Bill Mott holds a very strong hand in this race, sending out two major players, including Modernist, who is likely to go postward as the odds-on choice. This promising colt really appreciated the stretch-out in distance last time, closing with determination through the lane to finish behind a pair of talented rivals. Three horses have returned to win out of that race, so it was a strong affair. Modernist (#1) now has to get the 1 1/8 miles, but his dam is a half-sister to Grade 1-winning routers Life Is Sweet and Sweet Catomine, so the pedigree is there to stretch out further. I have no major knocks against him, other than the fact that he’s going to be an awfully short price.
Bill Mott has another contender in this race and I wouldn’t dismiss him lightly. DISTORTED SKY (#5) is a trickier read than Modernist, having never started on dirt. It’s no surprise that they placed him on turf first time out, since he’s a half-brother to multiple foreign-trained winners, topped by French and Italian Group 1 winner Laverock. Distorted Sky came charging from the back of the pack with a strong finish in his debut in a race that didn’t favor closers. As a June foal, he’s likely to keep improving with maturity as he catches up to his peers. The switch to dirt seems curious at first glance, but he is a son of dirt sire Distorted Humor and we saw Mott make this same turf-to-dirt move with impressive maiden winner Harvey’s Lil Goil late last year. There are obviously plenty of turf spots down at Gulfstream where this horse would have been quite formidable, so it seems meaningful that he’s still here getting a shot on dirt.
Exacta: 5 with 1,4
Trifecta: 5 with 1 with 2,3,4