Alameda County Fair Picks – Sunday, July 3
First race (1:45 p.m.)
Picks: He Be Mojo Risin, Sonora Sermon, Texas Lonhro.
Analysis: He Be Mojo Risin is returning to the track after a 6-month break from a barn that is starting to heat up. In his last start in January, he was the heave favorite at Golden Gate Fields, but ran poorly and was sent to the shelf. He has had a good and steady work tab for the return, including a pair of big works over the Pleasanton track. He is ready to run here. Sonora Sermon could be the pace-setter and has hit the board in four of five starts this year. First ever start on the dirt. Texas Lonhro had a horrible race start, getting bumped, then running wide into the lane, before tiring and finishing 23-lengths back. Now he drops back into a spot where he appears comfortable, and I would expect a much better from a trainer/jockey combo that hit at 37 percent.
Second race (2:15 P.M.)
Picks: Three Dimensional, Cocorita, Flipit.
Analysis: Three Dimensional has only hit the board once and that was a second-place finish. Not a ringing endorsement but the horse does have two good works over the track. Barn has been having a nice meet in Pleasanton. Cocorita does bring a better resume to the party, hitting the board 3-of-5 starts as a closer. The barn has been so happy, they elected to protect her here moving the horse from open maiden company to straight maiden. Flipit has a pair of starts, neither impressive, but does come from a strong barn that gave the horse a couple months off and has a solid percentage coming off a break.
Third race (2:45 p.m.)
Picks: Miss Union, Chancery Way, Code Ribbon.
Analysis: Miss Union has shown the best recent form and is coming off a second-place finish with a solid closing run. Has been the beaten favorite the last two, burning cash for plenty, but does a perfect record on the dirt, winning her lone start on the dirt, wiring the field in Fresno last fall. Chancery Way had the dream debut, wiring the field June 4 at Golden Gate Fields. Sure, this is the first time facing winners, but this is not an imposing field and the speed she showed in her debut certainly brings her into the conversation. Code Ribbon could be a pace factor and broke maiden here last year. The horse is always around the lead, hitting the board in 7-of-8 career efforts.
Fourth race (3:15 p.m.)
Picks: Front of Line, Aristeia, Blueberry Muffin
Analysis: It took until the 10th start for Front of the Line to get to the front of the line, but the light finally went off and she found a new running style, going to the front early and holding on the for the win. In her second start in the United States since coming over from across the pond, she also got out early and ran a strong second. If she gets a return to front end speed it may play well here. Aristeia only took 25 starts to finally win one and along the way the horse was always well bet and burned a lot of cash. She was hit the board 11 times in those 25 starts, so there is something there. Does have the right jockey up to be a threat here. Blueberry Muffin has shown speed plenty of times in her six starts but has tired at the end, with the exception of one time. Has worked twice over the track and is she can get out and relax she might be a threat when the head for the finish.
Fifth race (3:45 p.m.)
Picks: Hey Juan, Split Aces, Roister.
Analysis: The speed is there for Hey Juan to be the one to beat. Last start saw the horse lunge at the gate, ending any chance to win. Now to a speed track that appreciates the form and should go strong from start until he crosses the line first. Split Aces had a chance in his last to post back-to-back wins, but then bumped late in race and lost his momentum. Comes back with six weeks off and put together a pair of good works in Sacramento to ready for this spot. Has the early speed to take a shot at controlling the race. Roister cuts the tag in half after running fifth here on opening day. Decent speed should keep close when they turn for home.
Sixth race (4:15 p.m.)
Picks: Offshore Affair, Honos Man, Shot of a Lifetime.
Analysis: The last start for Offshore Affair would destroy this lot as he went out a wired the field for a six-length win at Golden Gate Fields. The horse had a big work before the win and just posted a bullet work over the Pleasanton track to get ready for this one. May wave good bye to this group out of the gate. Honos Man just crushed the field here opening weekend, coming from three wide on the turn to win by a widening three lengths. Comes back vs. a tougher field but is a live one here. Shot of a Lifetime has speed which will be needed here and has hit the board 5-fo-8 starts.
Seventh race (4:45 p.m.)
Picks: Tom’s Surprise, Memo Daddy, Mohawk King.
Analysis: The best race of the day in terms of quality and depth. Tom’s Surprise sits nicely in this spot as the big closer with speed to run at. Was fourth in the Grade III San Francisco Mile three back on the turf at Golden Gate Fields, then was seventh in the All American, also at GGF, in a race where he started poorly only to come flying at the end, just running out of real estate. In the last effort he flew home for the win, beating the two inside horses here. Four wins in seven starts this year shows the capability. Memo Daddy is another closer that has been first or second four of the five starts this year. Comes off a pair of turf races and has a bullet work over the track. Mohawk King appears to be the speed of the speed and was setting the pace in the last start before Tom’s Surprise blew by him in the lane. More of a speed favoring track, but he will need a huge effort to hold off the closer!
Eighth race (5:15 p.m.)
Picks: Will Is Chill, Mount Pelliar, Salto de Tigre.
Analysis: The hardest thing about this race was trying to find a horse that wants to win. The field has won 12 times from 129 starts. Backed into a corner – I will go with Will Is Chill. The horse has won twice in nine starts and is coming off a beating in the Alcatraz at Golden Gate where he was seventh in a 7-horse field. Guess what? This isn’t the Alcatraz, so the opponents are far more beatable. There is some speed with this runner meaning a good solid trip around the track. He has hit the board in 4-of-7 starts this year. Mount Pelliar has hit the board in 6-of-8 this year, but the problem is he can’t finish first. He has five seconds this year and overall has one win in 26 starts. Salto de Tigre closed well on this track and got a win last weekend here. Wheels right back here but I wouldn’t look on the win end as the barn is 0-23 in the “won last start,” category. Was well bet last time and is a very solid runner to hit the board.