Pinky Dude (#3) is clearly the horse to beat as he attempts to improve his dirt record to 2-for-2. While he had shown some ability in prior stars on synthetic at Woodbine, he looked like a horse reborn getting on conventional dirt last time, making a wide, sweeping move to the lead past the quarter pole before drawing off impressively. He was assigned a strong speed figure for a race at the $16,000 level and he looks like he could be tough as he returns for the bottom-level N3L condition. However, most horses exiting that Dec. 18 affair have regressed in subsequent starts, with some declining by many points. As impressive as Pinky Dude appeared to be, I’m somewhat skeptical of the quality of that race and think he could be slightly vulnerable here at a short price.
I prefer CAUSE OF ACTION (#5), who is getting some needed class relief after facing tougher $25k conditioned claimers in recent starts. He was meeting better horse when finishing a close fifth on Nov. 22, and he ran better than it seems last time out on Dec. 20. The latter was a day that featured a moderate rail bias, and this horse was never inside, instead chasing in the 3-path for much of his trip before moving wider into the lane. All things considered, he ran on well to be fourth, and should be able to do better here on the class drop. Furthermore, he’s been gelded since that last race and returned with an improved workout 10 days ago.
Exacta Key Box: 5 with 2,3,4
Trifecta: 5 with 3,4 with 1,2,3,4