One of the difficult decisions one has to make in handicapping this race is determining how to handle Ryan’s Cat (#8). If he repeats his last race, in which he earned a 112 TimeformUS Speed Figure, he’s probably going to beat this field. However, I’m skeptical that he can reproduce that form given his prior inconsistency. Not only was he facing just three rivals in that spot, but he was allowed to stalk a slow pace before sprinting for home. He’s now stepping way up in class and would struggle to contend here if regressing to any of his prior efforts.
I’m more willing to trust the other favorite Family Biz (#4). His recent form since the claim by Linda Rice has been strong. He put in an excellent effort to win a $40k claimer two back, which was flattered when runner-up Limonite returned to beat a tougher field. And last time he was wide against a rail bias. Yet there are two major hurdles for Family Biz. One is the turnback. He’s handled sprint distance before, but he’s clearly best going a one-turn mile. The other obstacle is pace. There’s just not much speed signed on in this spot, which could compromise this deep closer. I’m using him prominently, but I want to go in a different direction.
Zaevion (#7) figures to work out the right kind of stalking trip, and his recent form is fairly solid. I expect him to be involved in the finish and he’ll be a square price. Yet my top pick is another runner who figures to go off at similar odds.
TWELFTH LABOUR (#2) turns back in distance following a victory for a $35k tag. That performance was flattered when both horses who finished directly behind him returned to win with improved speed figures. While Twelfth Labour has concentrated on one-mile races since the claim by Michelle Nevin, I believe he’s better going a bit shorter. That was certainly the case when he was in the best form of his career as a 3-year-old, and it appears that he’s climbing back to that apex. He has the tactical speed to stay relatively close in the early stages, and I think he can get the jump on the closers here if he displays the same spurt that he showed at the quarter pole of his last race.
Exacta Key Box: 2 with 1,4,7,8
Trifecta: 2 with 4,7 with 1,4,7,8,9