At first glance, Leah’s Dream (#5) looks particularly formidable in this spot. However, upon closer inspection, I don’t think the task of beating her is quite as daunting as it may seem. Last time out Leah’s Dream benefitted from a sloppy racetrack that she clearly loves on a day when the surface was strongly favoring runners with early speed. She was defeated over a fair, fast track two back, and I believe she’s facing a field of similar quality today.
One of the primary alternatives is Letmetakethiscall (#3), who got back to the winner’s circle when dropped in for a claiming tag last time out. Feb. 10 was a day that was strongly favoring runners that raced on the rail, and Letmetakethiscall did spend a large portion of the race running along the inside path before angling out approaching the stretch. On the other hand, she was severely hindered by a poor break that left her approximately 3 lengths behind the field at the start, making her overall performance difficult to assess.
I’m using her, but my top selection is SHIMMERING MOON (#2). Some may be deterred by her most recent poor effort, but she had a significant excuse that day. Feb. 9 was yet another day that featured an inside bias, and this one was as strong as any we have seen during the entire meet. Shimmering Moon raced 3- to 4-wide throughout and truly never had a chance to get involved in the race. Notably, we have already seen third-place finisher Summer Punch return to win her next start. Shimmering Moon had previously run respectably against tougher competition at the open N1X level and she’s the only horse who possesses the speed to stay close to Leah’s Dream early.
Exacta: 2 with 3,4,5
Trifecta: 2 with 3,5 with 1,3,4,5