Likely favorite South Africa (#2) will attempt to achieve the rare feat of graduating right through all of his NY-bred conditions with three consecutive victories. This improving 3-year-old colt is versatile and consistent, running effectively on the front end and from just off the pace, as he did when winning his N1X condition last time. He benefited from his outside post that day, as he was able to gradually advance into the race in the clear, and now he could be under the gun from his inside draw with other speed drawn outside. However, he has more upside than most in this field, and was flattered when the horse he outdueled last time, Jerry the Nipper, returned to win impressive on Thursday.
Given the amount of speed signed on, I think POWER UP PAYNTER (#3) could work out the right trip. This horse is a bit of an enigma, as he’ll pop big speed figures from time to time, but doesn’t always run back to them. That said, he appears to have achieved a new level of consistency recently, as he’s run quite well in each of his last two starts. He closed resolutely to finish second behind the in-form Bustin Shout in that Oct. 16 off-the-turf race, which is proving to be a strong race. The 108 TimeformUS Speed Figure he earned for that performance holds up and makes him tough here. He wasn’t quite as effective last time, but he was facing a couple of tough rivals and didn’t get nearly as much pace to close into. If he maintains his current form and the pace develops as expected, I think he’s major win threat.
I would also use some others out of that aforementioned Oct. 16 allowance, as Scilly Cay (#5) may have needed that start and third-place finisher Call Me Harry (#7) may have more dirt ability than it appears.
Exacta Key Box: 3 with 2,5,7,8
Trifecta: 3 with 2,5 with 2,4,5,7,8