I have no major issues with likely favorite Brew Pub (#6), who is the horse to beat in this finale. He’s run well in both dirt starts and just had the misfortune of catching the talented Work Out when losing a maiden race last month at Belmont. There probably aren’t any rivals of that quality in here and perhaps that’s enough to put him in the winner’s circle. It also helps that his primary competitors appear to be turf horses.
Ruse (#2) has run similar speed figures on turf, but he seems unlikely to make the surface switch as a son of turf influence War Dancer. Perhaps Tanners Neck Lane (#5) will fare better as a son of solid dirt route sire Laoban, but he’ll get bet off turf races. I want to go in a different direction, as I do see one lightly raced alternative to the favorite.
FULL MOON FEVER (#12) took a bit of early money in his debut before ultimately drifting up to 18-1. He was pretty sluggish away from the start and lagged at the back early before getting interested in the late stages, and then galloping out strongly past the wire, even passing the winner into the clubhouse turn. He earned a solid 73 TimeformUS Speed Figure for that performance, and he figures to improve with added ground. Effinex will probably be more of a route sire, and his dam was a stakes winner routing on dirt. Furthermore, there was a time when Tony Dutrow was very dangerous with second time starters, and he recently sent out a 7-1 winner in this situation last month.
Exacta Key Box: 12 with 2,5,6,11
Trifecta: 6,12 with 6,12 with 1,2,5,7,11