While it drew only six runners, this race is one of the more interesting on the card. The horse to beat is Holding Aces (#2). This speedy runner gets a positive trainer switch to Chris Englehart, whose barn has been on quite a roll at this meet. He’s run plenty of speed figures that would make him formidable, but he will have to show up with a slightly improved performance, since his last race was disappointing.
There are plenty of others to consider. Shuffle Up (#5) faced a much stronger field last time out at Parx and ran a competitive speed figure when breaking his maiden, but you have to wonder where he’s been for the last few months. Bene (#6) and Only You (#1) are coming off reasonably fast maiden scores, but must prove that they can handle the step up in class, as well as greater early pace pressure.
While he might not be the classiest horse in the race, the runner that interests me most is MONTE MAN (#3).
I just feel that this horse is doing well at the moment. He actually ran deceptively well last time, battling back at the wire in a race dominated by closers after hitting the front a bit too early. His Dec. 31 workout jumps off the screen as the second fastest of 178 drills that morning, and now John Terranova is moving him up in class despite the fact that he lost for a lesser claiming tag last time. When you really dig through his past performances, it’s apparent that he’s only contested three dirt sprints on fast tracks, and they’re some of his best efforts. I think it’s possible that this horse might have another step forward in him.
Exacta Key Box: 3 with 1,2,5,6
Trifecta: 2,3 with 2,3 with ALL