This is another race in which competition runs deep. Horses like Portos (#4) and Vintage Print (#3) figure to attract plenty of support. The former is a goofy Tapit colt for Todd Pletcher who has an experience edge over this field, having already negotiated this two-turn configuration twice before. He clearly has ability, but he’s been fairly green in both starts.
Vintage Print, a $1.8 million Chad Brown trainee, obviously needed his debut when closing belatedly going a mile at Belmont. He’s trained well in blinkers since that start and figures to move forward.
Yet the one who intrigues me most from that Oct. 5 heat is TAPAGE (#5). This son of Grade 1 winner Hystericalady has trained better in the morning than he’s run in the afternoon so far, but that could change in this spot. He took a big step forward in that second start and actually ran better than his fourth-place result would indicate. He didn’t get off to the best start and then was forced to make a premature move into contention on the backstretch. Put into an awkward position, he had to continue advancing wide on the turn and then raced greenly through upper stretch on his wrong lead. He actually finished decently when he finally switched over. I don’t mind this stretch-out to nine furlongs and I think we’re going to see a more professional effort. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s getting a rider switch to Joel Rosario, who has been riding as well as anyone on this circuit recently.
I also wouldn’t dismiss Mischief Afoot (#2) out of that same race, since he beat the aforementioned runner last time. However, it’s unclear if the added distance will help him.
Exacta Key Box: 5 with 2,3,4,6
Trifecta: 5 with 2,3,4 with 2,3,4,6,8