A non-winners of 2 steeplechase races lifetime has 8 runners going 4 turns over 8 fences in the 1st race Wednesday at Saratoga.
First, here is some information about steeplechase at Colonial Downs. The cancelled races from Monday 7/27 will run Sunday August 2, 2020 however all the steeplechase races are exhibition races with no betting for the entire meet.
At first glance, the field appears to be evenly matched with 1 steeplechase win and all are within 3 pounds on the NSA rating system. However, the allowance condition weight assignments provide an advantage for several runners.
#1A Global Freedom gets 146 light weight, broke his jump maiden in a 3 year old restricted stakes race at Far Hills last October, was previously trained by top Irish steeplechase trainer Gordon Elliot, and is the top pick. #1A Global Freedom was in front at Great Meadow 6/27 when jockey Eve Scully lost her right iron at the water jump 6th fence, managed another jump and finally lost the jockey at the 8th fence. Rider less #1A Global Freedom continued on, running inside 1 fence while jumping the rest to beat the field. Trainer Ricky Hendriks says #1A Global Freedom came out of the race fine and is training the best he has all year. Hendriks is on a training roll with his flat runners with 2 wins, a 2nd and a 3rd from 5 runners since Friday 7/24. In addition, there will be a solid early pace that supports #1A Global Freedom’s tracking pace running style.
#1 Sixty Five the other half of the Rosbrian entry totes 148 pounds, hit the board in all 3 of his jump attempts, has excellent flat turf speed, and has been training well since a turf tightening flat run at Laurel 7/18. #1 Sixty Five will be forwardly placed, ensuring an above average fast early pace.
#2 Anticipating, for trainer Jonathan Sheppard ran a competitive 3rd at Middleburg 6/13 while the Middleburg winner came back to run 2nd in the Kiser stakes last week.
#4 Critical Data ran well to break his maiden at Middleburg 6/13 in the slowest time for the distance that day. Totes 150 pounds that reflects a 4 pound penalty for winning this year but has excellent flat track speed.
#3 Emerald Rocket for trainer Leslie Young carries 156 pound high weight, ran fast at Far Hills last October, and has hit the board 9 of 10 steeplechase tries.
#5 Fast Car gets trainer Fisher’s top jockey Mike Mitchell and blinkers after breaking his maiden at Great Meadow 6/27. The anticipated strong pace enhances his late running style but blinkers usually add early speed and may compromise his chances.
#7 Whitman’s Poetry tends to run underneath when he keeps his hooves under him. Stuck at this level over 2 years, has good flat track speed, must lay off early pace to be effective, and may run 4th in superfecta.
#6 Gaye Breeze has lowest 113 NSA rating and is hard to gauge. Jockey Bernie Dalton usually rides for his wife Kate Dalton whose runners run well with light weight, not the case here.
Race shape will have a strong pace early with #1 Sixty Five, #3 Emerald Rocket and #4 Critical Data leading the way. #2 Anticipating and #1A Global Freedom will be in the next flight allowing the leaders to dual. The heart of these jump races is always off the 3rd turn entering the backstretch the final time. Contenders gain position or move forward and pretenders will fade. It’s difficult to predict the traffic problems that will occur. Over the last fence 1A Global Freedom will pull away from the rest to win.
Good Luck at the races!