While it’s not really my style to recommend likely favorites, I just feel that CRIMSON FROST (#5) has found the right spot and is a very likely winner. She’s coming off a couple of disappointing third-place finishes, but I believe she had legitimate excuses in both of those performances. She’s just not a sprinter, so I can forgive her for failing to get involved going 6 1/2 furlongs two back. Then last time, she was at the opposite end of the spectrum, as 1 1/8 miles is a bit beyond her range of ideal distances. Furthermore, she seems to give the best response when she closes outside in the stretch, and Junior Alvarado got her stuck inside behind tiring rivals from the three-eighths pole until deep stretch. This time, she’s back at her best distance, and she figures to work out a perfect trip, sitting a few lengths off a number of speedier rivals.
Some may consider Jump Ruler (#4), who is probably the biggest threat to the favorite. However, Crimson Frost easily defeated Jump Ruler when they last met going this distance on Dec. 7. Jump Ruler earned a formidable speed figure in her following start, but she was aided by a favorable pace scenario.
I’m totally against the other horse who is likely to attract support, Face It (#6). In my opinion, she was exposed last time out at Laurel when she actually faced horses of quality. While she earned respectable speed figures in her wins at Aqueduct, those victories came over vastly inferior foes. I think she’ll have a tough time putting away the other speeds in this spot, which should help set things up for Crimson Frost’s late run.
Exacta: 5 with 2,3,4
Trifecta: 5 with 2,4 with 2,3,4,6