I understand why Candy Man Rocket (#6) and Roderick (#3) might be considered the two horses to beat given their overall résumés. However, I haven’t been that impressed by either one of these colts. Candy Man Rocket does make a certain amount of sense as he turns back in distance, as he may just have not appreciated his connections’ aspirations to make him into a Kentucky Derby candidate. Even though he won the Sam F. Davis around two turns, he was getting pretty leg weary at the end of that race, so I like the turnback for him. I just wonder how much ability he really possesses. He didn’t beat the strongest field when he broke his maiden, though he was visually impressive that day. He’s certainly a player, but I just wouldn’t want to accept a short price.
I’m less confident in the chances of Roderick. This horse just doesn’t seem all that genuine. He clearly possesses a good amount of early speed, but he often falls apart when he faces real competition or gets any serious pressure at all from his riders. Both wins were earned against overmatched groups when he was much the best, but his surrounding form is somewhat disappointing. Wesley Ward can be dangerous with the runners he ships in from Kentucky, but I’d rather land elsewhere.
My top pick is BEREN (#1). This horse came into the Bay Shore last time as an intriguing new face from Parx, but he lost all chance at the start when he stumbled and fell to face. I’m not going to hold that result against him, and his prior form is strong. He really improved when he turned three earlier this year, winning a pair of races over the winter that have proven to be just as legitimate as the speed figures indicate. This colt is the product of a mating of two hearty racehorses, both millionaires, and I think he’s just starting to live up to the potential in that pedigree. With a clean break, I expect him to be forwardly placed form his inside draw, and I suspect he has a bit more heart than the two favorites.
Exacta: 1 with 2,3,6
Trifecta: 1 with 3,6 with 2,3,4,6