While this Woodhaven Stakes is just a listed race, it has attracted some of the most talented three-year-olds in this turf division, and could conceivably produce some Belmont Derby runners later this summer.
With speedy colts like Dixie Runner (#3) and Too Discreet (#4) in the mix, the Pace Projector is predicting a fast pace, which may set the table for a late runner. But which one?
Unbridled Daddy (#7) is likely to garner plenty of support, and was installed as the favorite on the morning line off the strength of his visually impressive romp in an allowance race at Gulfstream last month. While he did briefly steady around the first turn, he got a relatively good trip thereafter. That was not the case for Rappel (#8), who was shuffled back at multiple points around the far turn and could have finished much closer with a clean trip. They both must be used, but Rappel should offer better value.
We could also use In Equality (#1) underneath as he switches back to turf, which may ultimately turn out to be his preferred surface. He had no chance when trying to close into a very slow pace in his debut, and then put in a good late run second time out over this turf course. His pedigree suggests that he may have a bright future racing on grass.
While there are plenty of interesting contenders in this race, if HIGHLAND SKY (#2) runs back to his prior effort at Gulfstream, or even improves in his second start off the layoff, he will be very difficult to beat.
This colt showed his class as a two-year-old in races like the Pilgrim and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, without getting ideal trips either time. Last time out, the eventual winner, Giant Run, was in a position to control the pace (note the fractions color-coded in blue, indicating a slow pace), and Highland Sky actually did well to get up for second after making a five-wide run into the stretch. Barclay Tagg gets just a 45 trainer rating with runners coming off layoffs, but an 80 rating with horses racing second off a layoff, so Highland Sky could take a step forward today.
Trifecta: 2 with 1,7,8 with 1,4,5,6,7,8