Supreme Aura (#6) looked like a winner at the eighth pole going this distance last time, but he was passed late on the rail by the resolute Krewe Chief (#1) in the closing strides. It was good to see him get back into top form off the claim for Rudy Rodriguez last time and he’s facing a field of similar quality here. The 9-furlong distance has to be a slight concern after it got to him in the final strides that day. Nevertheless, he projects to work out a good trip and is the horse to beat.
Perhaps the return to dirt was just what Krewe Chief needed last time, as she showed a renewed vigor, rallying from last to win despite having to dive down to the rail in the stretch. Yet you got 10-1 if you had him that day and he’s going to be a much shorter price this time. On the positive side, Kantarmaci is a solid 5 for 18 (28%, $2.57 ROI) second off the claim with last-out winners on dirt over 5 years, and three of those winners came at NYRA. He will be tough if he maintains his form, though back-to-back victories may be asking a lot of a gelding who is 4 for 36.
I’m trying to beat this pair with HEAVY ROLLER (#7). He’s making his first start for Rob Atras, who claimed him back for $62,500 after losing him for just $32,000 two back. While he didn’t run well last time, the fact that he was taken out of that race is a vote of confidence from these connections. This time he’s wearing the silks of Michael Dubb, who is one of the top claiming owners on the circuit. Closers never really got involved in that optional claiming race won by Complexity, so I’m not going to hold the effort against him. Prior to that he had earned speed figures that would make him tough against this group, and he has handled route distances in the past so this stretch-out shouldn’t be a major issue.
Exacta Key Box: 7 with 1,3,4,6
Trifecta: 7 with 1,6 with 1,3,4,6