The most interesting horse in this race is the 3-year-old Local Hero (#9), who returns from the layoff and drops in class after racing against some of the best horses in his age group through the spring and summer. I have mixed feelings about this horse. On one hand, I’ve always thought that he deserved a chance to try his hand at sprinting given his ample early speed. However, it bothers me that his last couple of efforts in May and June were so dull. Furthermore, he’s going to be the favorite in all likelihood, despite the fact that he would need to run the fastest race of his career to beat this field.
Another difficult horse to assess is Pete’s Play Call (#2B). If he repeats his last effort on Nov. 26, his first off a three-month layoff, the other horses in this field are probably running for second. He grudgingly fought the talented Favorable Outcome to the wire that day, earning a career- best speed figure. However, now he must cut back to six furlongs, and it’s not as if he had run nearly that well at any other point in his career. He’s only 4, so it’s possible that he’s just now improving. Nevertheless, I want to see it again.
There is speed in this race, and the Pace Projector is predicting a fast pace, due to an expected early duel between Phi Beta Express and Still Krz. I’m hoping some pace develops, because I’m most interested in BOLITA BOYZ (#5).
I know this horse looks a little cheaper than some of the others in here, but I think we can reasonably expect improvement. He’s been compromised by slow paces in a few of his recent efforts. He didn’t get the best trip when beaten by today’s rival Very Very Stella three back, and then regressed off the claim by David Donk last time. Now he moves into the barn of Rudy Rodriguez, who has fantastic numbers in this situation. Over the past five years, he is 12 for 26 (46 percent, $3.73 ROI) first off the claim on the dirt with horses running back for claiming tags of $40,000 or greater. Basically, when Rudy gets an expensive claim into his barn, they typically deliver.
Exacta Key Box: 5 with 1,2,3,9,10