It will be interesting to see who ends up going off favored here. If it is indeed the entry, I would want to bet against them. Dark Money (#1A) will attract the bulk of support between this duo, and I’m not thrilled with his chances in this spot. While he’s put forth some visually impressive performances for Rudy Rodriguez, he’s primarily done so against weaker competition, often with very favorable setups. That was certainly the case last time when he was allowed to set a pedestrian early pace and sprint for home against some overmatched New York-bred rivals. This time he’s going to find himself chasing the very fast Ready to Escape, and potentially others, and that could compromise his chances.
I strongly prefer Blindwillie McTell (#2) among the short prices. This horse was running speed figures that would put him in the mix here as an early season 3-year-old, so it stands to reason that he should be able to do better now that he’s had additional time to mature. He didn’t want any part of two turns when last seen during the summer, so he should also appreciate the cutback. The only concern is that you have to accept a relatively short price on a horse returning from a lengthy layoff.
I want to get a little more creative, so I’m taking a shot with MORNING BREEZ (#3). I understand that this 5-year-old isn’t known as a winning type, but he often runs well and is able to get the job done when he’s placed appropriately. Robert Klesaris campaigned him as a turf sprinter through last fall and he acquitted himself nicely, but he’s been just as effective on the dirt in the past. He’s content to stalk the pace, so he should work out a good trip. Klesaris teamed up with promising apprentice Luis Cardenas to win with Awillaway at a price last Saturday and they could pull off a similar feat here.
Exacta Key Box: 3 with 1,2,4
Trifecta: 2,3 with 2,3 with ALL