This $32,000 claiming race is a deceptively competitive affair despite attracting just 6 runners. Most are coming in from wildly different class levels, so assessing their form relative to each other is especially difficult.
Helooksthepart (#3) probably deserves to be favored despite some disappointing recent efforts. His connections had gotten somewhat ambitious with him off the claim last time and they’re just dropping him back down to a more appropriate class level. While he’s competed for slightly higher tags throughout the year, he’s done his best work on the NYRA circuit when he’s been placed appropriately, at or about this level. However, a major concern for him is the potential lack of early speed in this race.
Full Salute (#4) may be able to control up front, since he’s the most consistent front-runner. Yet now he’s making his first start off the claim for Gary Contessa after making brief pit stops in some pretty shrewd claiming barns, and I was very disappointed by his most recent performance at Belmont.
My top pick is GETOFFMYBACK (#1), and I’m hoping Irad Ortiz shows some aggression, at least enough to keep Full Salute honest. This horse seems to do best when he’s ridden from a forward position, and there should be incentive for him to do just that given the opposite running style of his uncoupled stablemate. Getoffmyback ran a superior 120 TimeformUS Speed Figure when last seen at a NYRA track in July and he’s since run over turf and wet surfaces out of town. I think he’s in better form than it appears, and this part has done well with horses switching from allowance to claiming company on this circuit (7 for 25, 28%, $2.98 ROI over the past 5 years).
Exacta Key Box: 1 with 2,3,4,5