Betfair Hollywood Park, Race 9, 8:11 pm ET
The G1 Triple Bend Handicap, Seven Furlongs, Cushion Track
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The pace picture in this year’s Triple Bend Handicap seems to be clear, as per the pace projector on the TimeformUS preview page. The ultra-consistent gelding Comma to the Top looks sure to have the early lead and will do his best to extend his speed over seven furlongs in a Grade 1 that, though teeming with accomplished horses, contains nothing that seems likely to try to match his early pace.
Comma to the Top is looking for his third straight victory over this surface. In his last two races he earned solid speed figures of 112 and 116. He is a contender again today.
Jimmy Creed is the favorite on the morning line and deserves to be considered the most likely winner of the race. A seemingly minor setback resulted in the cancellation of his ambitious travel plans, leading his trainer, Richard Mandella, to run him again in Southern California, where he has won four of eight starts, including a Grade 1, and has recorded speed figures that are a match for any horse in this field. The main concern here is that Jimmy Creed may get knocked down well below his morning line odds.
The John Shirreffs-trained six-year-old Morning Line is an intriguing longshot. As can be inferred from his odds, there are negatives. Morning Line has not raced in a year, and his workout pattern for this race does not inspire as much confidence as the one that led to his last victory off a long layoff. However, Shirreffs is a shrewd trainer who has had quite a bit more success bringing Stakes horses back from layoffs than he has had doing similar with cheaper horses. Morning Line’s best speed figures can win this race, while he’s proven at this class level, on this surface and over this distance. If his odds start to flirt with 20-1, there’s a real case to be made for Morning Line.
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