Thursday’s TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Royal Asset’s speed makes him dangerous

Saratoga | Race 6 | Post Time 3:48 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 

The likely favorite is Grand Sky (#9), who won over this course a few weeks ago in dominant fashion as he made his first start off the claim by Jason Servis. He certainly has a chance to win right back in this spot, but he looks to be facing a tougher field this time. Jason Servis runners are always dangerous in turf sprints, and he’s having a fantastic Saratoga meet, but I think this runner is likely to be overbet.

Two of the solid alternatives are Hold Me Black (#8) and Banana Thief (#11), both of whom ran well in a similar spot earlier in the month. Hold Me Black made the first move into a race that was collapsing late, while Banana Thief encountered some traffic trouble in the lane.

I’ll use all three of the aforementioned runners, but my top pick is ROYAL ASSET (#3). I know that this horse has never won on the turf, but he’s actually run better than it might appear on that surface. He had a nightmare of a trip when he made his debut on this surface some two years ago, and then tried grass only twice more, both time as a 4-year-old. In the first of those efforts, he had the misfortune of running into Disco Partner just as that one was getting good, and then on July 1, 2016, he couldn’t quite keep up through quick early fractions.

This time, the Pace Projector is predicting that he will be the early pacesetter in a situation that is expected to favor the front-runner. He’s actually run reasonably well in his recent dirt races, and I think he can pull off the minor upset.

THE PLAY

Win: 3

Exacta Key Box: 3 with 4,8,9,11

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