This True North drew a highly competitive field led by multiple Grade 2 winner Catalina Cruiser (#3). This California-based son of Union Rags makes his first start since suffering his first defeat in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. Catalina Cruiser is clearly good enough to beat this field if he returns in top form, but he’s run some of his best races on the front end, and there are plenty of speedy rivals to keep him honest up front, including Strike Power and Recruiting Ready. I’m using him, but I prefer some others.
Whitmore (#7) always must be respected in races at this level, but he’s coming off a disappointing performance in the Churchill Downs Stakes. He came up empty in the lane after making a threatening move on the far turn. I believe he can rebound here, and he usually runs well in New York. I would also use the horse who finished just ahead of him at Churchill last time.
Do Share (#8) closed from well back for fourth that day and is still looking to recapture the form that carried him to a dazzling victory in the Tom Fool earlier this year. He’d win this race with a similar effort, but his other performances do not quite measure up. I think this race is open to many, so I’m looking beyond the favorites for some value.
My top selection is STAN THE MAN (#2), who figures to be a square price. This 5-year-old has always had a ton of ability, but John Terranova has brought him along slowly and allowed him to race through all of his allowance conditions. He’s clearly proficient at a variety of distances, but I believe shorter is slightly better for him. This 6 1/2-furlong trip is in his wheelhouse, and he appears to be coming into this Grade 2 test in the best form of his career. His Westchester performance was excellent, and he appears to be working extremely well since that race. There are some question marks surrounding the main contenders in this race, and Stan the Man has reliably shown up with big efforts throughout his career. Perhaps he’s not quite good enough to win, but don’t be shocked when he outruns his odds.
Exacta Key Box: 2 with 3,4,6,7,8
Trifecta: 3,7,8 with 3,7,8 with 2