Rudy Rodriguez holds a strong hand in this race, sending out impressive recent claiming winner Kumar as well as the improved Traveling. Kumar (#4) will beat this field if he runs back to his last TimeformUS Speed Figure of 112, but I think there is reason to be skeptical about his chances to replicate that effort. He got to control the pace going a one-turn mile last time, and now he has to stretch out to two turns in a race that features other speed types. The Pace Projector is predicting that he will have to rate off of Super Silver (#2) and Traveling (#6), and he hasn’t been quite as effective from off the pace.
That pacesetting duo make plenty of sense as contenders in this spot. Super Silver has had many chances to break through this level and tends to settle for minor awards, but he keeps earning speed figures that suggest he’s good enough to win. Traveling has come alive for Rudy Rodriguez going a one-turn mile, but he’s been successful going two turns in the past.
I’m using all of these, but my top pick is DANNY CALIFORNIA (#3). He obviously needs to rebound after finishing nine lengths behind Traveling when they last met at this level. However, Danny California may have been a bit too close to the pace that day. He was traveling well in the bridle early, but he never was able to make that long sustained run that he produces when ridden as a closer. He stayed on well to close for second going this distance two back when he ran by Super Silver, who got a perfect trip, in the late stages. A repeat of that performance, or even his prior effort against Joe’s Smokin Gun, would make him really tough for this field to handle.
Exacta Key Box: 3 with 2,4,6
Trifecta: 3 with 2,6 with 2,4,5,6