There are approximately four main contenders in this intriguing N1X allowance for the New York-breds.
Quickflash (#5) and Big Thicket (#7) exit the same race at this level on July 5. Big Thicket edged out Quickflash for second that day, but Quickflash appeared to run the better race. Quickflash was off in a tangle and squeezed back at the start, forcing him to make a run from farther off the pace than he would have preferred. He reached contention at the eighth pole but was turned away by a talented horse who worked out a perfect trip. Big Thicket just picked up pieces for second and returned with a lackluster effort over this track 12 days later. I’ll use Quickflash, but there are a couple of lightly raced runners drawn down towards the rail who merit respect.
One of those is Golani Brigade (#1), who returns from a lengthy layoff from Chad Brown. He was visually impressive in breaking his maiden going this distance 13 months ago and he appears to be training well for his return. Yet it’s hard to know exactly what we’re going to get from a horse who has been off for so long, and he figures to attract support due to the connections.
My top pick is BLACKJACK DAVEY (#2). This gelding broke his maiden at Belmont going 1 1/16 miles, displaying an impressive turn of foot at the head of the stretch. Linda Rice understandably stretched him out to 1 1/8 miles in his first start against winners, but Blackjack Davey didn’t appear to relish that more demanding route distance around two turns. He’s bred to be a sprinter, and I think he’s ultimately going to prove best as a one-turn horse. Furthermore, over the past 5 years Linda Rice is 6 for 15 (40%, $4.64 ROI) with horses turning back from routes to sprints on dirt while adding blinkers.
Exacta: 2 with 1,5,7
Trifecta: 2 with 1,5 with 1,3,5,7