If this race stays on the turf, the two horses with best turf experience figure to attract support. Master of the Ring (#10) ran fairly well in his first start at Keeneland, overcoming a wide draw to close for fourth. Notably, his connections entered him in the Awad after that, but he was excluded on the also-eligible list, so they obviously think highly of him. He’ll instead go in this maiden special weight event, and he figures to be tough with any kind of step forward. I slightly prefer him to Jimmy P, who was closing belatedly in his Saratoga debut, but then disappointed at Monmouth last time in a minor stakes. I think there are others to consider, including a few runners trying the turf for the first time.
Chad Brown’s entrant Risk Taking (#1) would be intriguing on either dirt or turf. He finished far back in his debut, but he ran like a horse who needed the race, as he lagged at the back of the pack early, but galloped out strongly after the wire. He has plenty of turf pedigree on his dam’s side.
My top pick is ORIGINAL (#4). This John Terranova trainee looked like a turf horse in that OBS Sales breeze in June, so it was a little surprising to see him entered on dirt first time out. He didn’t run well in that debut, but he took some money that day after showing some promise in his training. I just think he’s getting on the right surface this time. Quality Road is a decent turf influence, and his unraced dam is a half-sister to G2 Manhattan winner Academy Award and G3 Nijana winner Statuette.
Exacta Key Box: 4 with 1,6,10,12