As is customary early in the week, we spotlight some of the smaller race courses around the country. This is the week leading up to the Preakness Stakes, with the 145th edition scheduled for Saturday at Pimlico. Some Preakness news to get to before we get into our selections for the day.
One of the best fillies in the world, Swiss Skydiver, will run in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday. She might not have what it takes to win, but Swiss Skydiver running against the boys might be the most interesting storyline going into the Preakness. Tiz the Law and Authentic will not meet, so a rematch is not in the cards, at least for now at Pimlico.
We’ll take a look at Thistledown in Cleveland to open the week on Monday afternoon. Thistledown is scheduled to put on eight races for a total of $156,900 in prize money. Head below for our free Thistledown picks for September 28, 2020.
Post Time: 2:20 p.m. EST
Race 4 will be our starting point at Thistledown on Monday afternoon. There are a couple of horses to pay attention to in this event. Risky Guy and Bar Stool Budget are the most likely participants to threaten in the stretch.
At least, I think there is some value to be had on Risky Guy to be worth some consideration from the No. 3 post position. Risky Guy is a workhorse and is approaching 100 races in his career. Foaled in 2010, his racing career is nearing a close.
He’s still running competitively, though. While he’s up there in age, Risky Guy has been able to get near the front and earn some money. Risky Guy has finished in the top-3 in 4 of his previous 6 races. Overall, he has gone 19 for 91 in his lengthy career.
I wasn’t enthused by the 5th place effort in his latest outing on August 31, but he was still able to beat six horses out of that field. Risky Guy was on the practice track on September 22 at Thistledown, having recorded a time of 50 seconds at 4 furlongs.
Bar Stool Budget is younger with 4 wins in 23 races. His most recent victory was on September 9 , 2019 in a $27,000 event. Since then, Bar Stool Budget has gone 6th, 7th, 5th, 6th, 3rd, 3rd. Most of those races have been in the $20,000+ range. In his most recent outings, Bar Stool Budge finished 3rd in a $10,700 and $8,900 event.
He was the favorite in the most recent run and didn’t live up to expectations on September 16. That said, it was a close race, with Bar Stool Budget finishing 1 ¾ lengths and a head away from a win. At least on the morning-line, Bar Stool Budget is getting some pretty nice value for a win.
Post Time: 3:20 p.m. EST
We’ll head over Race 6 for our next selection at Thistledown on Monday. I’m hoping for more value at post time on this horse. Tickety Boo and Valley of Mo’ara should have a good chance to get things done in the stretch. Tickety Boo is 7 for 42 in her career and coming on strong with top-2 finishes in 3 of her last 4 races.
Note that Tickety Boo has been on an epic run of getting into the money. In 15 of her last 16 races, Tickety Boo has been a top-3 runner. It’s hard not to see Tickety Boo getting involved in the stretch again on Monday. Valley of Mo’ara has a lot less experience, but has looked good in four races.
She is 2 for 4 with a win in the $75,000 Miss Ohio Stakes (Black Type) on July 20. That was a 4 length win for Valley of Mo’ara, easily dispatching the field for the biggest win of her career. Valley of Mo’ara followed up to place 2nd in the $75,000 Tah Dah Stakes (Black Type) on August 25.
She was the betting favorite in that race, but just came up short by 1 ¼ lengths. This is a sizable drop in class for Valley of Mo’ara. Tickety Boo has participated in a stakes race September 1, 2019 in a $30,000 event at Fort Erie. In her most recent performance, she finished 4th in a $21,500 event. Look for Valley of Mo’ara to pull away in the stretch.
Post Time: 3:50 p.m. EST
We have another $21,500 race at Thistledown to close out our card in Cleveland. This race will take a mile to complete on the dirt. Six horses are scheduled to participate on Monday afternoon. Final Jeopardy and Ruling Empire should put in good work in this one. Ruling Empire is 4 for 21 in his career and top-3 in his last three performances, with a win on August 5 in a $24,300 event. He edged out Midnight Mikey by a length for the win.
Ruling Empire followed up to show 3rd September 16 in a $16,400 event. That was discouraging, especially after what he just did a month earlier in a tougher race. In his last six races, Ruling Empire has finished 4th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 1st, 3rd. I think he’s going to be close, but going to have a tough challenger in Final Jeopardy bothering him.
Final Jeopardy is 3 for 13 in his career, but has been out of the frame recently. He’s finished 4th, 4th, 6th in his last three. In his most recent performance, Final Jeopardy finished 6th in a tough $112,500 event at Woodbine. He’s used to stakes racing and purses for more than $100,000. 9 of his 13 races have been stakes events, with six of them graded races. This is much easier and should suit Final Jeopardy on Monday.