The Alabama Stakes yielded good results on Saturday afternoon at Saratoga. Swiss Skydiver lived up to her billing and dominated the field on Saturday. There aren’t many females that can beat Swiss Skydiver, though Gamine might have something to say about that.
Bob Baffert’s record-breaking Gamine and Swiss Skydiver would make for one heck of a duel. I would be more excited for a Gamine vs. Swiss Skydiver meeting than the Kentucky Derby. From a betting perspective, more handicapping would be needed for me to be confident on one side or the other. Both are great horses.
Sunday is always a slow night for baseball, so that gives me an opportunity to focus on Mountaineer Park. The NBA Playoffs begin on Monday, with a night game between the Mavericks and Clippers. If you’re not a basketball or hockey person, there’s racing at Mountaineer in West Virginia tonight. A total of nine races are expected for $93,000. We’ll take a look at three of them. Head below for our free Mountaineer Park picks for August 16, 2020.
Post Time: 7:22 p.m. EST
Distance: 7 Furlongs
We will start on the grass at Mountaineer on Sunday night. Race 2 has 7 furlongs of racing on the turf for a $13,600 purse. There are a couple of horses worth talking about in Race 2. Heart in Hand and Selling Out should be in the mix in the stretch. Selling Out is 10 for 54 with finishes of 1st, 5th, 3rd, 2nd in his previous four outings.
He’s coming off a couple of decent performances in July for 3rd and 2nd. Selling out finished 2nd in his most recent race on July 26 in a $13,600 event. Selling out was 3 ¾ lengths short of a win in that one as a fairly sizable underdog.
Selling Out is getting another opportunity out on the turf covering 7 furlongs. He is running the exact same race at Mountaineer Park and will see a familiar foe in the gate. Selling Out and Heart in Hand will see each other once again on Sunday. The only horse that Selling Out lost to on July 26 was Heart in Hand.
Heart in Hand was 3 ¾ lengths clear of Selling Out. He was 6th at the ½ pole and showed excellent kick to get into contention. That went down as the third straight win for Heart in Hand. He is on a nice run with performances in the top-2 in 6 of his previous 7 outings. Prior to beating Selling Out on July 26, Heart in Hand beat Arch Revenge and Selling Out on July 14. Heart in Hand is in the best form of his 34-race career right now, and should follow up for another win on Sunday.
Post Time: 8:50 p.m. EST
Our next step at Mountaineer brings us to Race 6. This is 6 furlongs on the dirt for a modest purse of $7,100. I’m looking at Gemagility and Sweet Leaf in this event. The value should be there on Gemagility at post time. It’s certainly there on the morning-line at 6/1.
Gemagility is coming off a strong performance on August 2 to go 3rd, 2nd, 1st in her previous three outings. She continues to show improvement and finally popped for her first win since February 13. Gemagility has gone 8th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st since winning in February.
Gemagility beat Talkback by a length in the $6,900 race on August 2. Talkback was a heavy favorite in that race, so perhaps Gemagility can steal the limelight for a second straight race. Based on that form, it’s definitely within the realm of possibility. Gemagility should play a role in the stretch.
Sweet Leaf is 3 for 13 in her career and showing nice consistently recently. Sweet Leaf has finished 1st, 2nd, 1st in her last three races. She won on June 30 by 6 ¾ lengths in an easy win for a $6,300 purse. In her latest outing on July 28, Sweet Leaf cruised to a 6 ¾ length win in a higher class at $6,900. Based on recent form, Sweet Leaf is a bettable horse at Mountaineer tonight.
Post Time: 4:15 p.m. PST
Distance:5 ½ Furlongs
Race is the feature race of the night at Mountaineer Park. It will take place on the dirt for $20,200 covering 5 ½ furlongs. There are a couple of horses to note, with Rush to the Castle and Flat Out Prize on my immediate shortlist. Reform School gets an honorable shoutout from the No. 6 post position. There is some decent value on that horse which has finished in the top-3 in five straight races.
Flat Out Prize gets the rail out of the gate and is looking for back-to-back wins. He has finished 1st, 6th, 6th, 8th, 1st in his previous five performances. Flat Out Prize is coming off a win on June 22 by 4 ¼ lengths over White Wolf for a $14,000 purse.
That was an incredibly impressive performance, with Flat Out Prize taking the lead over at the ¼ pole and building on it. Prior to that performance, Flat Out Prize finished 8th in a $16,200 race, so this might prove to be too difficult for him. Getting the inside rail out of the gate with just 5 ½ furlongs certainly helps a bit.
Rush to the Castle is 6 for 10 in his career with finishes in the top-3 in all ten races. That includes two stakes races in the $50,000 Robert G. Leavitt Stakes (Black Type) and $75,000 West Virginia Lottery Breeders’ Classic Stakes (Black Type) in 2019. Rush to the Castle finished 2nd and 3rd for more than acceptable efforts.
He’s coming off a hat-trick and looking for more Sunday night. Rush to the Castle won by 2 lengths in a $28,000 race in his most recent outing on May 21. He had control of that race by the ¼ pole. Unless Rush to the Castle lost form since May, he looks like a solid horse to win here.