This is a highly competitive affair in which you can make a valid case for just about all of the runners in this field. Yet there are some questions to be answered by the two horses likely to attract the most support. That’s especially true of Instagrand (#7), whose form has seemingly left him so far since returning as a 4-year-old. There’s no denying that he once possessed great ability, but it’s been a rocky road over the past year or so and he just wasn’t performing at his optimal level for Don Chatlos. Now he lands in the barn of Chad Brown, and perhaps that will make a difference. Yet you have to wonder what kind of trip he’s going to work out in a race with so much speed.
That’s also a concern for his main rival Amundson (#4). This New York-bred does his best work on or near the lead, and it’s hard to envision him securing the front end with horses like Tribecca (#5) and Ready to Escape (#8) in the field. Based on raw ability, Amundson is arguably the best horse in this race, but Jorge Vargas will have to walk a fine line if he’s to get him to the winner’s circle this time.
I think this is a spot where we can get a bit more creative, so I want to take a shot with THE RIGHT PATH (#6) at a bigger price. He’s spent the majority of his career contesting dirt routes, but I actually like him turning back in distance. He was so impressive to start off his career in a 6-furlong maiden event at Aqueduct as a 2-year-old, beating the Carter favorite Performer that day. And from there on out they just continually kept trying to make him go longer distances. He needs to run a career-best speed figure to beat this field, but he’s making his first start as a 4-year-old and the Jorge Duarte barn has been off to a hot start so far at Belmont Park. I think he’ll be charging late at a price.
Exacta Key Box: 6 with 2,4,5,7
Trifecta: 6 with 4,5,7 with ALL