This intriguing optional claimer features a fascinating, if somewhat random, conglomeration of once-promising runners. That group is led by Identity Politics (#10), the runner-up in the 2018 Grade 1 Malibu. This 5-year-old has struggled with inconsistency ever since that career-best performance, only entering the winner’s circle once last year. Yet his last effort suggests that he may be getting things back on track, as he closed strongly into a moderate pace to get up for second behind the classy Joevia. He’s the horse to beat, but I still don’t fully trust him to get the job done at what figures to be a short price after scratches.
Any time you see the speedy Chateau (#3) in the entries, the pace needs to be discussed. This Jason Servis trainee is a quasi-quarter horse – perhaps the fastest runner on the grounds over a half-mile. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the Pace Projector is predicting a fast pace. Yet pace competition is not the issue for a run-off like Chateau. Rather, the distance will be his greatest hurdle, since 6 1/2 furlongs should test his stamina. Given his presence, I would prefer to look for a late runner.
In addition to Identity Politics, closers like Voticity (#5) and Hoffenheim (#8) are also late movers to consider, but I’m most intrigued by the returning Legit.
LEGIT (#6) hasn’t been seen in nearly 22 months, and his connections have selected a pretty ambitious spot in which to return. However, this son of Curlin did show a great deal of ability back in 2018, impressively winning a pair of route starts. Those efforts and his pedigree both suggest that he will ultimately want to go farther than this. Yet he figures to get a great pace setup here and Todd Pletcher has outstanding statistics in this situation. Over the past 5 years, he is 6 for 9 (67%, $5.26 ROI) off layoffs of one year or more with horses going from routes to sprints on dirt.
Exacta Key Box: 6 with 3,5,8,10
Trifecta: 6,10 with 6,10 with 2,3,5,8