Chad Brown has two runners in this allowance, and both figure to attract support. Identity Politics (#2) is the class of the field on the basis of his Grade 1 placing in the Malibu last December. However, he’s been somewhat disappointing since then. He lost as the 4-5 favorite two back at Gulfstream despite receiving a highly favorable pace setup. I can excuse his poor effort in the Carter, but I’m starting to wonder if we saw the best this horse has to offer over the winter. Furthermore, the Pace Projector is predicting that this race will favor horses racing on or near the lead, and he is projected to be at the back of the pack.
His uncoupled stablemate, Payne (#3), is also quite interesting as he returns from a long layoff. He looked great in his only start for this barn last summer, defeating the well-meant Hersh in a fast maiden event. He appears to be training well for his return, and I would not be surprised if he’s the Brown runner whom you really want.
I’m using both, but my top pick is ACHILLES WARRIOR (#4). I was disappointed not to cash a win bet on this runner last time since he ran too well to lose that race to an improbable longshot. Achilles Warrior had hinted that better things were on the horizon with his workouts at Gulfstream this winter, the last of which featured him outdrilling his talented stablemate Strike Power. While he benefited from a moderate pace in his return at Aqueduct, he figures to get a similar setup on the front end here. He only has to outrun The Caretaker to the front, and the early lead should be his. As long as he continues his forward momentum, I believe he can upset the Brown pair.
Exacta Key Box: 4 with 2,3
Trifecta: 4 with 2,3 with 1,2,3,5,7