Honor Up (#1) looked like he might be turning into one of the best New York-breds in the country last winter after gamely winning a couple of stakes and finishing third in the Grade 1 Carter. However, he failed to show up with a top effort in the Commentator in May and now hasn’t been seen in seven months. If he returns in top form, he’s going to be difficult for this field to handle, but you have to be a little concerned about taking him at a short price. While he’s won sprinting before, he’s never won going this short, and Michelle Nevin does not have the strongest statistics off layoffs like this. I’m using him defensively, but there are others to consider.
The Pace Projector is predicting a fast pace and that seems very likely to be accurate given the presence of speeds like Tribecca (#8) and Dugout (#5). Tribecca is somewhat intriguing as he ships in from Finger Lakes having really improved in recent months for Chris Englehart. While I’m usually skeptical of horses coming in from Finger Lakes with superior speed figures, this guy has prior numbers at NYRA that would make him a player here. It’s just the pace scenario that might work against him.
Given the likelihood of a fast early tempo, I’m taking a shot with deep closer Celtic Chaos. It might appear that this 6-year-old has gone off form in his old age, but I think he’s had legitimate excuses for each of his last two performances. He was steadied on the turn in the Hudson when forced to rate behind a slow pace and was really never in a position to be competitive that day. Then last time he was asked to go a distance that is too far and was again caught behind some excruciatingly slow early fractions. (Note all of the blue color-coded pace figures in TimeformUS PPs.) He was running speed figures that would make him tough here as recently as the summer and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him get back to that form.
Exacta Key Box: 3 with 1,4,5,8
Trifecta: 3 with 1,8 with 1,4,5,7,8