Binkster (#2) has to be considered the horse to beat in this race as he seeks to finally break through at this N2X level after a string of frustrating defeats. He was arguably best two back when he found himself chasing a fast pace that collapsed and then last time he was unfortunate to run into a rejuvenated Ready to Escape, who exploded with a 121 TimeformUS Speed Figure. Barring any such improvements by his rivals here, Binkster is likely to win this race. He’s earned a series of speed figures that should be good enough to break through at this level and he projects to work out a favorable trip.
While the Pace Projector indicates otherwise, one would imagine that Leaky Cup (#1) and Sudden Surprise (#5) will have to hook up on the front end in this race. Both are need-the-lead types, and it could put them each in tricky positions. Binkster, on the other hand, should be content to stalk those two and take over at the top of the stretch.
I believe the greatest threat may come from behind in the form of GYPSUM JOHNNY (#6). This horse looks too cheap to compete against these at first glance, but there are some angles to consider here. Gypsum Johnny was once good enough to win open company allowance races, yet he went off form following the 2017 season. It’s taken him a long time to come back around, but his last race suggests that the good version of Gypsum Johnny may be emerging once again. He won that cheap claimer by 3 1/4 lengths, but he had opened up 5 or 6 lengths at the sixteenth pole before Junior Alvarado geared him down late. This is a situation in which he would have earned a higher speed figure if ridden out to the wire. Yet more meaningful is the fact that he was claimed back by Linda Rice, who had let him go for $25,000 when he was off form back in January. For her to dip back in and immediately enter him at the $40,000 level, she’s essentially indicating that she believes he’s turned a corner. If she’s right, he is the one horse in this race who may be able to topple Binkster, and the price should be square enough.
Exacta Key Box: 6 with 1,2,3,5
Trifecta: 2,6 with 2,6 with ALL