Cruising Strong (#3) is likely to be the choice of many due to her upward-trending speed figures and general consistency. She’s stepping out of New York-bred company for the first time, but those state-bred maiden claimers can often draw tougher fields than their open counterparts, so I don’t view that as a major negative. She will be around at the finish here with a similar effort to her maiden score, but it’s not as if she has much, if any, margin for error. I’d use her, but she seems like a strong candidate to be an underlay.
I slightly prefer main rival Bodes Sunset (#6). If this filly merely repeats the 82 TimeformUS Speed Figure that she earned in her debut, she’s going to be a handful. Both the runner-up and third-place finisher validated the form but returning to earn similar figures in their subsequent starts. However, that performance was achieved around two turns at Charles Town and she hasn’t been seen in 76 days since then. This barn isn’t known for success with youngsters, but she drew a great post and seems to be spotted realistically.
My top pick is the turnback TIZ EPIC (#1). Her first start off the claim for Linda Rice was a disaster, but she had some things working against her that day. She was asked to face males while stretching out to a route distance over a surface she had never encountered before. She faded abruptly as if she was going to be eased on the turn before coming on again mildly in the lane. Rice’s barn has been firing on all cylinders lately and she is 7 for 15 (47%, $5.26 ROI) when adding blinkers going from a route to sprint on the dirt over 5 years. This filly seemed more comfortable with sprint distances in her first two starts and should appreciate the turnback.
Exacta Key Box: 1 with 2,3,6
Trifecta: 1 with 3,6 with ALL