I’m not trying to beat likely favorite LEITONE (#4) in this spot. The fact of the matter is that this horse is probably just a little better on dirt than he is on turf, so I can excuse his two losses on the grass, both of which came against tougher company. He beat a few common rivals in this race when he won that Aug. 30 race at Saratoga at this level, earning an impressive 112 TimeformUS Speed Figure. He only was assigned a 106 when he won against much cheaper company back on June 16, but he easily could have fun faster that day – a lot faster – had he not been geared down an eighth of a mile from the wire, giving up perhaps around 5 lengths of his sizable lead.
Furthermore, the Pace Projector is predicting he will be on the lead in a situation favoring the front-runner, and he’s already proven that he’s extremely dangerous when allowed to control the pace. Unless he suddenly regresses, he seems like a perfectly logical winner.
I just can’t get behind any of the alternatives.
Supreme Aura (#6) is somewhat interesting off the claim by Chris Englehart, but he couldn’t get to Leitone at Saratoga and his overall form is a bit more inconsistent than my top selection. However, the slight turnback to a one-turn 1 1/16 miles should help him and he figures to be a square price. Control Group (#2) obviously has back races that would make him a threat, but his recent form leaves many questions. He’s been in some top barns, but perhaps he can turn things around for Jeremiah Englehart. I’m somewhat against Zulu (#5), who has had some trips but just hasn’t run a competitive speed figure in quite a while. It was pretty bizarre that he took so much money at Saratoga last time, but he didn’t run to that support and has just generally been a disappointment for a barn that usually gets horses to deliver.
Exacta Key Box: 4 with 2,5,6,8
Trifecta: 4 with 2,6 with 2,3,5,6,8