With the scratch of favored Monty Haul, this race opens up to some other contenders. Both Great Lou and the Chris Englehart-trained entry of Stay Tuned and Storm Pursuit are now likely to attract more support.
Of those two wagering entities, we slightly prefer Great Lou (#3), who has run a series of competitive speed figures in Southern California and apparently loves to win races. The only drawback is that it’s taken Bruce Levine a while to get him to the races. He was actually a vet scratch all the way back on December 13 and hasn’t been seen in the entry box since then.
Storm Pursuit (#2B) is certainly fast enough to win this race, but it concerns us that he’s been beating up on lesser foes recently. His last race was visually impressive, but he beat an absolutely awful field, and we’re not quite convinced that the effort warranted such a significant class hike.
Our top pick is FINDING CANDY (#6).
We realize that this gelding has had trouble finding the winner’s circle recently, but we like the way he’s coming into this race. Finding Candy was compromised by an inside trip along a dead rail on December 26 before getting carried out at the top of the stretch that day. He’s really not a horse that wants to go two turns, and he has run well when turning back to shorter distances in the past. We feel that he may get somewhat ignored in the wagering despite the fact that he has run plenty of speed figures that would make him a threat to win.
EXACTA Key Box: 3,6