Colonial’s eighth is (arguably) the featured race of the day. It’s a never-won-two claimer going five on the inner turf, with the claiming price ranging from $16,000 all the way down to $10,000. This condition is one of the anomalies of Colonial Downs — rare to see such a wide claiming range in conditioned company, especially at lower prices. On the other hand, with only a half-dozen on hand for this one, maybe that’s no great issue. Skiff’s Argument is the 9-5 favorite, but all of the horses are lined at 10-1 or less.
In post position order:
- Wolverton (7-2) has been in the money in five of 11 grass starts, four of five at Colonial, and he ran well at the track last year. He earned his only win here last year, thrashing state-bred maidens, and then ran credibly against first allowance horses. He’s been off since February, shows two slow works in the meantime, and is shortening up after running most of his races at a mile or longer.
- Prince Robear (3-1) just held on to beat Louisiana-bred maidens in his last, back in March for trainer Jed Steffee’s first win. He’s been off since, with just one work on the page, and gets the services of a jock, Stevica Djuric, who’s winless in 71 starts this year. According to his website, Djuric, who’s from Serbia, likes ketchup but does not like cinnamon. Maybe there’s a ‘capping angle there somewhere.
- Honky Tonk Moon (5-1) has made one turf start — a third against $25,000 maidens — that was somewhat inconclusive. He’s shown much better speed out of the gate in recent efforts and figures to be involved from the first jump.
- Skiff’s Argument (9-5) certainly has a case here. Off over a year until late March, he’s returned with OK efforts against better company. In his last, against $25,000 never-three company, he led early before fading in the late stages to fourth. He has the right to improve here, and if he does, he’ll be a handful.
- Relentless Move (6-1) won his only turf try, against $25,000 maidens back in November. That’s the three year-old’s only in-the-money finish in five career starts, and he’s made only one start, in February, this year. He’ll be making his first start for trainer Hugh McMahon. He’ll need to step forward to compete here, but as a three year-old with just five starts to date, he has that right. He’s in for $10,000, which gets him a weight break; he’ll carry 111, which is four pounds less than any other horse.
- Moro Puro (10-1) hasn’t raced since February 2011, when he won at first asking against $12,500 maidens at Gulfstream. His one recorded work since is fine. But he’s been away a long time and will be facing winners for the first time.
With the possibility that several of these will show speed, let’s look for Wolverton, whose two tries at the distance were perfectly credible and whose sibs have enjoyed their greatest success sprinting, to pick up the pieces late. We’ll see if we can toss Skiff’s Argument altogether (probably a bad idea), and we’ll slot Prince Robear and Honky Tonk Moon in the place and show spots.