Friday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: War Canoe should get a better pace setup this time

Belmont Park | Race 7 | Post Time 6:18 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs

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Conquest Hardcandy (#7) has kept the strongest company and comes into this race having earned the fastest speed figures. At first glance, she looks like the horse to beat. However, you have to be somewhat concerned that her connections tried to ship her to New York last year under very similar circumstances (same class level, trainer, and rider) and she failed to show up with a top effort as the favorite. Furthermore, this filly runs her best races on or near the lead, and she will have to deal with Out of Trouble and possibly even Still There through the early stages of this race.

Out of Trouble (#2) can obviously win for the always-dangerous Brad Cox barn, but I felt that she took advantage of favorable circumstances last time. That was Belmont Stakes Day, when the rails were down on the turf courses, and she was able to hug the hedge throughout while setting a slow pace (indicated by blue color-coded pace figures in TimeformUS PPs). She’s been progressing nicely for this barn, but I think she finds herself in a significantly tougher situation this time.

If I’m going to take a horse out of that race, I want to bet WAR CANOE (#5).

While Out of Trouble was setting that dawdling pace, War Canoe was reserved at the back of the pack. She had to swing widest of all into the lane to make her run while rallying in the center of the course. All things considered, she did well to be third while putting forth yet another solid effort. Some may still regard her as an Aqueduct phenomenon, but she has run extremely well in all of her turf starts at Belmont this spring. It seems that this one-turn-mile distance is perfect for her, and the Pace Projector is predicting that she should get a fast pace to close into.

The wild card in this race is Still There (#4), who is curiously switched to turf despite having run extremely well in both of her dirt starts. While there is some turf pedigree on her dam’s side, Union Rags has been an awful turf influence.

THE PLAY

Win: 5

Exacta Key Box: 5 with 1,2,4,7

Trifecta: 5 with 2,7 with 1,2,3,4,7​

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