The two runners likely to attract the most play are Competitiveness (#5) and Theory (#1). The former seems like the more reliable option as he makes his first start off the claim for Rudy Rodriguez. However, Rudy is really going to have to improve this horse. While he’s run some competitive speed figures, he’s don so against fairly weak competition. There was just nothing of any quality behind him last time when beaten by Finnegan in a 4-horse field. The Pace Projector is predicting that he may find himself on a clear early lead here, and that helps, but he’s going to need a career-best effort to win.
Theory is more of an enigma. He showed early promise, but has steadily been sliding down the class ladder since then, as his career has been plagued by disappointments and layoffs. Now he drops in for a tag for the first time, and Todd Pletcher has poor numbers with this move. I think he’s one to play against here.
My top pick is SIR ALFRED (#4), who makes his second start off a 13-month layoff. His return effort was actually pretty encouraging. The winner of that race, Rossie Val, got an absolutely perfect trip, saving ground before angling while closing into an honest pace. Sir Alfred was the horse pressing that pace, and did so while racing three wide. The runner-up there, Toohottoevespeak, who also got a wide trip, returned to win with a solid effort in his next start. I like that Chris Englehart moves him up in class off the claim.
Exacta Key Box: 4 with 1,5,7,8