Creed (#7) figures to be a heavy favorite as he attempts to follow up his impressive maiden triumph with another victory against winners. Unlike the other contenders coming off maiden wins, he’s already proven that he handles this distance, having drawn off impressively going this trip back on June 11, earning a formidable 112 TimeformUS Speed Figure. That type of speed figure is good enough to win most N1X allowance events, and none of his rivals have come close to achieving that kind of figure in their prior starts. The one caveat is that he achieved that victory over a sloppy track with a great trip, sitting off a quartet of embattled leaders before striking on the far turn. He may not get as much pace to close into this time, but there’s no denying that this promising son of Honor Code may possess real talent and have stakes in his future. I’m not against him, but I do think there’s a possibility that he could get overbet in this spot, and I’m somewhat intrigued by one of his rivals.
LIFE CHANGER (#2) was a surprise winner of his debut at 12-1 odds back on June 6, showing early speed from his inside post position before gamely fending off the heavy favorite Dreams of Tomorrow in the last quarter-mile. He will have to improve on his 102 TimeformUS Speed Figure to upset Creed, but I liked what I saw from this runner in that appearance. He showed plenty of professionalism and determination as he dug in to turn away that late challenge, never letting Dreams of Tomorrow past him even on the gallop-out. He shouldn’t have any major issues with the added distance, given that he’s a son of Preakness winner Oxbow. Furthermore, the TimeformUS Pace Projector is predicting that he should be all alone on the front end this time, as his Early Pace Rating is some 21 points higher than the next-best rating in the field. If jockey Joel Rosario can nurse him along up front and get him to show that same grit in the stretch, I think he could prove to be a worthy rival for Creed.
The other two major players are Mister Winston (#3) and Edge of Fire (#4). The former made a determined rally from off the pace to win his debut but I think he needs to improve to beat this field. Edge of Fire ran very well in his second start, but I was disappointed in his last outing against a slightly weaker group.
Exacta Key Box: 2 with 3,4,7
Trifecta: 2,7 with 2,7 with 1,3,4,8