The deserving favorite is Ack Naughty (#8), who ran only four times as a three-year-old but gave a strong account of herself on every occasion. After an impressive blowout win at Saratoga, she returned with two runner-up finishes at this level, earning speed figures of 105 and 106. Those efforts would make her awfully tough to beat here. While we respect her, she’s likely to go off at a very short price and we believe others will offer better value.
One of those runners is Flatware (#10). This three-year-old ran very well when overcoming a slow pace (color-coded in blue) last time out. She still needs a bit of a boost in the speed figure department, but she may be improving at the right time and should be a square price today.
Jc’s Shooting Star (#1) is far from impossible. While she’s had chances at this level, most of them have come on dirt, not turf. She made a successful return to this surface last time, just getting run down by Summersault in the late stages. Her tactical speed should serve her well in this spot.
Our top selection is MAURA’S PASS (#7).
This mare is also coming off a lengthy layoff, but Jason Servis does well with these types of runners. Additionally, we feel that she subtly was rounding into top form as last year came to a close. She ran better than it appears three back at Saratoga when she had an uncomfortable trip against a much tougher group. Two back she was buried inside and never put in a position to win, and then last time she finished second against a pretty salty field at this level. She figures to be placed closer to the pace than a few other contenders, including the favorite, so we’re hoping she can get the jump on them and hold on.
Exacta Key Box: 7 with 1,8,10