Two of the main players here are exiting the Hudson on Empire Showcase day at Belmont. Gold for the King (#4) was a short price that day and figures to be favored here despite disappointing in that spot. While he finished behind today’s rival T Loves a Fight last time, I actually thought Gold for the King ran the better race and deserves to be the favorite this time around. Gold for the King typically runs his best races when he can be forwardly placed, so everything went wrong for him last time. He didn’t break that sharply and found himself towards the back of the pack early. Joel Rosario tried to get him to advance on the turn but he was racing in traffic and had to steady at a few key points before getting sent to the rail in the stretch. All things considered, he did well to be fourth despite never really being in a great position.
T Loves a Fight (#6), on the other hand, got a great trip in the Hudson, stalking a slow pace that mostly held together. He just got a little tired in the late stages, likely proving that he’s not quite at the level required to win a race like this despite having improved a great deal since the start of the year.
I’m going in a different direction with ARTHUR’S HOPE (#7). This horse returns from a layoff after something apparently went wrong when he finished last in the Hockessin at Delaware last time. That was a pretty tough field, but he didn’t show up at all. His prior start, however, was one of his best, as he earned an impressive 119 TimeformUS Speed Figure while destroying a good field at Parx. When this horse is right, he’s capable of putting forth efforts that are just as good as what Gold for the King can produce. He’s run well at Aqueduct before and he can get seven furlongs. Given the overall lack of pace in this race, his tactical speed should play quite well.
Exacta Key Box: 7 with 3,4,6
Trifecta: 7 with 4,6 with 1,3,4,5,6