The Phenom Looks Tough, Route Races Begin Today

May 25, 2012 | Handicapping

The Phenom with trainer Wade Rarick

The Phenom with trainer Wade Rarick

by Rob

Friday’s first marks the beginning of two turn races at ASD in 2012, and the 5-horse affair going 7 ½-furlongs for $2,500 claimers appears to be wide open.

Meshuguna on the rail was competitive in the route championship series at Portland Meadows this winter; trainer Beverly Hamilton is 2-for-2 in the money this year; and this horse should have enough early speed to make the lead going into the clubhouse turn.

There will be a jockey change on Meshuguna due to Tyler Kaplan’s suspension, and if were a betting man (which I am) I’d say Trevor Simpson gets the mount. Sorry can be excused for his last race as he is obviously a router and he needed that start.

The Ardell Sayler barn is starting to fire on all cylinders and Sorry’s form looks very similar to that of Dudewithanattitude, who ran a bang up second last weekend off a dismal race. Lite the Cigar and Anga both have winter route experience and should be rallying late coming from Fonner and Penn National respectively.

A betting angle I like early in the meet is horses moving from sprint to route that have tried to make the lead sprinting but have not been fast enough to clear. When they stretch out they can often clear and gallop along with an easy lead. That angle is true in Meshuguna’s back form and he should be the commanding speed.

The second race is a game affair. The Phenom should be the favorite in my opinion and he definitely has the best shot to win the race. He is a versatile colt who has already won seven times in what is now his third year of racing. Trainer Wade Rarick is winning at a 33% clip (4 wins from 12 starts) and The Phenom looks to be his fifth winner of the meet.

Ouachita Creek and Kbello both exit the same race on May 11. Kbello should be one of the speed horses to go with JC’s Action on the inside and maybe even The Phenom. Kbello ran well at the beginning of April at Turf Paradise but he needs to make the lead to win. Ouachita Creek rallied well last time at a big price and he should be closing again. Rohan Singh gets aboard Ouachita Creek and he will appreciate the extra half furlong. Hot Off the Bench was a $5,000 claimer last year who tried every time and did run a good one second out last year to defeat tough guys Ancient Symbol and Barramoon.

I think the third race sets up nicely for Showboater. Both Casino Kay and Mixed Intent want the lead and could be flying on the front end. Showboater will track in third and can pounce by them at a price.

Friday’s featured seventh race should be a tight affair but I’m looking closely at three horses: Nervous Marvin, Fresh Ice and Vader, all of which ran well first time out and who should be in good spots to win.

On Saturday Wooden Ya Know It should be very tough in the seventh. And Wall of Flame should also make a good account of himself in the eighth race with a better trip. I also like Crafty But True as a longshot in the first on Saturday.

Good luck and good racing!