I don’t have major knocks against the favorites in this race. My Boy Tate (#3) made a successful return from a 13-month layoff last time to get the job done over a couple of today’s rivals. A repeat of that effort may put him in the winner’s circle again, but he’s going to be a shorter price this time and you can argue that some of those who he’ll be facing have improved in the interim.
That certainly seems to be true of T Loves a Fight (#5), who ran what was arguably the best race of his tumultuous career last time when finishing third in the Gravesend. He probably would have finished closer at the end had Dylan Davis been able to get him off the rail a bit sooner in the stretch. This 6-year-old handles the 7- furlong distance without issue and seems adaptable to almost any pace scenario. I view him as a serious rival to My Boy Tate, and he’s going to be a better price.
I’d also consider The Caretaker (#7), who is attempting to come right back with another huge effort just 13 days after winning an allowance race here at the same distance. He was very impressive that day, but he’s not going to get much pace to close into here and it remains to be seen if he can duplicate that form against tougher company.
The Pace Projector is predicting a situation favoring horses on or near the lead, and that figures to make my top pick ARTHUR’S HOPE (#6) difficult to pass. He’s just the only confirmed front-runner in this field and he’s also a horse who has historically done best when able to attain a forward position. He did that two back against My Boy Tate, but found himself contesting a fast pace that fell apart. Then last time he was simply outrun in the early going. Prior to returning from the layoff, he had earned some of the fastest TimeformUS Speed Figure in this field, and I think he might be able to get back to that form with a favorable trip.
Exacta Key Box: 6 with 1,3,5,7
Trifecta: 6 with 3,5,7 with 1,2,3,5,7