Montauk Daddy (#2) is a logical favorite in this spot as he makes his first start off the claim for Rob Atras. This barn has strong statistics with this move and the horse appears to have a class edge over this field. While he’s primarily raced on turf during his career, his two prior dirt starts were both pretty strong. He ran very well in his career debut in the slop as a 2-year-old, and he arguably ran a winning race on Aug. 22 at Saratoga when closing ground after a poor start. And that’s the only real concern for him here. He is a horse who sometimes has trouble breaking alertly, and a poor start could really compromise his chances, especially in a race that features so much early speed drawn to his outside. I’m using him, but I prefer another on top.
COOLBOY (#7) has long been a favorite of mine, even when he was racing for his prior low-percentage trainer. He appeared to be a clever claim by Chris Englehart two back, and he made his first start for that barn last time. While the claim didn’t pay immediate dividends, the horse clearly took a significant step forward. He rated kindly off the pace and looked full of run coming to the top of the stretch before losing all his momentum while steadying in traffic. All things considered he did well to regather himself and rally for third. Now the horse again goes out for a new barn after being claimed again. Rudy Rodriguez has excellent statistics off the claim, which could compromise his price a bit. He will have to improve to beat the favorite, but I think that’s likely to happen given the deceptively strong effort last time out.
Behind these two I’d want to use closers like Double Shot (#3) and Joint and Several (#12), as it seems possible that the pace could come apart.
Exacta Key Box: 7 with 2,3,6,12
Trifecta: 2,7 with 2,7 with 3,4,6,10,12