This allowance race is the highlight of the card. The horse to beat is probably Business Cycle (#1) off his recent maiden victory over this strip. While it took him five tries to break through with his first win, he’s run competitive speed figures in all of his races and has kept decent company throughout his brief career. He got an unexpected challenge from longshot Zealous in the stretch last time, but that runner returned to validate his performance with a runner-up finish in a fast maiden race earlier this week. The one knock against Business Cycle is the anticipated short price. I’m not willing to bet him as the favorite, especially considering Chad Brown’s mediocre record with these types. Over the past five years, Brown is just 4 for 18 ($1.10 ROI) with 4-year-old and older last-out maiden winners on the dirt.
One of his main rivals is Aveenu Malcainu (#6), who has been an underachiever for Jeremiah Englehart. He finally got back to the winner’s circle two back at Belmont, but the time of that race has been disputed, and I’m still waiting to see him validate that career-best speed figure.
I’m trying to beat these horses with WINE NOT (#3), who should be around the second or third choice in this field. The main knock against this gelding is that he so rarely wins, having collected his last victory in July 2017. However, he’s been entered in some tough spots this year, and I feel that he’s actually been in the best form of his career since the early summer. He ran a strong race to be a close fourth in the Empire Classic two back, and then last time he actually ran on well to be third despite getting very little pace to close into on Nov. 4. I thought he ran much better than today’s rival Barahin on that occasion, and I think Wine Not is more likely to appreciate this slight stretch-out. I’ve always felt that a one-turn mile is best for him, and he’s so rarely focused on races going this exact distance.
Exacta Key Box: 3 with 1,2,5,6
Trifecta: 3 with 1,5 with 1,2,5,6,7