The two main players in this race exit a similar race at this level at Belmont on October 20. Other Things Equal (#3) figures to be the favorite after finishing second in that spot and he’s clearly a player once again. However, he was no match for winner Allured that day and I don’t believe that he actually ran a better race than the third-place finisher Super Silver (#6).
That Bruce Levine trainee is one who interests me in this affair. He hasn’t gotten ideal trips in either of his last two starts. On September 21, he got pushed in at the start and was forced to rate towards the back of the pack. While he never launched a rally, he also never really had a chance to make an impact while buried in traffic for much of the latter half of the race. Then, again last time, he had trouble at the start, getting squeezed out of position and putting him at the back of the pack. However, in that outing, he actually launched a fairly effective outside rally, challenging for the lead at the quarter pole after racing extremely wide around the far turn. A repeat of that performance would make him a serious threat here, but he needs to break cleanly this time.
My top selection is KUMAR (#5). This colt is an interesting prospect to consider. At first glance, he looks like a turf horse, since he earned vastly improved speed figures in his last two starts, his only ones on that surface. However, those were also his two starts following a long layoff, during which time he probably matured a great deal. His prior dirt efforts weren’t bad, and he actually earned a respectable 91 TimeformUS Speed Figure going this distance on dirt in March of this year, when he had only just turned 3 years-old. He doesn’t strike me as being a one-dimensional turf runner and his pedigree suggests that dirt is still a perfectly viable option. The fact that Rudy Rodriguez is moving him back to this surface while rising in class is a sign of confidence, and this barn’s runners have been firing lately. Furthermore, his tactical speed should play well in this field, especially considering the way the dirt surface has been playing.
Exacta Key Box: 5 with 3,6,8
Trifecta: 5,6 with 5,6 with 2,3,7,8