Ark in the Dark (#2) is the horse to beat off solid performances against classier foes in his last two starts. However, this drop in class to the $25,000 level is somewhat peculiar. Kelly Breen has done a good job of placing his horses where they belong at this meet, so this drop in class following two solid efforts may signal that he expects a regression. All three horses who finished ahead of Ark in the Dark last time would be odds-on against this field, though I do think it’s worth noting that this colt spent a significant portion of that race riding a golden rail. I’m using him defensively, but I think he’s somewhat vulnerable.
High Roller (#7) is a logical alternative off his Laurel form. He’s been facing slightly tougher company in starter-allowance races over the winter and just needs some pace to close into to have a chance at the minor upset. The major knock against him is that he has not won a race in more than two years.
Given that many of the short prices in this field may be in declining form, I want to take a shot with a horse heading in the right direction. THEFINALCRAZYDUDE (#8) is moving up in class off the claim by Charlton Baker, but I think he may be ready to win again. He’s always been dangerous when able to make a clear early lead, and the Pace Projector indicates that he’s faster than the other entrants likely to show speed. Furthermore, after the scratch of Equal the score, the Pace Projector is now predicting a situation favoring the front-runner. Thefinalcrazydude’s recent TimeformUS Speed Figures, adjusted for pace, are among the highest in the field and suggest he stacks up quite well against the two aforementioned favorites. Over the past five years, Baker is 9 for 31 (29 percent, $2.64 ROI) first off the claim in dirt sprints.
Exacta Key Box: 8 with 2,5,7
Trifecta: 2,8 with 2,8 with 4,5,7