Square Shooter (#4) is a wild card in this race as he ships up from Florida for Jeremiah Englehart. His most recent effort was quite good, as he ran a competitive speed figure and finished just a half-length behind the winner, who has since gone on to do some nice things. However, this horse hasn’t been seen for nearly three months since then, and he now returns as a new gelding with blinkers added. He appears to have ability, but there are obviously questions surrounding him.
Another interesting runner in this race is Have Another (#2), who makes his first start off the claim by Brad Cox. He had shown real ability running in maiden races last winter at Aqueduct, but was surprisingly dangled for a $40,000 tag upon returning last month. This is surely a positive trainer switch, but Have Another is a one-dimensional stretch runner who may not get a favorable early setup in this spot with little speed signed on.
For that reason, I prefer one of the more tactical runners, BLUE BELT (#5).
This gelding clearly possesses plenty of early speed, and I like that he’s getting a significant trainer upgrade to Rudy Rodriguez for this race. Blue Belt ran well early in his career before getting somewhat lost through a series of surface switches and minor layoffs. His recent form is better than it seems, as he got used up chasing a fast pace two back and then was unwisely restrained and discouraged in the early going last time. Manny Franco just needs to send him into a clear stalking position today, because I believe he’s talented enough to hold off closers like Have Another and Benevolence on his best day.
Exacta Key Box: 5 with 1,2,4,6