Three favourites and a second choice made for slim pickings in the Pick-4 on Friday night at the Downs, but there were some excellent horse and jockey performances to take note of.
The best performance in a non-winning role went to jockey Jalon Samuel in the third race. Riding 11-1 Two Barrel Tootie for trainer Ardell Sayler, Samuel found himself in a duel early and intelligently pulled himself out of it. He then stalked a duel on the turn and finished aggressively to be beaten only a neck and head for the win. It was a heady ride by the new arrival and if he can think like that in all his races he's going to win more than his share.
The first horse performance of note was that of Rebellious Note, also conditioned by Sayler. The 6-1 first-time starter in the fourth race was full of run early behind a duel and had to steady nearing the turn. She regrouped and followed back-class duel winner Lovely Sunrise into the stretch before giving it everything she had to finish second under Paul Nolan. She shouldn't be a maiden for long.
Next up in the fifth race was favoured Midnite Poppa. Yes, he was supposed to win, but his manner of victory under jockey Chris Husbands was impressive. Rating while forcing the pace from the outside, he dueled into the stretch and drew out as he pleased from the sixteenth pole to win with something left. Trained by Jim Meyaard, he looks like he could be a force in the stakes.
Finally, in the seventh and final race, 10-1 Media Contact ran a game winning race in a losing cause for trainer Shelley Brown. Media Contact tracked the leader from just back and off the rail, challenged between horses into the stretch, appeared put away more than once in the stretch duel but just wouldn't quit, coming back all the way to the wire under Omar Walker to wrestle second place from Little Brown Guy just as the favoured rallying winner Desert Lightning was going by on the outside. It was a huge effort at a big price for Media Contact. And he did lose to a Rob Atras trainee.
Atras kept pace with Jim Meyaard with his win in the seventh race. Each have seven victories and are tied with Jared Brown for second place in the trainer standings. Atras is winning at a 41% clip, while Meyaard and Brown are humming along at 50%. You just can't leave these guys off your tickets. Ardell Sayler continues to lead all trainers with 24 wins.
The winning horses in Pick-4 races 4-7 paid $7.00, $2.30, $4.40 and $4.70, which made for a chalky $2 Pick-4 payout of $95.60, but that certainly made a lot of fans happy. With $6,311 in the Pick-4 pool, there were likely over 100 winners. Interesting, because three of the best performances on the night belonged to losers. At least on the stat sheets.
You know better.
Next Post Time for Live Racing: 7 p.m. Saturday, May 31, 2014