Rapid Rouge (#7) is the horse to beat, but Michelle Nevin doesn’t have the strongest stats with runners coming off wins (70 trainer rating, compared to her overall 81 rating). He can certainly win, but I’m not in love with the idea of taking the favorite in this race. Forest Boy (#6) gets some needed class relief and can certainly win this if he repeats either of his two speed figures earned since the trainer switch to Juan Ortiz. Aleander (#8) has run races that give him a shot here, but he appears to be off form. The same goes for Attractive Ride (#1), though at least he showed some signs of life last time and may have a pace edge here.
I ultimately don’t find any of the runners in this race to be particularly trustworthy. For that reason, I want to go shopping for the competitor that should offer the best value. I believe that to be KOWBOY BOOTS (#4).
While a trainer switch to Gary Sciacca might not typically seem like a significantly positive move, let’s keep in mind that Kowboy Boots had previously been in the barns of trainers with overall trainer ratings of 34 (Randi Persaud) and 0 (Carlos Figueroa, Jr.), as well as Mary Lu Dolce, who hasn’t started enough runners to earn a rating at all.
While Gary Sciacca’s trainer rating of 50 might not seem like that large of a leap, at least he is a trainer that routinely wins on this circuit. Additionally, he does especially well in these situations, getting an 80 rating with horses making their first starts out of his barn after a trainer switch. Kowboy Boots has plenty of strong races to get back to. Let’s hope he can return to the form that was on display over the winter.
Exacta Key Box: 4 with 1,6,7,8