I don’t have a strong argument against Bar Fourteen (#4), other than the fact that he’s now going to be a short price based largely on the rider switch to Irad Ortiz. He’s run well in all of his turf starts, having been the victim of quick paces on a couple of occasions. That was especially true last time when he was chasing an unreasonably fast pace before getting swallowed up by the closers in the lane. I actually like him turning back to 7 furlongs given how well he ran sprinting on dirt early in his career. And he does appear to have found a race in which he’ll be able to control the early pace. I’m just not keen to take a short price on him.
His main rival is probably Neuro (#3), but he’s another runner that’s difficult to endorse at relatively low odds. He’s arguably in the best form of his career right now, and turf does seem to be his preferred surface. He’s just had his fair share of chances, whereas a rival like Bar Fourteen at least still has some upside. I’m using both of them, but I think there’s a more interesting alternative.
NOBLE JOURNEY (#1) has made two starts on turf and both are better than they seem. He was wide around the first turn of his turf debut while chasing a pace that ultimately fell apart. And then last time he was returning from a long layoff and going a distance that is perhaps a little short for him. Furthermore, he encountered traffic in upper stretch that day and was ridden conservatively through the lane. That’s proven to be a strong race as multiple horses have returned out of it improve. Noble Journey also figures to move forward off that effort, and he should appreciate stretching out to 7 furlongs.
Exacta Key Box: 1 with 3,4
Trifecta: 1,4 with 1,4 with 3,5,8