Shawan Downs preview & picks

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Let’s get back to work. After more than three months of jump racing at Saratoga, Colonial Downs and Aqueduct, the schedule turns to its more traditional stops with a full schedule of autumn race meets through Nov. 13.

The action starts Saturday at Shawan Downs outside Baltimore, where eight races fill the card. The horses will run on the flat, over hurdles and over timber. Post time is 12:30 p.m. and there’s plenty of action.

And the intrepid TIHR handicappers get back to work trying to find some winners. No, you can’t bet – perhaps among yourselves or with the chalkboards on the hill – but that doesn’t mean you can’t try to make good decisions.

First race. $20,000 maiden hurdle for 3-year-olds going 2 miles. Eight rookies make their hurdle debuts and, whew, this is like checking out a library book with no titles or even the Dewey Decimal System. So…Fleeting Atte won a maiden flat race at Delaware Park for Sean McDermott. The Afleet Alex gelding is a full-brother to three-time hurdle winner Tempt Me Alex. Somehow, Shuyyookh was in that same Delaware race. Carloun has been busy on the flat too. Nice to see three Maryland-breds in the field.

Joe: Fleeting Atte, Greylover, Carloun.
Sean: Fleeting Atte, Carloun, Greylover.
Tom: Carloun, Fleeting Atte, Hoffman.

Second race. $30,000 maiden hurdle going 2 miles. A little more to go on here as most in the field of 10 have at least run. Fog Bound, Uco Valley, Seismic Wave, Awakened, Beowulf, Robert’s Luxury, Elusive Soul and Quid have all placed over hurdles. Awakened was second at Middleburg in April, fourth in the Iroquois maiden in May and second again at Colonial in July. Proven Innocent won at the Iroquois, and twice since. Awakened beat Robert’s Luxury a nose on the flat at Colonial. Seismic Wave was third in that, and second twice over jumps at Colonial. Quid finished a neck ahead of Awakened at Colonial. Uco Valley was third in his American debut at Colonial. Really deep maiden race.

Joe: Awakened, Seismic Wave, Uco Valley.
Sean: Awakened, Robert’s Luxury, Quid. 
Tom: Awakened, Robert’s Legacy, Quid.

Third race. $25,000 optional claiming handicap hurdle (115) going 2 miles. The claiming option lets Sempre Medici (rated 123) in but he’s got to carry 159. Ludicrous Mode and Fightinirishtabit exit wins. Twenty Years On will appreciate getting back to a race meet instead of the racetrack. Yankee Doodle Boy seems to always run well at this level. Project Two gets some class relief and gets the 4-year-old break in the weights.

Joe: Yankee Doodle Boy, Ludricrous Mode, Project Two.
Sean: Sempre Medici, Spring Heeled Jim, Project Two.
Tom: Ludicrous Mode, Yankee Doodle Boy, Twenty Years On.

Fourth race. $35,000 allowance (NW2) hurdle going 2 miles. Love allowance races. Wish there were more than seven runners, but we’ll take it. How ready are some of the layoff horses? Ljay, Queens Empire and Senor Seville get back to work after spring starts. Bright Eyed Eagle tried this level at Saratoga after a maiden win at Colonial. Our Bab exits a win in a weak filly/mare stakes. Step To The Bar and Queens Empire were 1-2 over the course last year.

Joe: Connagh’s Quay, Queens Empire, Step To The Bar.
Sean: Connagh’s Quay, Queens Empire, Ljay. 
Tom: Queens Empire, Our Bab, Ljay.

Fifth race. $35,000 Brown Advisory timber stakes going 3 1/8 miles. Hey, timber horses, how was your summer? Stakes veterans Storm Team and Andi’amu get back to work in a field of seven.

Joe: Andi’amu, Storm Team, Our Legend.
Sean: Storm Team, Andi’amu, Junior Senator.
Tom: Andi’amu, Storm Team, Junior Senator.

Sixth race. $15,000 maiden timber going 3 1/8 miles. A dozen, with three on the also-eligible list, look for timber wins. Cause For Pardon and Coach Carter make quick conversions. Gaye Breeze, a winner over hurdles in March, joins the party.

Joe: Bogey’s Image, Cracker Factory, Notjudginjustsayin.
Sean: Bogey’s Image, Gaye Breeze, Cause For Pardon.
Tom: Case For Pardon, Coach Carter, Adjutant.

Seventh race. Training flat going 1 3/8 miles. More crowded than a back-to-school sale on Labor Day. Hello old friends City Dreamer and Mystic Strike. Irish-bred Agitare makes his first U.S. start with Group 3 flat form. Sandra Webb, better known as Jack Fisher’s former assistant and Snap Decision’s best friend, sends out Bourbon Magic (who will be happy that there’s no starting gate).

Joe: Agitare, Auction Kingdom, City Dreamer.
Sean: Agitare, Auction Kingdom, Bourbon Magic.
Tom: Mystic Strike, Auction Kingdom, City Dreamer.

Eighth race. Training flat going 1 3/8 miles. Another huge field. Former jump champion Moscato gets back to work – look for the flowing gray tail. Modus Operandi (a 4-year-old Frankel gelding) was tackling graded flat company this spring. Saigon won at Laurel in August for Hall of Famer Janet Elliot.

Joe: Modus Operandi, Saigon, Refi.
Sean: Modus Operandi, Clint Maroon, Tease And Seize. 
Tom: Moscato, Modus Operandi, Saigon.

The 2022 Virginia Gold Cup winner Andi’amu gets back to work at Shawan Downs in Maryland Saturday. Tod Marks photo
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