The Spotlight is out again for the first time in this new year and after shining with the dropping of the ball in New York City on New Years Eve, the spotlight stays in the city to focus on an allowance race that is open to three year olds and up. It is for non-winners of 5 lifetime races and will be on the dirt at a mile distance.
1 SHANGAI VIPER 4/1-Comes off a decent 2017 campaign where he was ITM five of six races and a pair of wins. Feisty front runner will put in his best effort and has done well at mile route in past. Speeds have been in nice 100-range and looks to be competitive in this field.
2 BUZZ CLAWING 13/1-Had a respectable 2017 season, cashing in half of his starts. Concern is the speed where 100+ is the target for this field to win and he only hit this number twice last season. He does enter off a 107 in his last outing and if this carries over into this race he could turn out to be a spoiler.
3 SEALANDIA YMER 103/1-Winner of one race in 11 starts does qualify under the conditions for this race but is severely overmatched with other horses who have had better success in finding the wire first and do run much faster. This will be his first start at a route distance but that does not seem like it will make a major impact against his foes.
4 OXBOW’S SUNSET 5/2-ITM four of eight starts last year, all in a range of 8 to 8.5 furlongs he scored a win and a trio of seconds. Speeds have been excellent ranging from 102 to 112. This late closer enters in after finishing fourth and a SP of 109 where he made up 7 strides in the second half of the race. If he can keep the deficit a little closer at the half mile marker, he may be able to rope in the speedsters.
5 AWESOME KEY 10/1-This colt took a half year off from racing before returning to the track in late June last season. His speeds have started to fire up as he has posted 102 and 105 in his last two outings. He’ll be pressing the issue on the front end early on but keeping something for that last furlong will be critical to take the win.
6 IRISH MUSLIM 6/1-This fellow may have found his niche on the track. He’s done well on the turf and just recently transitioned to the dirt. Six of his ten starts last year were at distances of 8 to 8.5 furlongs where he has nailed his top speeds on both the turf and dirt surfaces. Despite finishing fourth in his most recent venture on the dirt, he notched a 112 speed and could just now be settling in to the soil.
7 HUGH GO BOSS 9/1-His only win in 2017 came in his last start back at the end of October where he rolled late and tore apart a 9 stride deficit to win at the line at 7f over this NY track. Also showed a little spark the previous race when he rallied late to get third. Could be possible this is a firecracker ready to explode.
8 SIGNAL IDUNA 15/1-One of a few jack rabbits in this field who will leave the chute quickly and try to break away. He last raced in September where he was run down in the 6.5 furlong race and finished 10th which has resulted in being sidelined for a needed rest. He makes his return to the track and may need a start or two to get things rolling again.
9 LIBRAN 999/1-The only three year old in the field made his debut on the first day in December where he shocked everyone with a win at 71/1 and connected with an 80/1 longshot to pump out a $13,000 exacta and $135,000 trifecta. Those result were truly a shock and it doesn’t look likely he’ll replicate that against this more experienced field.
10 PARTY ON THE SEINE 10/1-Race sponsor Mtkpa enters this colt who has three wins during 2017 but was off the board in his other seven starts. The important thing to acknowledge is that the off the board races were at the higher listed stake race level while all the wins were earned in allowance events. He’s back in the allowance setting here and should earn more respect than the odds let on.
11 CHRISTMAS SUNDAY 7/2-This runner will leave the gate slowly and try to bear his thunder in the late stages of the race. He picked up a lot of ground when returning to allowance company in his last start finishing fifth after chopping 8 strides off his disadvantage. However, he’s been off the board in his last 6 races with several at the higher listed stake level. I’m concerned about his late move which has started well past the half way point and timing seems to be out of whack and not started soon enough to be effective.
Shanghai Viper has done well with his early speed and looks to continue the success he had in 2017 into the 2018 season, gets the edge.
Party on the Seine loves the allowance level of racing and starts the season at this level. Should be a factor.
Irish Muslim is awakening on the dirt, must keep an eye on.
Oxbow’s Sunset is loaded with late run power. Could take the field down.