A few of the main contenders in this race met on the Aqueduct turf course last fall. Baseline (#1) finished second at this level on Nov. 25 after setting the pace, just ahead of Cheyenne Bull (#6), who was recording the second of two third place finishes in similar spots. Cheyenne Bull has since run respectably on dirt and appears to be coming into this race in solid form, whereas Baseline has since been claimed away from Brad Cox.
Today’s rival Acoustic (#3) was also in that Nov. 25 race, but he finished far back after encountering a great deal of trouble in the stretch. This marks his first turf start since then, and his first start off the claim for Mike Maker. As long as some pace materializes, Acoustic appears to have an excellent chance to turn the tables on the aforementioned pair.
There are others to consider as well. Glennrichment (#4) has raced primarily on dirt, but his turf effort last fall at Belmont certainly gives him a shot here. That N1X allowance field seemed stronger at the time than it does in retrospect, but Glennrichment nevertheless handled the surface.
I’ll use them, but the horse that interests me most at a more attractive price is BARATTI (#7). This horse has been a massive disappointment after an impressive maiden score 4 years ago. However, I think it’s possible that he’s spent too much time racing on the wrong surface. Based on his efforts in 2017, turf might be what he needs. He actually ran deceptively well on Aug. 24 at Saratoga, closing from far back into a slow pace. Then on Nov. 3 he was hindered by a wide trip when finishing behind Cheyenne Bull. I find it interesting that the Mark Casse barn has dipped in to claim him at this point in his career. The Casse barn has had a strong winter meet in New York. They’ve only claimed two horses on this circuit during that time, but one won off the claim and the other finished a narrow second.
Exacta Key Box: 7 with 1,3,4,6,9