My chief opinion in this race is that I want to take a stand against Tiergan (#6). This horse has displayed improved form through the first portion of his 5-year-old season, especially since the claim by Rudy Rodriguez. However, his form is completely exposed at this point and there are signs that he may be heading in the wrong direction again. After a perfect trip victory against starter allowance foes on Feb. 21, he’s twice lost as the favorite at this level. He was simply second best to Wild Banker two back, but really had no excuse to lose to Three Jokers last time when he simply hung. Now he’s being asked to stretch out to 1 1/8 miles, and it’s hardly clear he wants to go that far. I actually prefer Too Early (#5) from his last start, since at least he’s proven at the distance. Yet my primary idea in this race is to endorse the 3-year-olds.
One of those is Great Workout (#4), but I wouldn’t want much lower than his 3-1 morning line price. This colt does need to get significantly faster to beat this field, but there are signs that he’s exiting a decent race. He also has a right to move forward off that performance given that he won despite breaking slowly and racing greenly. He’s bred to stretch-out and Todd Pletcher is 10 for 25 (40%, $1.86 ROI) with 3YO last-out debut winners stretching out from sprints to dirt routes over 5 years – but that ROI reveals the problem with picking this colt.
My top pick is BINGO JOHN (#1). This colt was heavily supported at the windows when he broke his maiden going a mile in February, and appeared to beat a solid field even though the speed figure was merely mediocre. He faced tougher rivals when stepped up against winners last time and ran well, closing relentlessly through the lane to just miss. This colt is a half-brother to a few accomplished routers, including Grade 2 winner S’maverlous. He gives the impression that added distance should help him, and he has every right to improve for a dangerous barn.
I would also use Our Man Mike (#2), who seemed to improve with added distance last time, though he got a great setup to win that race.
Exacta Key Box: 1 with 2,4,5
Trifecta: 1,4 with 1,4 with 2,5,6