I liked More Graytful (#12) last time when he won at 5-1 and earned a fast speed figure to beat the talented Tale of the Union. He’s the horse to beat here even as he steps up in class, and while I respect his current form, I’m not thrilled with the prospect of taking a much shorter price on him. It’s possible that he’s simply improving at the end of his 3-year-old season, but his prior form doesn’t exactly make him a standout in this field, and he’s facing a tougher group with much more pace signed on.
Foolish Ghost (#2) beat him when they met on Oct. 3 and I don’t see why that horse isn’t a real threat once again. Foolish Ghost is the quintessential “speed of the speeds,” so he figures to be in front of these early. The real question is whether he can hang on going 6 1/2 furlongs against a field of this quality. I’m using him, but I want to look for a bit more value given the wide open nature of this field.
My top pick is BUSTIN SHOUT (#13), who switches back to dirt after just missing when racing for an optional claiming tag against New York-breds in his most recent start. While his Beyers suggest that turf may be his preferred surface, he earned a 113 TimeformUS Speed Figure for that October 16 off-the-turf victory, and that number has held up as horses have run back out of that race. Furthermore, he ran well within the context of that race, surviving an early duel before drawing off. It appears to me that Bustin Shout is simply in the best form of his career right now, and I like that he’s drawn outside of the other speeds in this field. The distance is a slight concern for him as well, but at least he’s going to be a square price.
Exacta Key Box: 13 with 2,3,9,12
Trifecta: 13 with 2,12 with 1,2,3,9,11,12