We have already posted stakes previews of the Gazelle, Carter, and Wood Memorial, so we wanted to look for an interesting horse to highlight elsewhere on this card.
There is a serious dearth of early speed in this Excelsior Handicap, which is illustrated by the fact that Madefromlucky (#4)—a confirmed closer—is predicted to enjoy a clear early lead. He’s obviously one of the horses to beat. He put in a decent effort last time in the Stymie, overcoming a wide trip to be third, while the winner, Turco Bravo, was able to ride the rail around both turns.
Kid Cruz (#2) is the other obvious contender, but he typically needs some pace to close into, and he is not going to find that here.
Oddly enough, we think that the horse predicted to be racing last in the early going might be in the best position to capitalize on this paceless scenario.
GOOD LUCK GUS (#5) is a grinder that does best when he can race in fairly close attendance to a slow pace and just gradually wear down his foes. That’s how he defeated the heavy favorite Royal Posse last time, and we believe a similar type of effort may be good enough to beat this field. He’s shown himself to be a strong finisher at nine furlongs, so a mile and a quarter should not pose a problem. He would offer value at anything over 5/1.
Exacta Key Box: 5 with 1,2,3,4