The Barry Schwartz-owned entry of Beachside (#2) and Just Right (#2B) are likely to go favored in this spot despite the fact that both are exiting poor performances. Yet I don’t want to be too hard on either one given that they each reacted badly to turnbacks and are now stretching out to the more appropriate one-mile distance. Their running styles should complement each other since Just Right tends to show speed and Beachside closes from off the pace. I’m using this entry prominently, but this is a fairly competitive race, and they may be an underlay.
Castle Casanova (#3) should attract some support, but I was not thrilled with this colt’s maiden victory last time. He never appeared to be traveling that well as the 4-5 favorite and only won because the runner-up could not get the distance. It’s possible that he reacted badly to a four-day turnaround and will do better here, but I’m skeptical. This horse has more of a turf pedigree, and I will wait for him to show up on that surface.
I’m taking a shot against the favorites with TIERGAN (#4). I know that he looks a bit slower than the main contenders, but his last race is better than it seems. He was briefly on the rail early in the race, but he angled outside on the far turn and continued to close down the center of the track through the lane. That matters a great deal because the Feb. 7 card at Aqueduct featured a strong inside bias, which helped that race’s winner, Kosciuszko. We have seen both the winner and third-place finisher, Hushion, who was also against the bias, return to improve their TimeformUS Speed Figures in their subsequent starts. Tiergan’s last speed figure is the only one that makes him competitive with this field, but he had run deceptively well in some prior starts, especially two back, when he encountered traffic.
Exacta Key Box: 4 with 2,3,6
Trifecta: 4 with 2,6 with ALL