My Boy Tate (#4) gets a real class test here as he steps up into stakes company for the first time. His last two races have been fast. That was especially true last time when he destroyed the field by nearly 10 lengths, earning a field-best 125 TimeformUS Speed Figure. If he repeats that kind of effort here, the rest may be running for second. Nevertheless, I want to see him prove it against these seasoned stakes performers.
Most of his primary challengers are exiting last fall’s Hudson at Belmont. The pace of that race was slow (indicated by blue color-coding in the PPs), which gave the edge to Eye Luv Lulu (#6). Horses such as Pat On the Back (#2) and Celtic Chaos (#3) were both compromised by a lack of early speed that day, and deserve respect in this spot.
However, the horse that interests me most is the Hudson winner OSTROLENKA (#1).
Like Eye Luv Lulu, Ostrolenka used his versatility to work out a favorable trip that day, stalking the pace before taking over just before the wire. Some may drop off his bandwagon following a disappointing recent run at Parx Racing, but I think he deserves a pass for that performance. If you watch the replay of that race, it was run during a driving snowstorm, conditions that he will not encounter on Saturday. His biggest obstacle will be a likely wet track with rain in the forecast, but he seemed to handle that kind of going back in July at Saratoga. He should be able to get a jump on the deep closers. I’ll primarily use him with My Boy Tate, but I also want to include Pat On the Back, whose last race suggests that he may be set for a strong 4-year-old season.
Exacta Box: 1,2,4
Exacta: 1 with 3,5,6