Tabby Lane's finally on the dirt again after two relatively decent efforts on the grass. She appears to be rounding back into form a bit, though we'll know much more in a few hours. The race is the 6th at Remington Park going a flat mile over the dirt. BJ Walker gets the call.
Here is how the race shapes up:
Abo Hazel (Clinton/Petrecca): Claimed at this level back in June, she was competitive at higher levels all summer long but unable to put a win. She drops back down looking for her third win of the season. Her Beyers put her in her and her consistency makes her live in the exotics.
Miss Marple (Villafranco/Landeros): Winner of two of three with a second thrown in there for good measure. Her come from behind style may be tough with a relative lack of speed in the race. Speed figs are a bit below the rest but certainly has the competitive spirit.
Northern Winn (Hale/Wethey): Claimed from the Rhone barn two back after a win, beat Tabby by 5 last out over the turf. Certainly appears to be the lone speed in this race and if she gets loose on the engine, the rest of the field could be in trouble.
W W Red Square (Tubbs/Zimmerman): Last win was at $5000 in August. Two more recent starts have been less inspiring. Certainly not one to challenge the inside speed, either.
TABBY LANE (RHONE/WALKER)
Grandpa's Legacy (Rhone/Butler): A possible challenger to the "early speed" mantle, she like to lay just off the pace but has not been afraid to stick a nose in front earlier. This level at Canterbury she stuck her head in front at a half mile after laying off the flank of the lead horse from the break and chugged to a 6 length win. First effort in starter allowance at Remington was less inspiring.
Kellies Vision (Foster/Quinonez): A distant second (and 3/4 in front of Abo Hazel) in a starter allowance two back was bookended by two sixth place finishes in higher class claimer races than this one. Not sure if the drop will stop the slide in here.
Splash of Roses (Pish/Gryder): Interesting rider pick up on this one with Aaron Gryder on board. A deep closer, she LOVES Remington Park with a run of 4 wins in a row to close out 2009 including a win in a $28,500 Allowance race. Most recent was 2nd dropping into this level from a $20,000 Claiming race. Maybe a return to Remington is what she needs?
Himynameissarah (Padilla/Hamilton): Looks like she's dropping to a career low level here after competing at mid-level claiming races for most of the season. Beyers are right in with the best here and combined with the drop, probably more dangerous than she looks, but another who's going to try to close into what could be a suspect pace.
Heart Ack Road (Higgins/Landeros): Coming in from Louisiana Downs where her numbers don't indicate she'll be competitive here. An owner of 9 lifetime wins, but hasn't had one since mid 2009.
Bag the Storm (Whited/Laviolette): Last win was in a conditioned race at this level at Prairie Meadows back in April and was laid off for the summer immediately after. First race back was decent second place finish at $5,000 but the jump in class into her last and switch onto turf was a resounding disappointment. Has the potential to challenge Northern Winn for the early lead but is buried way outside.
The good news is that we're back on dirt, but the bad news is that we've got a large field with what appears to be a single speed horse. Tabs isn't fast enough to engage her early and push the pace without destroying her chances. The upside is that Northern Winn was pushed pretty hard in the last one (as opposed to winner Lady Gdanski who appeared to win well within herself) and perhaps three races in a month's time may be a bit tough on her.
This is a winnable race for her. We'll need a combination of another solid ride by BJ Walker and most definitely some racing luck in order to be at the top of the pack when the wire comes.