Each day of the fair, Bee handicapper Exacta Kenny will break down one race on the card with a betting plan for $20. For closing day Sunday, he’s attacking race 10, the $50,000 Bulldog Handicap for colts and geldings:
▪ Analysis: The final card of the fair is upon us, and I hope you’ve enjoyed the action and fun times these two weeks have offered us. We’ve had some winners and losers – and some untimely scratches. Hopefully, we’ll finish with a bang in what is a small but competitive field of six battling for the lion’s share of 50 large.
Let’s start with the defending champ – No. 3 Downtown C. T. (8-1) – who isn’t getting much respect when it comes to morning-line odds. He won wire to wire last year at the 9-furlong distance, and there’s no hiding where he wants to be: on the lead. His form hasn’t been great – he’s won just once since last year’s triumph, and it came on the turf against much cheaper – but if he’s left alone up front again he’s always dangerous. He should get some pace pressure from No. 2 Beast of Bourbon (10-1) and No. 5 Eagle Screams (3-1), with the latter coming up short in his past four stakes efforts. He jumps off the turf and gets back to dirt, and his last effort on the surface at Pleasanton puts him right in the thick of it.
Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer holds the aces here with the two favorites – No. 6 G. G. Ryder (9-5) and No. 4 Outside Nashville (5-2) – with both having plenty of class, although they are synthetic and turf specialists. Neither has won on dirt so it’s no slam dunk that these two will find this trip to their liking. Contenders, but the definite chalk.
I’ve landed on the rail horse, No. 1 Atomic Rule (5-1), who has won four of his past six races and enters off a solid runner-up finish to SoCal turf standout Texas Ryano. Atomic Rule is another who has done his best work on surfaces other than dirt, but I think this is a solid spot and the price will be right. Needs to step up, but in-form horse should get a great stalking trip from the rail. The only negative I see is trainer Tim McCanna’s record in stakes races is 0 for 19, but doesn’t the old saying go, “The 20th time’s the charm?” Let’s hope so!
▪ The plays: $4 win/place ($8) on No. 1; $2 trifecta 1 over 3/4/6 ($12)
Have a question, comment or hot tip for Exacta Kenny? Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Big Fresno Fair horse racing
▪ Sunday’s first post: 12:15 p.m. (12 races)