While I am picking against heavy favorite Sharpe and Ready (#4), I don’t want to mislead anyone as to his chances. I readily acknowledge that this horse is the most likely winner even though I do have some reservations about him. The problem with Sharpe and Ready is that he just seems a little too obvious. I made him a conservative 6-5 on the morning line, but it’s conceivable that he could go to post at odds much lower than that. There would be good reason for that, because he will win this race if he runs back to his return effort in October. However, he benefited from a slow early pace that day and he may just have been ready to fire off the layoff. I didn’t like his effort last time, as he failed to show his customary early speed and couldn’t make an impact. Now he’s been switched into Rudy Rodriguez’s barn and is dropping in for a tag for the first time. While this may seem like a positive sign at first glance, Rudy does not have strong numbers with this move. Over the past five years, he is 12 for 58 (21 percent, $1.13 ROI) with horses making their first starts off a trainer switch while entered for a tag in dirt sprints. He’s clearly had some physical issues, so I’d actually feel more comfortable if a horse like this was moving up in class rather than down.
I want to take a shot against him with MAGNETRON (#5). I know he looks significantly slower than the favorite, but he has been steadily improving in recent starts and is now in the best form of his career since the claim by Bruce Brown. He actually ran deceptively well two back when he was steadied on the rail in upper stretch, and certainly would have finished ahead of today’s rival Shortlist with a clean trip. Then last time, I thought he ran well within the context of that race, as he was the only runner to close behind impressive winner Monteleone. It’s possible that he just preferred a wet track, but I think he’s improving and will offer value as one of the longer prices in here.
Exacta Key Box: 5 with 1,2,4,6
Trifecta: 4,5 with 4,5 with 1,2,6