I suppose that morning line favorite La Cat Warrior (#8) can win this race, but his last effort was disappointing. He contested a slow pace (indicated by the blue color-coding in PPs) but had no answer when the closers made their stretch runs. Now he must deal with other speed drawn to his inside, and hold off a couple of decent closers. I’ll use him, but I prefer others more.
Another short-priced runner that I’m mildly against is Remstin (#3), whose speed figure improvement last time was likely a function of an inside trip on a day when the rail was golden. His debut effort was not nearly as fast and I’ll need him to prove that his last race was not merely a bias-aided fluke.
The horse that I want to bet at what should be a square price is MR. BUFF (#4). It’s starting to seem this horse may just not want to be a router, and the turnback in distance could really suit him. After all, his lone sibling, Organic Gemini, was a confirmed sprinter. In addition to potentially not wanting to go two turns last time, Mr. Buff was compromised by a four-wide trip against the gold rail of Dec. 17. He’s in better form than that performance suggests, and I think he can make a late impact here at a decent price. I’ll use him with the aforementioned speed types, as well as the late-running Hamptons Holiday.
Exacta Key Box: 4 with 1,3,7,8
Trifecta: 4 with 1,3,7,8 with 1,3,7,8