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Homeracing

Ellis Park Spot Plays for Friday, July 12

Profile Picture: Joe Kristufek

July 10th, 2019

by Joe Kristufek Race 3 – LUNAR APPROACH (#1) (8-1 ML) Adding blinkers for the first time in what will be her 18th start, this five-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon has as good a chance as anybody to win this race, and I’m a bit skeptical of the morning-line offering. Last out at Churchill Downs, she was stuck in tight between horses early and was shuffled back behind moderate fractions. She made a bold four-wide move on the turn and got up late for second behind the 8-5 favorite. A model of consistency and capable on all surfaces, she possesses finishing punch in a race that appears to be overloaded with early speed. Race 4 – LNGTERMRELATIONSHP (#4) (9-2 ML) Remarkably consistent his entire 17-race career, one could argue that this four-year-old gelded son of Barbaro’s baby brother Nicanor is better than ever. Two starts back over a one-turn Churchill Downs mile, he closed stoutly into hot fractions to just miss behind the very talented Uber Kirk. Stretched out to two turns over a wet fast track last out, he would check in an even fourth, but that could be a key race moving forward. The runner-up is intended for Saturday’s Indiana Derby (G3). Both of this guy’s career wins have come over the seven furlong distance and he should have an honest pace to kick at here. Use him in the gimmicks with Jacktastic (#6) (5-2), Carrier Landing (#5) (3-1) and Undercover Lover (#3) (6-1). Race 6 – GRIFF (#4) (8-1 ML) Off a narrow miss for $25K at Keeneland, this eight-year-old gelded son of Rockport Harbor looked like a salty contender when dropped in for $16K at Churchill Downs, but a nightmarish trip cost him all chance. He lost five lengths at the start, was hung eight-wide on the turn and was not persevered with late. With dirtied up form, he dropped again, this time in for $7,500, and he made short work of that overmatched bunch, winning much, much, much, much, MUCH easier than the 1 3/4-length margin of victory would indicate. A heady claim by Jason Barkley, he should offer fair value in this contentious Ellis Park starter. Race 7 – VOGT (#8) (3-1 ML) This sophomore son of Fed Biz looks like a borderline standout here. Talented enough to accompany the Steve Asmussen string to Saratoga, he instead stays in Kentucky with a chance to feast on softer company. He’s run huge in all six of his turf sprints starts, but has only one win to show for it. Two back he got shuffled back and rallied too late. Last time out while seemingly loaded while sitting an advantageous pocket trip, he hit the rail and jumped in the air, losing value momentum and ground. He re-rallied, but a sharp winner got the jump on him. With no surprises from a cozy outside post, he should be able to handle this field. Coltonator (#2) (5-1) and Spirogyra (#4) (6-1) are the gimmick fillers. Race 8 – FINAL CUT (#2b) (5-1 ML) In her final start of 2018, this sophomore daughter of Gemologist was in tight between foes, checked and then steadied while tugging, and she still only got beat 2 1/2 lengths by an eventual Kentucky Oaks participant in Positive Spirit. Final Cup’s seasonal debut at Tampa was uninspiring, but her two most recent efforts at Indiana Grand were rock solid. Two back she finished a distant second behind More Roses, but that rival followed up with a crushing allowance score to remain perfect from two starts. Last out Final Cut held a clear lead in the stretch, only to get run down late, and she was 7 1/4 lengths in front of the filly who ran third. This doesn’t appear to be the strongest race for the level, and you get two for the price of one with the well-bred wildcard Baby Seal (#2) (5-1 ML). PHOTO: Ellis Park (c) Coady Photography/Ellis Park

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