The Grade 1 Manhattan Stakes

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Belmont Park / June 7 / Race 10 / 5:45 EDT:

The Manhattan brings together an interesting group, as usual, with the main players exiting either the Man o’ War, the Dixie, or the Turf Classic at Churchill.

After running Wise Dan to a photo in Churchill’s Turf Classic last time, Seek Again (#6, 3-1) figures to attract much attention in this spot, and deservedly so, we think. That was a strong effort from Seek Again after a layoff, and his win over this trip in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby was equally impressive.

Seek Again

We don’t necessarily believe that he deserves strong favoritism in this spot, but the ML price seems right, and we cannot get around him being a major player in this race. We also think his position seems stronger given that we are having a difficult time embracing the horses from the other two races from which horses have flowed to this spot.

The top three from the Man o’ War are here, and that is a race we admit to having struggled with. Imagining (#1, 7-2) was the winner there after getting control of the early pace and seeing off a stretch challenge from Real Solution (#8, 5-1), with Grandeur (#4, 5-1) holding his position throughout in 3rd. The problem is, we can find things that we like and things that we don’t like about all of their performances. Imagining did stay gamely through the stretch, but he also got away with a soft trip on the lead, and took advantage, at least a little bit. Real Solution was compromised by the flow and yet still managed to make a strong run to contention before being turned away, but he also appeared to get there, and we can’t quite shake the feeling that he may have hung at the end, which is something we’ve accused him of in the past. Grandeur sat a trip and raced on all the way, but ultimately he was no threat through the stretch.

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 8.08.36 PM Result chart from the Man O’War, the last race by #1, #4, and #8. Click here for more information on TimeformUS Result Charts.

So what to do? We will make Seek Again our top pick, as he may simply be an up-and-comer in a division that is open to a horse like that. Of the Man o’ War horses, we’ll give Real Solution the benefit of the doubt (for the last time) and use him, along with a little less of Grandeur, who, interestingly, is first-time lasix for this race.

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