I suppose J S Bach (#5) will be a deserving favorite off a pair of solid third-place finishes at this level. While he’s achieved the majority of his success against cheaper company, he has improved his speed figures in recent months and was facing tougher fields in his last two starts. The cutback to seven furlongs may actually help him given how well he ran going sprint distances at Saratoga last summer. Everything Jason Servis sends out has been dangerous lately, and this gelding figures to work out a good trip from stalking range.
The Pace Projector is predicting that Bon Raison (#2) will lead the field early in a situation favoring the front-runner. However, I think this horse is one to take a stand against. He earned the highest TimeformUS Speed Figure in the field in winning his last race just seven days ago, but he benefitted from riding the golden rail that day. I highly doubt he can repeat such a performance on a fair surface.
My top selection is ALMITHMAAR (#6), who may sit the perfect trip just in behind the aforementioned speeds, assuming Bon Raison can’t seal the deal. Almithmaar’srecent form is a lot better than it might appear at first glance. This horse contested a strong pace against superior rivals on Sept. 29 and then was wide against a strong rail bias on Oct. 26. I can excuse his turf effort two back, and last time, he had to contend with a sloppy track. I thought he would have finished closer that day had Dylan Davis continued to send him through inside in upper stretch, as he seemed to lose momentum when he altered course. Nevertheless, he still finished relatively close to the talented Eye Luv Lulu and defeated next-out winner Preservationist. His 117 TimeformUS Speed Figure stacks up well against these, and he still has room to improve.
Exacta Key Box: 6 with 1,2,3,5
Trifecta: 5,6 with 5,6 with 1,2,3