There are many contenders to consider in this spot, and they’re exiting two key races. Ava Malone (#9) may go favored after getting the better of In Front and Coilean Bawn at Belmont last time. Some things went right for her as the race was falling apart late, but she nevertheless ran an improved race and will be tough here if she continues her forward progression.
However, the horse that is perhaps most intriguing out of that spot is Coilean Bawn (#8), since she did have some trouble in the stretch. She had worked out a good trip up until the quarter pole, at which point she got locked inside behind a tiring In Front (#2) and never was fully clear to unleash a rally in the lane. She’s generally been better going longer distances than this, but her last race is a bit better than it seems.
Ocean Fire (#4) exits a different race, the second on Nov. 9, in which she chased eventual winner Balon Rose around the track and hung on for second. She’s now run well in two consecutive turf starts and she has the tactical speed to work out a good trip here. However, she also was with the track last time and there’s another filly coming out of that race who may have run just as well.
TAKE TEN (#1A) did not get the right trip last time, as she broke towards the back of the pack and was never really on the rail while rating well off the pace. The early fractions were quite slow, and the race was dominated on the front end. Therefore, she did quite well to rally for fourth despite having to swing extremely wide for the stretch drive. Horses were routinely having trouble making up ground in the center of the track that week, so she deserves additional credit for her performance. She had shown some quality as a younger horse, and she has a right to improve now second off the layoff.
Exacta Key Box: 1 with 2,4,8,9
Trifecta: 1 with 8,9 with 2,4,7,8,9