Thistledown has another day of racing on Tuesday afternoon in Cleveland. There are 12 thoroughbred tracks offering cards in North America today. If you like harness racing, then there are even more races to handicap. I haven’t delved too deep into harness racing in the past, but in the limited selections I’ve had, I am two for two, so can’t complain with that result. Yonkers is the harness track with the biggest purses available. If you want to find the best harness racing horses, then check out the Yonkers’ card. Mohawk near Toronto also holds some decent events as well.
Thistledown is one of the bigger names available on the thoroughbred circuit early in the week. You aren’t going to find big purses on Monday and Tuesday, but over the weekend there will be some elite graded racing. Saratoga will get the spotlight on Saturday, with the running of the $1,000,000 (Gr. 1) Travers Stakes. As far as today is concerned at Thistledown, there are eight races on the schedule with a total of $157,000 in prize money. Head below for our free Thistledown picks for August 4, 2020.
Post Time: 2:50 p.m. EST
Distance: 1 Mile
We are going straight to the feature race at Thistledown with a $33,000 event scheduled. It will take place on the dirt for a mile of racing. Wicked Warrior and Dr. Zarnett will likely get into it in the stretch for a good battle. Dr. Zarnett is 3 for 14 in his career and is coming off some strong performances recently. He has finished 3rd, 3rd, 1st in his previous three performances. This was after an 11th place appearance in the Michael F. Rowland Memorial Handicap. That was too tough for Dr. Zarnett, but he found better success after moving down in class.
Dr. Zarnett finished 3rd in a $23,000 and $31,700 race, then 1st on July 13 by 1 length in another $23,000 race. He is fully capable of competing at this level, but $33,000 might prove to be a bit too hard. Leading up to the stretch of 3rd, 3rd, 1st, Dr. Zarnett finished 8th, 6th, 9th, 6th, 6th, 11th, so anything above this and don’t expect Dr. Zarnett to compete. While he’s been in four stakes races, Dr. Zarnett wasn’t close in any of them. He is familiar with Wicked Warrior, who already beat him a few weeks ago on July 6.
Wicked Warrior beat Chop Chop by 9 ½ lengths, and was clear of Dr. Zarnett by about 10 lengths. He has been a competitor throughout his seven-race career. Wicked Warrior is 3 for 7 and finished 3rd in the Juvenile Stakes (Black Type) on October 26, 2019. That’s the only race that Wicked Warrior didn’t finish 2nd in. He’s been a consistent runner without any issues running well against this kind of field.
In his previous three events, Wicked Warrior has finished in the top-2 in each event. In his latest workout, he completed 4 furlongs in 48.40 seconds. This is another winnable race for him on Tuesday afternoon. Expect more quality racing from Wicked Warrior against this field.
Post Time: 3:20 p.m. EST
Distance:5 ½ Furlongs
Race 6 should be another entertaining race at Thistledown. 5 ½ furlongs on the dirt will take place in this event for a $15,000 purse. Meet Me Half Way and Fancy Pants might get into a fun duel in the stretch. Both horses are in good form recently and should be ready to compete. Meet Me Half Way is 7 for 35 in her career, with finishes of 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 1st, 5th in the last five races.
In her latest win, Meet Me Half Way won on June 27 to beat Fancy Pants by a head at the wire. Either horse could have won there. Meet Me Half Way was an underdog in that race, but is not for Tuesday. In fact, Meet Me Half Way is the betting favorite on the morning-line versus this competition.
Following that performance, Meet Me Half Way finished 5th in a $24,300 race on July 20 just a couple of weeks ago. That was too much of an ask for Meet Me Half Way, but she’s back at a level where she’ll be more comfortable. Prior to finishing 5th, Meet Me Half Way went in the top-2 in 7 of 8 previous races. Fancy Pants is likely going to threaten her yet again on Tuesday.
Fancy Pants was edged out by a head against Meet Me Half Way as the favorite on June 27. Now, everyone seems to be jumping off Fancy Pants because of that performance. However, that means there could be some value with a horse that could have beaten Meet Me Half Way. That loss prevented four straight wins for Fancy Pants.
She was on a hat-trick going into June 27, but was denied at the wire. In her latest four races, Fancy Pants has been in the top-2 in every event, including those three wins. Her most recent victory was by 5 ½ lengths over G Q Girl on June 18 in a $24,300 race. If the morning-line is a good indicator for this race, there should be nice value on Fancy Pants to get the win and a small bit of revenge on Meet Me Half Way.
Post Time: 4:20 p.m. EST
Distance:5 ½ Furlongs
A modest purse of $9,300 will close us out at Thistledown on Tuesday. There will be 5 ½ more furlongs of racing in Race 8. Forest Chatter and Madeye are on my shortlist and have valid chances of wins. Madeye has been competitive at Thistledown with two straight performances for 3rd on June 22 and July 6. Both of those outings were close finishes between three horses, so he wasn’t that far away from a win.
Just a little more kick in the tank and Madeye could have been the winner. However, Madeye has gone winless in ten straight races, with his most recent win on August 27, 2019 at Mountaineer for a $11,400 purse. His best run this year was on February 8 at Mahoning Valley where he placed 2nd behind Tizway’s Wild Son in a $14,000 race. That kind of effort would likely be enough for a win here, though contending with Forest Chatter will prove to be difficult.
Forest Chatter is 10 for 35 in his career and has been a more consistent runner. Forest Chatter has finished 1st, 1st, 5th, 3rd, 3rd, 3rd in his previous six outings. He finished 3rd in two July races, which were in this class. Forest Chatter and Madeye should duel, but with that being stated, Forest Chatter has looked stronger in the morning and is the more consistent runner. He’s beaten horses of this caliber before and there should be room for him to win for the 11th win of his career on Tuesday afternoon.