by J. Keeler Johnson A mixture of grass and dirt racing will be featured during the Monday, July 1, race card at Sha Tin in Hong Kong, which gets underway at 1 a.m. (ET) for fans and bettors in North America. Among the highlights of the card is the 7TH race, in which rising star Thanks Forever will seek his fourth straight win from as many starts. If a little nighttime action sounds good to you, let’s join the fray with a couple of spot plays: Race 5: Continuous Development 1650M Handicap (Class 4) There are a few tried-and-true dirt specialists in this 1,650-meter handicap over the all-weather track, including 133-pound highweight Remarkable (#1), who won over this course and distance on June 12. He’ll have Joao Moreira in the saddle and might win right back, but he’s picking up eight pounds off his last race and this looks like a tougher spot. Touch of Luck (#3) could be a serious challenger. After eight runs on turf, Touch of Luck switched to dirt and produced a big rally from behind a slow pace to finish second by a neck in a 1,650-meter Class 4 handicap on June 12, the same day Remarkable reached the winner’s circle. Remarkable posted the faster final time (1:39.45 vs. 1:40.29 for the winner of Touch of Luck’s race), but Touch of Luck finished significantly faster, coming home the final two 400-meter sectionals in :23.77 and :23 compared to 23.60 and :24.33 for Remarkable Hong Kong’s leading jockey Zac Purton will retain the mount on Touch of Luck, so I’m tempted to give him a narrow edge in this competitive race. A better pace setup might be all he needs to prevail. Let’s key Tough of Luck for first and second in the trifecta: $1.30 trifecta: 3 with 1,4,12 with 1,2,4,11,12 ($15.60) $1.30 trifecta: 1,4,12 with 3 with 1,2,4,11,12 ($15.60) Race 7: The Hong Kong Reunification Cup (Class 2) This one looks easy, because Thanks Forever (#5) really shouldn’t lose this 1,200-meter turf sprint. Never mind that he’s jumping from Class 3 to Class 2 company and stretching out 200 meters in distance – Thanks Forever might just be a star in the making. Check out his race record. Thanks Forever is three-for-three so far, winning every race in virtually unchallenged fashion by a minimum of 2 1/2 lengths. Two starts back, he had little trouble defeating the capable Voyage Warrior, who came right back to win a similar race in clear-cut fashion. And last time out, Thanks Forever displayed a freakish burst of acceleration in a 1,000-meter sprint at Sha Tin, running the final two 400-meter sectionals in :19.93 and :22.22 to pull away and win easily. That wasn’t the first time Thanks Forever has finished fast – his slowest finishing fractions came in his debut last October, when he clocked :20.70 and :22.71, still exceptional times. If Thanks Forever brings his A-game on Monday, he should handle this class jump just fine. Let’s bet Thanks Forever heavily on the win end and in the quinella with Big Party (#7), who is also stepping up in class after winning a 1,200-meter Class 3 handicap by three lengths. On that occasion, Big Party sprinted home in :22.75 and :21.41, strong fractions for the distance, and his final time of 1:08.41 missed the class and course record by just 0.01. $20.80 to win on #5 Thanks Forever $10.40 quinella: 5, 7 Good luck! PHOTO: Thanks Forever (c) Hong Kong Jockey Club