This is one of the toughest races on the card. The morning line favorite is Humboldt N Frost, who has earned some of the fastest speed figures. However, he is an unknown quantity at today’s sprint distance, so we’re taking a stand against him. Sound of Freedom (#5) also turns back in distance off two decent route tries, but both of the two aforementioned runners may be hard-pressed to keep up with Memory Keeper (#4) in the early stages. The Pace Projector is predicting that this Tom Morley trainee is a threat to wire the field, but he beat a weak group when breaking his maiden last time and needs to do better to take down this prize.
Of the closers, Bensational (#8) has run fine in his two starts since returning from a lengthy layoff, but he probably needs to take a slight step forward to come out on top here. We’re also interested in Nicholson (#2), who has been facing slightly better fields in starter allowance company and has been earning competitive speed figures.
Yet we believe that the most intriguing horse in this race is HERE’S SPARTACUS (#1).
After earning a competitive 85 speed figure to break his maiden at Penn National last October, Here’s Spartacus was stepped up to face much tougher New York-bred N1X allowance company in December. When he was returned to a more realistic class level last time out, we felt that he might be an interesting long shot possibility. However, a curious trip through the opening furlong robbed him of any chance to make an impact that day. Both the horse and his rider basically overreacted as horses surrounded him through the opening strides, and Here’s Spartacus was shuffled out to last place. Now he returns as a new gelding, and we like this switch to Gabriel Saez, who should be more aggressive breaking from the rail. We feel that this horse deserves another chance, and the price should be inviting.