The horse to beat is probably C C Rider (#9), who has simply faced tougher company in most of his turf starts. He earned a series of speed figures last summer that would make him pretty tough to beat were he to repeat any of them here. The problem is that he’s never won on turf, and he failed to get involved in either of his starts on the NYRA circuit last year. I haven’t been that impressed by this horse’s finishing ability, and I’d rather go elsewhere if he’s a short price.
I prefer another – ANOTHER (#5), the horse, that is.
At first glance his 2019 form looks pretty spotty. He went the wrong way for Bill Mott and has struggled to break through while dropping back into claiming company for the new connections. Yet there are significant excuses to be made for him. He had no chance in that salty November 9 allowance at Aqueduct last year when chasing the pace while racing wide. He dropped down to this level to conclude his 2019 campaign, and he clearly should have won that day. Javier Castellano got him trapped in behind horses at the quarter pole and he just couldn’t extract him from that predicament until it was too late. Another then made one start over the winter at Gulfstream, and he was again the victim of a troubled trip. His journey to the top of the stretch was relatively smooth, but horses fanned out across the track for the drive to the wire and Tyler Gaffalione was forced to steady him in heavy traffic for most of the last furlong. Now he’s back in the care of Mertkan Kantarmaci and he’s realistically placed for this return to the NYRA circuit. If Jose Lezcano can work out a fair trip for him this time, he’s going to be difficult for this field to beat.
I could also use a horse like War Film (#3). He would be a real threat to win here based on his May 24 effort at Churchill, and he was compromised by a slow pace last time. I’m not particularly interested in the horses exiting the $50,000 claimer at Belmont on June 14, though I could use Riendo (#8) underneath at a big price.
Exacta: 5 with 3,4,6,8,9
Trifecta: 5 with 3,9 with 3,4,6,7,8,9