Other Things Equal (#10) figures to go off as the prohibitive favorite as he drops back in for a tag. This horse earned a pair of speed figures at Belmont that would almost certainly beat this field were he to repeat them. However, he’s coming off a poor effort as the favorite last time when he faded badly against a decent starter-allowance field. While even that 94 TimeformUS Speed Figure gives him a shot here, it doesn’t justify the even-money or odds-on price he’s likely to be. He’s drawn well outside of the other speeds, and he might have a class edge over this group, but I think there are some other intriguing options to consider at far better prices.
My top pick is BEACHSIDE (#3), who makes his first start for a tag. This gelding showed some promise as a 2-year-old before going to the sidelines last winter. He returned in September at Belmont and actually ran quite well to be third behind the talented Doups Point, earning a 103 TimeformUS Speed Figure which puts him right on par with Other Things Equal.
His last race at Aqueduct was far worse, but I think it’s worth dissecting that performance. There was no speed at all in that Nov. 17 affair and Beachside is a runner who appreciates some pace to close into. Furthermore, that race was run during a time when the kickback was very detrimental to horses trying to come from off the pace, and Beachside was taking the worst of it in behind the leaders. While it’s not encouraging that he backed up to last, Junior Alvarado basically eased him from the quarter pole home, so the margin of defeat is exaggerated. He seems like a candidate to rebound here with a better setup and he should be a square price.
The other major player to consider is Bad Guy (#6) off the claim. While his career tally does not inspire confidence that he can get into the winner’s circle, Rudy Rodriguez has outstanding statistics with new acquisitions like this. I wouldn’t leave him out of the exotics.
Exacta Key Box: 3 with 6,10
Trifecta: 3,10 with 3,10 with 5,6,7,8