Monday’s TimeformUS Highlight Horse: The Caretaker appears to be back on track

Aqueduct | Race 5 | Post Time 2:54 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs

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Midnight Mission (#3) is likely to go off as a clear favorite as he steps up against winners following an easy debut win at odds of 3-5. He earned a competitive speed figure and has a right to continue progressing, but he’s not the kind of runner I want to bet at a very short price. He was beating a fairly weak field in that Jan. 28 maiden race. Now he must prove that he can run that same race over a dry track, and he will probably have to withstand early pressure from the speedy Grassady to his outside.

I’m trying to beat him with THE CARETAKER (#4), who moves back up in class following a deceptively strong performance against claiming company last time. This horse had shown promise at the start of his career but just couldn’t seem to recapture his best form since returning from a layoff last summer. However, his last race suggests that he may be heading in the right direction again. That race was Jan. 26, a day that strongly favored horses racing on the rail. The Caretaker was one of the few horses that day to produce a top effort despite racing off the rail throughout. He made a menacing move to threaten the winner at the eighth pole but couldn’t sustain the move late. Now Kiaran McLaughlin appropriately moves him back up in class. If he can produce a similar effort against tougher company this time, I think he has an excellent chance to win.

In addition to the favorite, I’ll also use my top selection with Altesino (#1), who has faced tougher fields in recent starts and is ridden by Dylan Davis, fresh off his 6-win day on Sunday. Macho Miah (#2) is another that must be included after running a competitive speed figure against weaker company last time out.

THE PLAY

 Win: 4
Exacta Key Box: 4 with 1,2,3

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