Spot Plays for Saturday March 23rd, 2024

At Santa Anita the Grade 3 San Luis Rey drew only five to race the mile and a half. Of the five only Balladeer has early speed, and he also goes second off the lay-off. Despite a clear pace advantage and a projection that puts him lengths in front he is likely the third choice in here. He may get inhaled when it counts but I would have to ride him as far as he goes under these circumstances.

 

At Oaklawn Park the Grade 3 Essex drew 9 older horses. While I am willing to toss the dud First Mission threw in The Pegasus when I expected a much better race, I won’t come back with him in here. I lean to Wizard of Westwood who has done most of his racing on the grass, but I believe he prefers the dirt. He is second off the lay-off and is two for two on the main track. I think Vazquez can go or sit and I feel he will run a big race here, possibly his career best to date. The 8-1 morning line would be very generous.

 

The Texas Glitter turf sprint at 5 furlongs at Gulfstream Park looks like speed, speed, and more speed on paper. Reef Runner looks like he gets the trip and the set-up under Paco. His lone start on the grass was good, and if he can repeat it he could be tough to beat.

 

Lady Mine looks pretty good in The Biogios Rose at Aqueduct. She is just a different and much better filly since moving into the Jeremiah Englehart barn. She can sit close and finish and has won 5 of her 12 starts lifetime. She will have to run better than she has, but she is going in confidant and on top of her game.

 

For those looking ahead we may have one of the best turf fields we have seen in years next Saturday in Dubai. The Longines Dubai Sheema Classic, a Group 1 on the turf on the World Cup undercard is as star studded as it gets. Auguste Rodin, Emily Upjohn, Junko, Point Lonsdale, Shahryar, and Rebels Romance are all scheduled to start along with a few others. That should be one of the best races of the year.

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