This is a pretty tricky race to analyze given the number of first time starters involved and some conflicting evidence about those with experience. Among those making their debuts, there are a few with solid pedigrees and Mr. Fantasy sports some quick workouts. Yet I’ve landed on horses with experience.
The likely favorite is What’s My Category (#6), who would be pretty tough to beat if repeating the 71 Beyer that he was assigned last time. However, the TimeformUS Speed Figure for the race is just a 73 – a sizable difference considering that the spread between those two speed figures is typically around 20 points. I’m honestly not sure how fast the race should be, since the track appeared to be changing throughout the day on Jan. 15, and the top two may have been helped by a speed bias. Regardless of how fast What’s My Category ran last time, he’s not a horse that I want to take at a short price. He’s had his chances at this level and just fails to get the job done even when things go his way.
His main rival is Devious Mo (#3), who obviously wanted no part of a mile last time. That said, he did improve significantly off the claim by Rudy Rodiguez and could be tough here if able to run as well on the turnback in distance. I’m not enamored with him, but I do expect him to improve on his last outing.
My top pick is KIKKERLAND (#1). This horse was making his debut in the same race What’s My Category exits. He broke behind the field and attempted to rush up on the backstretch, passing about half the runners before making further progress on the far turn. He ultimately flattened out in the stretch, but he had a right to lose momentum over a track that appeared to be helping front-runners. He took some money that day, and I expect him to put forth a better effort second time out for Rob Atras.
Exacta Key Box: 1 with 2,3,6
Trifecta: 1 with 3,6 with 2,3,4,5,6