This race has been significantly altered by scratches, as 5 of the 11 entrants were scheduled to race in a Friday off-the-turf event. After defections, Electric Forest (#2) is likely to go off as the favorite in this spot. She did everything right in her debut at Keeneland, stalking the pace before drawing clear late. That race earned a respectable speed figure at the time, and the horses that finished behind her have since returned to suggest that it was a pretty strong field overall. I’m not sure exactly what happened in her only other start at Churchill Downs, as she never got involved after a rough break and was basically eased on the turn. Now she’s returning off a solid series of drills and I won’t be surprised if she just proves to be better than this group.
The primary alternatives are all exiting the same race on Oct. 17. Hail (#8) finished ahead of a pair of Shug McGaughey runners that day, and I suppose she is the main danger to Electric Forest. While conventional wisdom would lead you to conclude that Hail had a tough trip last time, I actually thought she had an easier time of it than Pink Sands, who finished directly behind her. The pace of that race was extremely slow, and both McGaughey runners were stymied in traffic in behind horses around the far turn. Hail, on the other hand, was out in the clear and able to make a move into one of the slowest parts of the race. She finished well to be second, but the horse that I want to bet out of that race is Pink Sands.
After breaking from the rail, PINK SANDS (#3) was never into a comfortable position around the turn and was unable to build any momentum while getting pushed into the rail at the quarter pole. She finished up decently once in the clear, but the race was already over by that point. She also ran very well two back when chasing home the vastly improved Tiznow’s Smile. I’m confident that Pink Sands is better than her last two efforts suggest, and she can be a major threat to the favorite as long as Rosario gets her involved a bit earlier.
Exacta Key Box: 3 with 1,2,8
Trifecta: 2,3 with 2,3 with ALL