Pinnacle Mountain (#1) is obviously the horse to beat. He took a significant step forward when switched to turf, running a solid third in what appeared to be a strong New York-bred maiden race. That said, he was 20/1 that day and is likely to go favored this time. We’ll use him, but we are instead more interesting in a few of the many other interesting options this race presents us with.
Christophe Clement receives an excellent 89 trainer rating with horses making their career debuts in turf routes. He is left with one first-time starter in this field, Great Skellig (#10), after scratching his uncoupled stablemate. We could also use first-time turfer Casigordo (#5), who did not show much in his debut at Gulfsream, but is a half-brother to turf winner Dreaming as Always and conspicuously attracts the services of Javier Castellano. Even Vintage Matters (#8) merits a look after receiving a wide trip when last seen at Gulfstream. Michel Dickinson, who takes over his training, is known for his work with runners coming off extended layoffs.
Our top selection is DREAM DOCTOR (#3).
This five-year-old gelding got his career off to a late start last fall—literally—as he broke a couple of lengths slow in his sprint debut. Despite that poor break, he made up good ground in the lane to be a fast-closing fourth. Stretched out to two turns next time, he was just never put into a position to win and was ridden into traffic approaching the stretch, which effectively ended his race. Tim Woolley gets a 99 trainer rating with runners coming off layoffs and a 96 trainer rating with his turf runners overall. He drew a great post position for this return and he can contend for top honors if he takes a step forward off that debut effort.
Exacta Key Box: 3 with 1,5,8,10