Three of the runners in this field filled out the trifecta slots in that stakes-quality allowance race run at Churchill Downs in mid-May. The heavy favorite that day was last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint winner Four Wheel Drive, but he failed to show up after blowing the start. That allowed Jack and Noah (#2) to inherit an uncontested early lead, and he almost took them all the way on the front end, just cut down by Chimney Rock in the final strides.
Chimney Rock (#7) obviously brings the best credentials into this race. He’s never finished out of the exacta in five turf sprint starts and was the runner-up in last year’s Breeders’ Cup event. That 106 TimeformUS Speed Figure he earned last time was his best yet and he’ll be difficult to beat if he merely maintains that form. I prefer him to Jack and Noah, whom he defeated last time. That rival could get a bit more pace pressure this time with the speedy So Street drawn outside of him, and 6 furlongs could prove to be a test of his stamina.
The horse some trip handicappers may want out of that Churchill event is Guildsman (#4), as he was off slowly and had to alter course while rallying in the stretch. The only issue is that he always seems to break a bit slowly and it’s unclear if he’s going to get enough pace to close into this time, even if they move a bit quicker up front.
I’m using all of these runners, but I want to go in a slightly different direction with the returning TURNED ASIDE (#5). I thought Linda Rice gave this horse a really solid foundation last year, running him 5 times in a span of just 82 days. His only poor performance came in the Atlantic Beach when he was forced to chase the pace while racing off the rail on a day when the inside path was best. Yet he rebounded nicely in his juvenile finale, drawing off to beat an overmatched group with style. He’s quick away from the gate, but he doesn’t need the early lead, so he should sit a perfect stalking trip. Linda Rice doesn’t have the greatest statistics off layoffs, but she has put a stiff series of 5-furlong workouts into this horse, so he should be ready for a top effort.
Exacta Key Box: 5 with 2,4,7
Trifecta: 5 with 4,7 with ALL