#10 MOONSHINE VISION is one to keep on the radar in the opener, a race that does not present any clear-cut “horse-to-beat”, especially with #13 ALLO ENRY sitting on the also-eligible list. Experience could be key, and Moonshine Vision gained it three weeks ago when making his debut at this course and distance. He showed run over the sloppy main track, when he made a WIDE MOVE with visuals to suggest IMPROVE-ment potential. It is encouraging with the debut earlier this month to see a published work following that first start, a sign the horse came out of the debut race well. The blinkers will be added, not necessarily a strong angle for the barn but a sign of positive intent all the same. #8 BOTANY is another second time starter and one that also showed run (MOVE, X_FLOW) on debut. He will be a more “obvious” type finishing third and likely the shorter of the two. In terms of OptixFIG there is not much of a difference between the debut numbers of Botany and Moonshine Vision, those numbers shown in the Past 3 Runlines.
#2 BEBOP SHOES was given a look Jan. 2 and showed up with an improved effort at 17-1 to finish third. Connections will find a subtle class change returning in this event and based on the drop and his current form he could hold a front running pace advantage as shown on OptixPLOT below. #7 CABOT will also find a subtle yet positive change with the distance as he return for his second start of the meet. That change was noted in the OptixNOTES Dec. 19 and will also find a subtle class change that should also assist in today’s event with his returning OptixFIG sitting in RANGE and could still hold a move forward.
A longshot look can be given to #4 TONE IT UP, making some changes for this third start of the meet. Class and the layoff played a role on December 19 along with the sprint distance. She was able to improve off that race, recording a 75 OptixFIG, and she still looks to have upside with today’s changes. She will find the added ground as projected by the STRETCH Keyword as well as subtle class relief. While she will return to the same Optional Claiming level, today’s 71-65 OptixFIGRANGE (OFR) is lower than the 82-74 OFR from January 7.
The race shape could also assist Tone It Up given the higher 60 SpeedRate, with eight of the ten runners in this field shown above the Par Line on the OptixPLOT. Many in this field will be stretching out in distance for the first time and a reason for the higher SpeedRate, the “Red” PlotFit as well as the “Snowflake” Contention. That Contention rating is based on the lack of Surface/Distance data, which shows an empty Quad I, though the Contention expects to be higher based on Standard.
#7 MUMBLEBEE finds a similar position on the Plot to Tone It Up and does have route experience also upside exiting the common race Jan. 7. #3 SAX holds OptixFIG in RANGE and will find the proper class relief that should allow for her to become more competitive exiting the higher-level races last year.
According to OptixPLOT, #4 CADDO RIVER has the appearance of a vulnerable favorite should that be the case come post time. His edge going back to his maiden days was his early speed and especially when making a LONE lead. Looking at the OptixPLOT he does not hold any pace advantage in today’s 8.5-furlong event. He has not been nearly as effective when taking pressure and that likely played a role in the tactical change when asked to rate returning from the layoff on December 19th. Despite being disqualified from the win Caddo River was arguably “best” on the day, though he did catch a WEAK group for the level. The OFR for today’s event of 100-94 is higher than the 97-91 last month. Caddo River without the pace advantage also lacks a strong speed (OptixFIG) or class edge in today’s group.
That opens up the race to others in the field including #7 ANTIGRAVITY, a value type as one that could be upgraded making his second start of the meet. This is a horse that started to improve as a three-year-old, and it was encouraging to see the recorded 92 OptixFIG coming back this year. His return number was nearly identical to the 91 recorded by Caddo River with Antigravity exiting this same Optional Claiming condition and 100-94 OFR from January 1. Antigravity looks to benefit from that return race along with today’s race shape where he could have more finishing ability than the Plot suggests. The race shape should also assist #8 SIMOVITCH and #9 GOALIE with the Contention and 70 SpeedRate, though this pair will be required to run a new top to compete with current OptixFIG slightly below today’s OFR.
#10 CANDY TYCOON fits as a logical type in terms of OptixFIG in RANGE and current class lacking “Red” in his Past 3 Runlines. The trip will be key as a runner positioned in Quad I, though he does have a more favorable position as one that can stalk and a more favorable shape as a solid Square.