Our Honor (#1) is going to be a heavy favorite based on his 2018 form, which is vastly superior to that of his rivals in this $20,000 maiden claimer. While he unquestionably would get to the winner’s circle if he runs back to those efforts, I’m skeptical that we’re going to see that same level of performance off a seven-month layoff. This is the third time Linda Rice has attempted to get this runner into the starting gate after claiming him, as he has been a vet scratch in January and again in February. If he starts in this race, I find it hard to believe that he will produce a top effort given owner/trainer Rice’s insistence on dangling him for a bottom-level tag. He’s a horse you have to use defensively, but I’m trying to beat him.
Seediskid (#3) and Bourbon Boy (#5) are viable alternatives, assuming that Our Honor regresses significantly. I’ll use them, but my top pick is second-time starter EDDY DIRT (#2).
Eddy Dirt debut was not nearly as poor as it might seem. He broke from the gate without major issues but seemed to react badly to kickback soon thereafter, climbing as the field crossed onto the main track from the chute. He soon lost contact with the field and was hopelessly beaten at the quarter pole. Yet if you watch the head-on replay, this horse really picked up the pace in the stretch once Gutierrez set him down. According to Trakus, he ran his final quarter-mile in 25.19 seconds and his last eighth in 12.38 – the latter figure being more than a second faster than any other horse in the field – before galloping out strongly. This son of Violence should have no problem stretching out to nine furlongs. Rudy Rodriguez often conveys his intentions through rider switches, and this move to leading rider Manny Franco has to be considered a positive sign.
Exacta Key Box: 2 with 1,3,5,9
Trifecta: 2 with 1 with 3,5,9