Saturday’s TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Great Wide Open gets back to the right distance in the Elusive Quality

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Belmont Park | Race 9 | Post Time 5:50 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs

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This is among the most competitive races on the card. The horse to beat appears to be Commute (#5). While he’s raced primarily at Woodbine in recent seasons, it’s undeniable that he’s run some of the fastest races. His runner-up performance in last year’s Connaught Cup was a sensational effort, and a repeat of that would make him awfully tough here. Furthermore, he’s one of the few entrants who has successfully raced on the early lead, which makes him stand out in a field of late runners.

I can’t pick Kharafa (#10) even though he’s run well in this race before, given his closing style and his disadvantageous outside post position. I’m more interested in other horses with tactical speed. One of those is Ready for Rye (#3), who routinely runs well when given opportunities to try turf.

He’s very much a part of my play, but the horse who interests me most is longshot GREAT WIDE OPEN (#6).

This horse may not be good enough to win, but he will offer value. He actually ran deceptively well in this race last year, finishing a close fourth at 36-1. Since then, he’s had some ups and downs, but his two most recent efforts suggest he’s back in top form. He beat weaker two back at Fair Grounds but did so in wire-to-wire fashion. Last time, in the Danger’s Hour, a slow break severely compromised his chances, as he refused to settle thereafter and dragged his rider up into a stalking position. All things considered, he did well to come within five lengths. Now he gets a massive rider upgrade to Manny Franco and can make use of his tactical speed.

THE PLAY

Win/Place: 6

Exacta Key Box: 6 with 3,5,7,9,10

Trifecta: 3,5 with 3,5,7,9,10 with 6

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