Bears Mafia (#1) figures to attract some support as he attempts to win his 8th race in his last 9 career starts, and his only loss during that time was when he got pulled up on the turn at Aqueduct in November. He’s clearly in the best form of his career for trainer Jeffrey Englehart, and he showed that he had maintained that condition from last year when he rebounded with a victory off the layoff last time. My concern is that he got a very good trip in that race, allowed to set a moderate pace. Now he finds himself in a spot where he has to deal with a very fast horse posted to his outside, and I’m concerned that Pablo Morales won’t be quite as aggressive.
Three horses exit a Mar. 20 race at this level, which was won by Dark Money (#3). He arguably got the best trip of that trio, as he was rated off a very fast pace and got a clear run through the lane. He’s in great form and can obviously win with a repeat of that performance, but I prefer others from that race.
Bronx Bomber (#2) is the one who encountered obvious trouble, as he acted up at the start and was off very slowly. However, breaking slowly might have been to his benefit given the swift fractions. He ultimately got a great ride from Trevor McCarthy, but still ran well for third. If he can run as well with a clean break he’s a contender, but I’m worried he’ll revert to his old speedy running style here and get outrun to the lead.
I prefer STEAM ENGINE (#4) from that race. He’s the aforementioned pace rival to Bears Mafia who may just prove quicker than that foe. Steam Engine is very fast in the early stages of his races and should be clearly in front if he breaks cleanly under Irad Ortiz. He set a wicked pace last time and did well to hold on until the last sixteenth. His TimeformUS Speed Figure, adjusted for pace, was a 113 – which is clearly highest in this field. This time I think he’ll be rated along on the front a bit better, and I expect him to take these all the way. He also handles a wet track and there is rain in the forecast.
Exacta: 4 with 1,2,3,5
Trifecta: 4 with 2,3 with ALL