Graded On a Curve (#8) is obviously the horse to beat following a pair of strong efforts to kick off his 4-year-old season. After impressively breaking through his N1X condition off the layoff, he finished a strong second at this level at Saratoga, only losing to subsequent stakes winner Rinaldi while well clear of the rest of the field. A repeat of that performance will make him difficult for this field to beat, but he is facing some legitimate rivals.
Rapt (#3) has run a number of races during the past year that put him in the same league as Graded On a Curve, but he just doesn’t win very often. Klickitat (#10) showed improved form at Saratoga and has the speed to be prominent throughout, though he’s getting a major class test.
I could use both of those, but I think the best alternative to the favorite is THE J Y (#2).
This Mark Hennig trainee appeared to return in top form in June. While he only managed to finish fourth that day, he was unwisely rated behind a slow pace and locked in behind horses for much of the stretch drive. After that, he was just in too tough against Grade 2 winner Cross Border in the Lubash, fading after chasing the pace. This is a more suitable spot for him, and he figures to get a favorable stalking trip over his preferred Widener turf course, where he has achieved all three of his career turf victories. Furthermore, he handles some give in the ground, and there was rain in the forecast earlier in the week.
Exacta Key Box: 2 with 3,8,10
Trifecta: 2,8 with 2,8 with 3,7,10