Blewitt (#9) did little wrong when he began his career over this track last winter, falling just a neck short of sweeping his first three races. He earned impressive speed figures in each of those wins and would be a formidable favorite in this race were he to return in top form. However, Todd Pletcher’s recent record in New York is of great concern to me, especially given the fact that this horse is likely to go off at a short price. Over the past year at NYRA, Todd Pletcher is just 14 for 78 (18 percent, $0.94 ROI) with 4-year-old and older non-maidens on the dirt. While he’s done well off layoffs going back a number of years, his recent statistics – especially at NYRA – are far worse. I’ll use this horse defensively, but others will offer better value.
Morning Breez (#2) seems like a viable alternative of his career-best speed figure on Oct. 13. He recorded that number while running back on just 2 days’ rest, so it remains to be seen if that unusual schedule will negatively impact this subsequent effort.
I think this is a race where we can look outside the box, so I want to take a shot with HOROSCOPE (#5) at a price. I realize that he lost to two rivals that he meets again in his last race, but I can excuse his performance given the sloppy track conditions. Prior to that, Horoscope ran deceptively well in both of his starts at Saratoga. He closed well on Aug. 29 despite getting an ill-conceived ride from off the pace, and he was negatively affected by a dead rail on Aug. 5. I’ve always thought shorter distances were better for this horse, so I like that Rudy Rodriguez is finally focusing on sprints with him. He will likely get ignored here and I think he has a chance to outrun his odds from a stalking position.
Exacta Key Box: 5 with 1,2,4,6,9