Who’s in Charge (#4) figures to go favored here as he seeks his third victory in four career starts. His last victory was a fairly easy one in solid time, so it makes sense that he’d garner support once again even as he moves up the class ladder. On the other hand, there are some questions hanging around this colt. He’s not one that has ever been able to put starts back-to-back, requiring significant layoffs between each start. Furthermore, it appears likely that he’s going to be an underlay in this spot. In addition to his attractive and compact career tally, he goes out for the dangerous Danny Gargan barn with leading rider Irad Ortiz in the irons. Ortiz was incredibly hot over the first week at Belmont so he’s going to bring more support in this runner’s direction than is really warranted. There are some worthy rivals in this race who figure to offer better value.
One of those is Blacktop Legend (#7). At first glance, he looks like a perfect fit for this race, having found N1X company a bit too tough last time. However, he’s built his reputation on a fast starter allowance score two back which looks a little suspect in retrospect. Both horses who finished directly behind him that day returned to regress in their subsequent starts, and Blacktop Legend himself reverted to his prior form when he returned in February.
I prefer another runner coming off an Aqueduct layoff. STAGE LEFT (#6) made one start in New York over the winter, just missing in a starter allowance in January. He probably should have won that day, as he got sandwiched between horses in midstretch and lost momentum before rallying again to lose by a nose. This horse has never done anything particularly flashy, but he almost always shows up with a good effort. Even his off-the-board finish at Churchill Downs two back is a lot better than it looks given his poor start and the demanding distance of that race. He has the tactical speed to work out a good trip here and he’s realistically spotted off the layoff.
Exacta Key Box: 6 with 3,4,7
Trifecta: 6 with 3,4,7 with 1,3,4,7,8