By Emily Gullickson – OptixEQ
RACE 7 – MYSTIC LAKE MILE:
#3 PARLOR holds a class edge from his 2020 season and will look to find that top form shipping in for Maker. This will be his second start of the season and off the layoff. He returned to the races on May 29th and with just an even effort doing his best to hold in a blanket for the minors behind a much the best Brad Cox runner, called Set Piece. Parlor broke slow and the one-paced run could have been due to the “good” turf condition noting this one prefers a firm course. Those recent “good” races could be impacting his Plot position as he presents here as a Quad IV Circle for the first time in his race career. That can be overlooked if compensated on the board, as a stalking trip does look favorable with today’s “Sun” Contention and 45 SpeedRate.
That trip also looks favorable for local runner #6 GIANT PAYDAY tracking as a Surface/Distance Quad II Square. His form cycle suggests a move forward second off the layoff, the pattern today coming out of the Brooks Fields Stakes. He projects that move forward returning to the turf and could be the change he needs to reverse the outcome on the three others coming out of that stakes event. While connections have the positive intent making his third start in the Mystic Mile, in his seven-year-old season will have to record a new top effort to win – value is required.
#2 LORD DRAGON was able to get the right stalking trip tracking the pacesetters #8 TUT’S REVENGE and #9 HIERONYMUS making his move around the turn and taking the lead in the lane to win the Brooks Field Stakes. It was not a clean trip for this trio and became physical late while no impact (or change after review) was made to the order of finish. There are concerns with the physical nature of that race, and while the switch to the turf is not a concern for Lord Dragon, having his hind end knocked out from under him at the wire and showing up in this race without a recorded work creates some reservations. Hieronymus should benefit returning to the turf, his preferred surface and to move forward as he makes his second start off the layoff. Unlike, Lord Dragon, Hieronymus came out of the race recording a work on June 10th, a half mile breeze at Churchill Downs. Hieronymus holds a pace advantage as a Quad I Square on both Standard and Surface/Distance to make him a contender today.
#4 SUMMER ASSAULT, the winner of the Mystic Lake Derby, will look to repeat here in the mile with some positive intent bringing him back in this spot for the connections. That said, he does not hold a pace advantage over others in this field as a Quad I/III Circle and in terms of speed figures (OptixFIG) has not progressed from his sophomore season.
#1 CINCO STAR holds a favorable Standard Plot position along with OptixFIG in Range for this level however is lighter on class, something he will be tested for here. Cinco Star was also a vet scratch in an Optional Claiming race on June 6th. Stablemate #5 DERBY CODE is in top form coming into this race tough sits below on class and even OptixFIG compared to others in this field. The surface is also untested as he makes his turf debut.
It looked like Diodoro wanted to see how #7 SONNY SMACK handled the turf perhaps with this race in mind when he entered in the Optional Claiming race on May 31st. Sonny Smack had a favorable ground saving trip passing a tiring pacesetter to record the win. He would need a big move forward from that effort to win here with the step up in class.