Nick’s Picks and Notes for June 22
by Nick Hahn
With more pace in this year’s Colonial Turf Cup, Air Support may get the help he lacked in last year’s running when Turbo Compressor wired the field, largely uncontested. Kentucky Derby winning trainer Shug McGaughey likes how the 2011 Virginia Derby winner is coming into the race.
“He ran a really good race at Keeneland and the race at Churchill was sort of ‘iffy’ but then he came back and trained very well,” said trainer Shug McGaughey. “He’s going to appreciate the stretch out.”
With three straight best works, one of those on the turf, Air Support must be looking great in the Belmont Park mornings. Stuart Janney’s horse one of two Virginia Derby winners still in racing. Air Support is the only past Virginia Derby winner to return to Colonial Downs to seek the Colonial Turf Cup as an older horse.
Last year’s winner Silver Max hadn’t won since last year’s Virginia Derby until he captured the Opening Verse at Churchill Downs last month that was pulled off the turf. With the 8+ length win in the sloppy going, trainer Dale Romans is going to attempt the dirt for the frontrunning talent.
The pace in Paddy O’Prado’s two Colonial wins was set by Two Notch Road back in 2010. After more than a 2 & 1/2 year absence from the track, Two Notch Road is in the midst of a comeback. The turf transition for Atigun appears to be working well with two solid efforts at Churchill Downs.
|10||LOVE’S NOT FAIR||Optimistic trainers start first timers. Jenkins colt well-placed, well-bred.|
|5||ULYSSES S GRANT|
|8||RAMSEY BRANCH||Some old school CNL Downs here with Allen & Prado.|
|9||CHINA HOLIDAY||Impossible; can’t pick a winner, can’t even toss one out. (OK, maybe one.)|
|RACE 4 -THE $40,000 OLD NELSON|
|6||SAINTLY LOVE||Garcia, Gerczak rolling out the barn on a big day. Here looking for 5th straight.|
|RACE 5 -THE $75,000 DA HOSS|
|6||HOOFIT||Motion’s Hoofit saw tough foes on the rise but with “Action”, wait for the photo.|
|RACE 6 – THE $100,000 ALL ALONG (G3)|
|5||APPEALING CAT||Added 1/16th a plus for Motion, who needs no advantage in this race.|
|RACE 7 – THE $300,000 COLONIAL TURF CUP (G2)|
|1||ATIGUN||Turf transition seems to be working for McPeek. Air Support sure to bid.|
|5||NO SPLITS||Motion brings out 4-year old Smart Strike filly working well at Delaware Park.|
|3||WORLD GONE WRONG|
|5||SHAIKHA||Sheppard’s Midnight Lute filly improving with every start. Gold works “Shine”.|
|6||SUMMER WIND CHIME||Rook rides a Macho Uno gray, a 4-year old looking for a better start.|
|3||HONOR THE TRUTH|
|5||DEPUTY FLING||Several successful CNL alumni here. Allen’s “Fling” won first Bert Allen.|
|2||JAKE RATTLE N ROLL|
|4||KLUKI||Firm going will benefit Kluki facing Geovanny returning on Boniface winner.|