This is a fascinating N1X allowance event, as you have horses coming in from a multitude of directions. The potential favorite is Lil Commissioner (#4), who steps up for trainer Rob Atras after easily defeating a $20,000 claiming field at Belmont. He was scratched out of a claiming race last weekend (notably won with ease by his stablemate Musical Heart) to instead target this more ambitious spot. I take that as a sign of confidence for a barn that seems to finally be hitting its stride at this meet. I am a little concerned about the 9-furlong distance for him, but I would be hesitant to leave him out.
Many of the other major players are 3-year-olds.
Liveyourbeastlife (#3) put in a breakout performance when last seen at Belmont behind the promising Creed. While he did run well to be third after setting a fast pace, the horse who he was dueling with, Mister Winston, returned to do poorly, casting some doubt on the overall quality of that field.
I prefer CANDY TYCOON (#7). This horse gets needed class relief after facing tougher rivals in the Peter Pan last time. He lost all chance at the start that day, stumbling and getting squeezed back to last. I’m willing to draw a line through that effort, and I think he has an excellent chance to rebound here. A repeat of his runner-up finish behind Rushie at Oaklawn would probably be good enough to handle this field. Plus the Todd Pletcher barn has been sending out nothing but live runners at this meet.
I would also throw Hunt the Front (#6) into my exotics. This colt was overmatched in the Blue Grass, but had shown some promise prior to that and should want every bit of the 9-furlong distance.
Exacta Key Box: 7 with 3,4,6,8
Trifecta: 7 with 4,6 with 3,4,5,6,8