This Fort Marcy is absolutely wide open. Chad Brown has four runners, but they’re not exactly standouts in a field where you can make a case for all nine contestants. Instilled Regard (#5) may go off as the slight favorite despite disappointing when last seen in the Muniz Memorial at Fair Grounds. He was just dull that day, but he wasn’t helped by the fact that he was never on the rail on a day when the rails were set at 0 feet. He did get great trips in his starts prior to that, but he had also been in strong form and merits consideration here.
Synchrony (#6) nailed him on the wire for fifth in that Muniz, but he was compromised by being too far back in the early going. He had run exceptionally well in his prior start when second in the Fair Grounds Stakes, showing that he’s still capable of producing top efforts at age seven. The lack of speed in this field could work against him, but he’s clearly good enough to win on his best day.
I could make a case for many others, but my top pick is SOCIAL PARANOIA (#8). This horse got a great setup when he won the Appleton two back, rallying from last into a fast pace to get the job done. Things didn’t work out so well last time in the Sunshine Forever when he was too far back behind a moderate pace set by his stablemate Halladay. I thought Social Paranoia closed willingly in the late stages despite that disadvantage. Now he’s stretching back out to 1 1/8 miles, and he’s handled longer distances before. Furthermore, Manny Franco is getting back aboard, and he had been much more aggressive than this colt’s recent riders when he rode him last year. Reverting to those stalking tactics should serve him well in this spot, as he can get the jump on his main rivals in a race that lacks a confirmed front-runner.
Exacta Key Box: 8 with 2,4,5,6
Trifecta: 8 with 5,6 with ALL