You have to admire Mind Control (#4). This 4-year-old just loves to win races and seems to step up to the plate when it matters most. Yet he’s been most effective going seven furlongs and now he has to turn back to the shortest distance he’s attempted since he won his maiden as a 2-year-old. I don’t doubt that he has the speed to handle it, but I do wonder what kind of trip he’s going to work out. It can’t be as advantageous as the one he got last time when he was tracking a slow pace and held off the closers.
I still prefer him to the other short price, Happy Farm (#5). This gelding has improved for Jason Servis, but he had all the best of it setting a slow pace last time. While he did give his talented stablemate Firenze Fire all that he could handle, I think this is a more difficult situation for him.
I want to look elsewhere for my top selection and I think we can get some value with BON RAISON (#6). This horse has to be the most active runner on the NYRA circuit, coming off a season in which he made 21 starts. His critics will say that he’s inconsistent, but he has run races in the past that would make him a major player here. Now, he’s making his first start off the claim for the hot Michael Tannuzzo barn, and they’re immediately stepping up into an ambitious spot. They also have given him 36 days off since his last race. You have to go back 22 starts in his past performances to find the last time he’s been off for as long as that, and he immediately ran a 125 TimeformUS Speed Figure following that “layoff.” His best efforts make him good enough to beat Mind Control, and we saw his best last summer in the Tale of the Cat, which was also contested over this distance. I think he’s truly a closing sprinter and he figures to get an honest pace to close into.
Exacta Key Box: 6 with 4,5,8
Trifecta: 4,6 with 4,6 with ALL