It’s difficult to predict how the public will approach this wide-open conditioned claiming event, which features horses converging from a variety of class levels. In some ways, the horse to beat might be Tiz Morning (#9), since he’s earned the fastest speed figures on dirt. He was claimed away from some low-profile connections by Tom Morley, who has been enjoying a strong Aqueduct winter meet. However, this barn doesn’t have the strongest statistics off the claim and it is a little curious that they’re not moving him up in class given his background.
Bebe Banker (#3) should appreciate the class relief as he drops out of New York-bred allowance company. He was overmatched in some recent spots, but he should have shown more last time when he had nothing left for the final furlong against a weaker group for the level.
I want to look for a horse coming from a different direction, and OUR LAST BUCK (#8) fits the bill. He’s stretching out on dirt for the first time, but there are some reasons to believe he’ll handle it. He was initially targeted at a one-mile race on turf in his career debut before they shortened him up. That shouldn’t have been surprising since he is bred to route, as a son of Courageous Cat out of a dam-side family that has produced primarily dirt and turf routers. His form looks spotty, but he has subtly improved since the trainer switch to Michelle Nevin. He ran a sneaky race two back when he lost interest coming to the quarter pole before regaining his momentum in the stretch. Then last time he stayed on gamely to lose by less than a length despite having to close up the inside on a day when that probably wasn’t the place to be. Furthermore, his tactical speed should play well in a race that lacks much pace.
Exacta Key Box: 8 with 2,3,7,9
Trifecta: 8 with 3,9 with 2,3,7,9