Those with experience who figure to attract the most support are all exiting the second race on Dec. 14. Poker Game (#1) came through inside to get second after a trip that was less than ideal. There is some evidence that the rail was a good place to be on that card, but I still thought he ran reasonably well within the context of the race. However, now he’s going to be the favorite, and I don’t feel that he has a significant edge over some of his main rivals.
Shock Therapy (#4) showed some potential in his debut but failed to step forward last time, and Awesome Adversary (#5) continues to progress now that this connections are focusing on dirt routes. I would use all of these horses in some capacity, but there’s another runner with form who may not get the attention that he deserves.
TAZMONIAN DEVIL (#8) has lost his first couple of starts by a combined 52 1/2 lengths. However, those massive margins of defeat are primarily a product of the company he’s kept. This horse has been involved in two of the fastest maiden races run on the circuit in recent months, losing to stakes-bound Le General in his debut and eventual Damon Runyon winner Not That Brady last time. Despite the fact that he was never in contention in either of those starts, he’s actually earned some respectable speed figures. In fact, the 77 TimeformUS Speed Figure for his debut is tied for the highest number in this field. While some may feel that he regressed going a mile last time, he actually ran better than his finishing position would suggest, making a brief middle move before getting eased home. This horse is clearly bred to handle route distances, and these connections have been known to win at big prices.
Exacta Key Box: 8 with 1,4,5,7