THIRD RACE – It’s difficult to quantify how many lengths of trouble Lefthooklightsout encountered in his debut in late October, but after evaluating the video its fairly apparent that most of his issues were self-caused. The 3-yeear-old gelding stood in the gate at the break and lost several lengths, moved to be within range at the top of the lane but then lugged in while appearing very green and understandably lost his punch late. Back at the same level today and with a much-needed race under his belt, he can be expected to improve considerably. His new trainer has superb stats with the first-off-the-claim angle, the addition of blinkers shouldn’t hurt, and the switch to the aggressive-riding P. Lopez makes this G. Delgado-trained son of Tonalist the one to beat and a reasonable gamble at or near his morning line of 3-1.
TENTH RACE – Maiden $50,000 claiming juveniles sprint five furlongs on grass and since many of these will be racing or training on the sod for the first time what you see in the past performance charts may not accurately portray a colt’s true ability. Space Runner exits an infinitely tougher race in his debut last August and actually didn’t run badly. The G. Zerpa-trained gelding was within range to the head of the lane while stalking hot splits before gradually weakening late. Today, he takes a realistic class drop, picks up one of the stable’s “go-to” riders in E. Jaramillo, and shows a bullet half mile breeze (:47 flat, fastest of 23) late last month to have him right on edge. At 12-1 on the morning line, the son of Brody’s Cause is worth a gamble. Living Water is unproven on grass but his recent runner-up performance on dirt at this level makes him the one to beat. The son of Divining Rod displayed much improved early zip in his second career start to lead the way into the lane before being worn down late in a race which earned a strong speed figure, with the field spread out considerably at the wire. Shortening up a furlong today, the Christopher Davis-trained colt remains well above his claim in a sign of confidence, so if our top pick fails to run expectations he’ll serve as a good insurance policy in rolling exotic play.