Fast Getaway (#6) is likely to be favored as he returns from a layoff for Linda Rice. He earned a speed figure that would win many races at this level in his 3-year-old finale last October, but the long break between races is a concern. Over the past five years, Rice is 5 for 38 (13 percent, $1.02 ROI) with horses coming off layoffs of 120 to 240 days in turf sprints. This gelding may not need his best effort to win if none of his rivals improves while switching to turf, but that’s no guarantee.
I’ve been waiting for BIG ENGINE (#1) to get his opportunity on grass ever since he made his debut last October. He was entered for turf that day, but Jason Servis left him in once the race came off the grass. He ran so well that he was afforded two more dirt opportunities over the winter. He maintained solid form in those starts while failing to step forward off his debut. However, I sense that we could see a significant improvement with this surface switch. This colt’s pedigree is strongly turf-oriented. He’s by the solid turf influence Not for Love and is out of an accomplished turf mare who won the Mount Vernon and Ticonderoga. As a broodmare, she has produced this horse’s full brother Lord of Love, a multiple turf winner. This 4-year-old showed a turfy way of galloping in his dirt starts and has a trainer who excels with this move. Over the past five years, Servis is 3 for 7 (43 percent, $4.28 ROI) with horses trying turf for the first time following a maiden victory.
The other two horses that I would use underneath in exotics are Lem Me Tel Ya (#3) and Riken (#7). The former was somewhat effective racing on turf in the maiden ranks last year and may appreciate the surface switch, and the latter has enough turf pedigree to handle grass as a half-brother to two turf winners.
Exacta Key Box: 1 with 3,6,7,11
Trifecta: 1 with 6,7 with 3,6,7,8,11