Three of the five entrants in this Knickerbocker are exiting the Lure at Saratoga, where these horses were the last three across the wire in another five-horse field. I prefer Breaking the Rules (#5) out of that race, as he was the beaten favorite that day. It’s hard to find a trip-based excuse for his performance. He just had no answer in the stretch after stalking the pace. However, Shug McGaughey seems to think that he wasn’t himself that day and can rebound. I’m open to the possibility, but I’m not sure that I want to bet him as the favorite.
Chad Brown’s duo of Olympico (#1) and Devamani (#3) are also difficult to take out of that race. The former is still trying to get back to his impressive win first time out in this country, and perhaps give in the ground will help him. However, neither one of these runners has any early speed, so they could be up against it from a pace standpoint.
That’s why I’ve landed on EN WYE CEE (#4). He’s likely to find himself on the lead in a paceless situation, and that’s just a significant advantage going 9 furlongs on the inner turf course, especially when the turf is less-than-firm. He lost his lone turf start up at Saratoga, but he was arguably best that day when closing into a moderate pace after getting spun wide in upper stretch. Notably, the other horse to close effectively in that race, Spirit Animal, returned to win next time out. En Wye Cee himself followed that up with an impressive victory in an off-the-turf race, earning a career-best 119 TimeformUS Speed Figure. He just appears to be in excellent form now as a 4-year-old and I don’t think surface really matters for him.
Exacta: 4 with 1,2,3,5
Trifecta: 4,5 with 4,5 with 1,2,3