Rudy Rodriguez had entered a pair of runners in this intriguing N2X optional claiming event for New York-breds, and he’s elected to scratch Daddy Knows, leaving Wudda U Think Now (#6) as his only participant. While the withdrawal of Daddy Knows does take some speed out of the race, it still seems like this race could feature a pretty quick pace, as Not That Brady and Danebury also possess early speed. Wudda U Think Now is coming off a disappointing performance as the favorite at this level last time. He was two-wide against a gold rail that was ridden by his winning stablemate. However, this horse got absolutely perfect trips prior to that and he still only achieved TimeformUS Speed Figures in the low-100s. I prefer to go in a different direction.
I’m hoping that an honest early pace will set things up for COLD HARD CASH (#5) to run them all down. This Linda Rice trainee will be stepping up to this level for the first time, but he’s run well against some solid rivals at the N1X level in recent starts. He just barely lost the talented Six Percent at Belmont last fall, earning a competitive speed figure. He tailed off a bit after that, but I thought he had a somewhat uncomfortable trip on Dec. 10, and he didn’t seem to handle the slop on Jan. 3 when wired by today’s rival Microscope. Cold Hard Cash appears to have now come back around as his last performance earned a strong 111 TimeformUS Speed Figure.
I would also use Just Right (#2) and Danebury (#8) underneath. The former is making his first start off the claim for Horacio DePaz, but has prior form that would make him competitive. The same goes for the previous form of Danebury, who has a right to take a step forward second off the layoff.
Exacta Key Box: 5 with 2,6,7,8
Trifecta: 5,6 with 5,6 with 1,2,7,8