There could be some talented 2-year-olds in this field. The one who deserves to be the favorite is Tacitus (#6), the son of champion mare Close Hatches. He caught a pretty salty field in his debut on Oct. 4. It was difficult to make a speed figure for that race since the official final time and fractions are all incorrect. The race actually went more than a second slower than is indicated. That said, Tacitus ran well to be fourth after chasing wide throughout. He battled on valiantly in the final eighth and was even fighting back for third at the end. I think this horse has real ability, and he may be too good for these if he merely repeats that effort. However, I think he faces a rival who could really improve with experience.
MOTAGALLY (#1) caught can exceptionally tough field in his debut on Sept. 23. The winner, Vekoma, has come back to win the Nashua, the runner-up dominated maidens next time out, and one of the also-rans went on to a much-improved runner-up finish last week. That might have been a rare maiden event that contains several future stakes competitors. Motagally seemed to lack the speed to compete with those rivals over six furlongs. Nevertheless, he stayed on gamely through the stretch after getting spun very wide off the turn. He’s a son of Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags, so he’s supposed to want more ground, and he’s trained like a horse with some talent. I think we’ll see a better effort out of him, but he will need to improve to beat the favorite.
Exacta: 1 with 2,5,6
Trifecta: 1 with 6 with 2,4,5