass. He takes a logical step up in class for today’s race. SPETTACOLI (10) returns from a short layoff after two good runner-up finishes in similar races at the tough Tampa circuit. PARTISAN DIVIDE (11) seems like the most likely speed and sheds the blinkers for today’s race; he could stick around longer than expected if early fractions are soft.
TOP PICKS: 3-10-11-2
EMPTY TOMB (9) makes his debut for top connections with a solid workout pattern. The only downside is the outside draw with the quick run into the turn. SPEED APP (8) turns back in distance in first start off the claim but had enough early speed to get in good position early. MAKIN TROUBLE (3) should step forward in second career start after breaking awkwardly in debut and making up ground.
TOP PICKS: 9-8-3-4
ZANNO (2) ships in from Florida where he posted a wire-to-wire win in his first turf start last out; looks to have the most speed and threatens to wire the field again here. SO STREET (5) flashed a lot of promise in debut effort but failed to impress in follow-up start; could offer value if you can forgive latest. VINCENT WILLIAM (3) was ultra impressive in his debut, wiring the field to win by nearly 5-lengths on the wire.
TOP PICKS: 2-5-3-1
BEALE STREET (7) closed well to finish third in most recent start, having to navigate a field of 12 after bobbling at the start. GODDESS OF CASH (6) showed little in her debut but could benefit from the stretch out and switch to turf. SPEED ALERT (1) was finishing up well in last race and should step forward in second race off the long layoff.
TOP PICKS: 7-6-1-8
SMALL MOMENT (10) was eased in last race but turf efforts preceding that were much better; could offer value if you can forgive last race. EVER CHANGING (8) makes domestic debut off a consistent work pattern over the Belmont Park oval for Jonathan Thomas. WITH HERSELF (4) is the likely favorite in this race after showing a couple recent strong efforts, including last out where she had some trouble.
TOP PICKS: 10-8-4-1
LNGTERMRELATIONSHIP (8) has put in a number of very solid efforts that should match up well against a field like this, including a good one-turn mile effort at Churchill Downs two back; he could benefit from a lot of speed in this race. STREET TRUST (3) failed to fire last out but should have a strong pace to run into today. SAINTLY SAMURAI (1) faced tougher last out and could be the best of the early speed here.
TOP PICKS: 8-3-1-7
EMBOLDEN (9) showed good speed in debut after being bumped at the start, finishing second to a very impressive winner; he should benefit from the experience of a race. APPRAISED (13) sports a nice pedigree and shows good works coming into his debut. Both halfs of the entry A IS FOR ARTIST (1) and COLERAINE (1A) look like strong contenders in this race.
TOP PICKS: 9-13-1/1A-7
PRINCESSCHOPE (3) has been on the shelf since last December but flashed a nice effort in her most recent race at Fair Grounds; she should be tough if ready to go at first asking. ZONDA (8) ran a much improved effort last out in her turf debut, finishing second at this level after racing wide. HONEST GINGER (7) could be a strong value play if she manages the switch to grass racing after several credible efforts in open claiming races.
TOP PICKS: 2-8-7-1
FACTION CAT (7) was narrowly beat last out in a race taken off the grass and should appreciate the return to turf racing – a surface over which he’s won in two of his most recent three starts. SHARP ART (5) ships in after some strong races in Kentucky and looks like the best candidate to snag the early lead. FIRE ON FIRE (9) was beaten just a length in a rapidly run race at Belmont Park last out.
TOP PICKS: 7-5-9-10
BLARP (2) failed to impress versus tougher last out, but prior to that had strung together three consecutive wins at this level. UNSPOILED MOMENTS (11) put it altogether last out, closing from 14 lengths off the pace to win an off-the-turf starter-allowance at Tampa; he retains the same pilot from that race and stands a big chance to run another big race. HERE’S TO MIKE (5) has been running consistently well as this level, including a win on the grass two back.
TOP PICKS: 2-11-5-4
by Jason Beem
Morning Line Odds: 12/1
#6 AGI’S CAIT
Morning Line Odds: 8/1