Crack Shot (#4) has to be considered the horse to beat. The Pace Projector is predicting that he will be in front early in a situation favoring the leader. He got cooked in a fast pace at Saratoga two back, but he bounced back nicely to get the maiden win last time. Call Me Harry returned to win with a 104 TimeformUS Speed Figure, and four horses that finished behind him last time have won their next start, all significantly improving their speed figures. However, Jeremiah Englehart is 2 for 28 (7%, $0.71 ROI) with last-out maiden winners on the turf over 5 years. I’m using him, but I wouldn’t want to accept a very short price.
Bourbon Mission (#8) may be the main rival after finishing third in two starts at this level at Saratoga. I wasn’t thrilled with his effort two back, but he did close decently into a slow pace last time after racing too far back in the early going. It’s unclear if he’s quite as good as Crack Shot, but he could be a late threat if Irad Ortiz is able to keep him a bit closer to the pace.
I instead want to take a shot against the favorite with RIKEN (#1). This runner makes his second start over turf after a decent debut over this surface back in April. He was actually off about two lengths slowly that day, which cost him any chance of attaining a higher placing. He did get some plenty of pace to close into, but could only mount a mild rally in the lane while finishing behind some solid rivals. Both of his siblings were turf horses, so he’s always been cut out to prefer this surface. He now makes his first start as a new gelding off the 4-month break, and improvement isn’t out of the question. Furthermore, he possesses far more tactical speed than he showed in that lone turf performance.
Exacta Key Box: 1 with 2,4,5,8
Trifecta: 1,4 with 1,4 with 2,5,6,7,8