The likely favorite is March (#10), who returns from a lengthy layoff after running his best race ever, a runner-up finish in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby. If he returns at that level, he’s likely to beat this field, but that’s no guarantee, as he must overcome this outside post position.
Macagone (#7) is a threat to wire the field after being done in by a fast pace (color-coded in red) in the Kingston, but I wonder how much pressure he can withstand from other potential speeds like English Minister and Fredericksburg. Ascend (#2) has done just that in recent starts, as he’s moved through his conditions with steadily improved performances. This is undoubtedly the toughest field he’s encountered, but he does draw a great inside post position and can’t be dismissed.
While I respect those aforementioned runners, including likely favorite March, I’m more interested in Chad Brown’s other horse, NIGHT PROWLER (#4).
This one is also coming off a layoff, but Chad Brown does fine with horses in these situations (100 trainer rating). He had his three-year-old season cut short after a non-effort in the Hall of Fame up here, but actually ran quite well previously in a few spots, including his second place finish in the Penn Mile after a wide trip. If he can work out a ground-saving trip under Javier Castellano, I think he can get in the mix at a decent price.
Exacta Key Box: 4 with 2,7,10