Make no mistake—we readily acknowledge that Spooked Out (#6) is the horse to beat as he turns back to a more appropriate sprint distance. He was cooked when dueling through fast fractions two back and then ran well despite not quite handling the two-turn distance last time. His prior two speed figures, a pair of 99s at sprint distances, make him very formidable here.
Lucky Lurie (#7) could be a threat to the favorite if he has improved since the spring of his two-year-old season. He finished ahead of Dr. Shane in the Rockville Centre Stakes and that one would be among the favorites in this spot if he were participating. Mark Hennig has done fairly well with a small sample of layoff runners like this, but this is a tough spot in which to return.
However, we prefer a different alternative to the favorite.
BUST ANOTHER (#2) appears to be improving by leaps and bounds and may find himself on par with Spooked Out should he take another step forward. He has exceeded expectations in each start, topped by a dominating win in fast time against claiming company most recently. The three horses to have run back out of that race all improved their speed figures next time out. Bust Another was picked up out of that race by Michael Pino, who gets a fine 93 trainer rating first off the claim, and we think he could be sitting on his best effort yet.
EXACTA Key Box: 2 with 6,7