The draw took place on Wednesday for the $90,000 Brad Gunn (colts & geldings) and $70,000 Ralph Klein (fillies) Final.
Headlining the glamour boys Brad Gunn Final, of course, would be FIRST CLASS HORSE - from post 6 - installed as the 3/5 morning line favourite for Hall of Fame co-owner/trainer/driver Keith Clark. After not racing, for two months, the colt son of Western Terror came back to finish a solid third against a pair of very good older horses in Sotally Tober and Ghost Pine. That showing saw him pace his own back half in one of the fastest - if not THE fastest - final halves in the history of Century Downs - an eye-popping 54.1 bullet!
The rail post goes to my second choice in HAVE NOT READ IT for Kelly Hoerdt. This son of Dragon Again is expected to use the inside post to his advantage so count on Hoerdt to have this colt rocking and rolling early - to be a big factor late. He's a must play in the Exactor here.
URCUTOFF, for conditioner Darryl Cutting, bounced back in his latest, to get the job done, after coming up flat in stakes action two back. Brandon Campbell, from the center of the gate post 4, will be looking for a trip up close again so expect this son of Brandons Cowboy to 'cowboy-up' early. He gets top 3 consideration.
OUTLAW DEACON JIM, from post 3, is the second-choice on the morning line, at 4/1, but I see him as a minor player only here. There's a few more that could round out the top four as well - if the right trip is there. Horses like #2 CHILLINLIKEAVILLAIN, #5 PABLOS FIRST, #7 JOHNNY GUN, #8 MYSHARONA BLUECHIP and #9 WITHFLYINGCOLOURS are all worthy of being included in the Superfecta.
Sugar's Selections - Brad Gunn Final
6 FIRST CLASS HORSE is the one to beat
1 HAVE NOT READ IT the Exactor factor
4 URCUTOFF expect his best effort here
3 OUTLAW DEACON JIM in need of a trip
Sugar Bets - Brad Gunn Final
$20 EX BOX 1-6
A close look at the Ralph Klein Final for fillies and I can't look anywhere else - it's WRAPPED TO GO for me. She'll make her third start for trainer/driver Jim Marino and she - like many coming into this race - has never been better. A picture perfect steer from 'The Moneyman', in her Elim, would have her picking up the pieces late after the front end collapsed from an early speed battle. Second-time Marino - this filly was impressive... Third-time Marino - this filly will be great. She offers great value on the morning line, but the only thing that makes me nervous here is post 5. She may have to navigate through some traffic - she may even have to rough it on the outside... I love her form coming in though and that's why I'm putting her on top.
FIRE WATCH - the morning line fave - gets the inside post 2 time for young gun Travis Cullen. This Camystic miss went the trip of her life last time - parking first-up all the way and staying on to finish a gutsy second-best. One is left wondering though... How does any young horse come back off a tough trip like that? If she responds well and hits the ticket here - then 'she is one heck of a filly'... If she comes up empty in the Final - then she has the excuse of 'last week's trip took it's toll on her'. I'll use with caution and try her for second-best again.
Kelly Hoerdt has another serious player Saturday in THATS EXTRA from post 3. This filly has explosive speed - as seen in her Elim win, last week, when others just could not keep up with her through her third quarter march. If the trip is there and if she gets a helmet to follow, until the late stages, this Allamerican Native daughter could get up to get it all. Again - this is one of those fillies that is peaking at just the right time. She's a serious top 3 threat for me.
BLUE STAR TEXAS is in a hole early, here, after drawing the outside post. She tried to go all the way last time and with her 'high-tailing it', turning for home, she just couldn't fight off a determined Fire Watch - nor the eventual winner Wrapped To Go. Keith Clark has been in all the big races - there's no pressure for him here - he'll know what to do when the wings fold at the start - but can his prized filly bounce back in this one? It's going to be very tough from the outside looking in.
Minor players include #1 REMEMBER TERROR, #4 BEAUTY OF NATURE, #6 CAM FINISH and #7 MY VILLAS ON FIRE.
Sugar's Selections - Ralph Klein Final
5 WRAPPED TO GO she has never been better
2 FIRE WATCH using with caution for second
3 THATS EXTRA peaking at just the right time
8 BLUE STAR TEXAS an outside chance here
Sugar's Bet - Ralph Klein Final
$20 WIN & PLACE on 5