Saturday March 1 – Aqueduct
Scheduled post time 1:52pm EST
Dads Caps is a very fast horse early. He is the projected leader in the Pace Projector, and in seven career starts, he has never been worse than second with a furlong to go.
On six occasions he has led by a length or more at that point. However, he has held on to win only three of those six times, and he failed both times he tried stakes company.
More specifically, Dads Caps has failed in stakes company to Candyman E. The seven-year-old gelding enters the Tom Fool on a three-race winning streak. He won an allowance race wire to wire at Belmont on a track that was favoring closers, then followed with wins in the Spooky Mulder S. and the Grade 3 Toboggan Handicap. In both cases he stalked Dads Caps from second position early and wore him down late. Dads Caps will need to slow down early to save something for the finish, but he has yet to show that is possible at this point in his career.
The third contender, and likely favorite, is Strapping Groom. He took the Grade 1 Forego S. this past summer on a sloppy Saratoga dirt track in front-running fashion. While he has won from slightly off the pace, the front end appears to be his preferred running style. Drawing the rail will almost ensure he has to go early in this contest.
Figure-wise, the three are closely matched, all running in the 110-115 range recently. This is where running style and post position can be a deciding factor. Dads Caps will certainly go for the front, and Strapping Groom will likely go as well due to the number one post position. That should set things up very nicely for Candyman E to notch a fourth consecutive victory.
If the expected speed duel does develop, both Saturday’s Charm and Sensational Slam possess strong late speed ratings and could find themselves picking up positions late.
Plays: Candyman E to win. Exacta Candyman E over Saturday’s Charm and Sensational Slam.