This Gravesend drew a strong field of six runners, all of whom are legitimate contenders for top honors. Gold for the King (#5) is likely to go off as the favorite after a blowout victory in the New York Stallion Series last month. It was yet another solid performance from a horse that has been in the best form of his career in 2018. I thought he ran an exceptional race two back in the Hudson, overcoming unfavorable pace dynamics to be second, and he may have even improved on that effort last time. The only question for him is the cutback to 6 furlongs, since I do believe he’s best going slightly farther than this. That said, he still figures to work out a good trip in a small field, and he’s strictly the one to beat.
Three horses exit a Fall Highweight won by Life in Shambles (#1). This grey gelding has gotten back into top form since the claim by Jason Servis, but I still feel that he’s going to need to improve on that most recent performance if he’s to win his third race in a row. He got a great setup last time, stalking the dueling pair of Always Sunshine and Heartwood before running them down. I wouldn’t put a victory past this horse considering who trains him, but I can’t pick him at a relatively short price.
My top selection is SKYLER’S SCRAMJET (#6). This horse was in fantastic form before going to the sidelines earlier in the year. His win in the Tom Fool was good enough to prompt him getting bet down to 5-1 in the Grade 1 Carter. He didn’t even run that badly in that spot behind a freakish effort from Army Mule. Following that, Skyler’s Scramjet went slightly off form. Michelle Nevin has solid numbers bringing horses back off layoffs like this and he’s reportedly training well into this race. It’s an ambitious spot in which to return, but I think he may be up to the task.
Exacta Key Box: 6 with 1,3,5
Trifecta: 6 with 1,5 with ALL