Thursday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Cutback in distance may suit Musical America

Belmont | Race 7 | Post Time 4:08 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs | Not already a TimeformUS member? Sign up 

I don’t quite trust either of the two likely favorites in this intriguing $50k claimer for older horses. Happy Farm (#4) attempts to win his second consecutive race at this level after winning first off the trainer switch for Rob Atras last time. He showed a new dimension, winning from off the pace that day, but the waters do get a bit deeper this time. There are more runners with back class in this field, including a few who have run faster than Happy Farm in recent starts. What Happy Farm does have going for him is his tactical speed, as the TimeformUS Pace Projector is predicting a scenario favoring the front-runner. Perhaps he’ll wire the field, but he’s not the kind of horse that interests me at a short price. 

I have even less confidence in the winning prospects of Town Classic (#6), who has shown a clear aversion to crossing the wire in front. Since his last victory in early 2020, he’s gone 13-0-8-3, often getting in position to win at mid-stretch before deferring to rivals in the last furlong. I’m instead interested in some potential bigger prices. 

The logical other horse is Mi Tres Por Ciento (#2), who arguably comes into this race with the best form. The problem is that he’s dropping slightly in class of a layoff for a barn that has been pretty cold at the meet. That said, Kantarmaci did finally get a win last Sunday, and this horse has raced for claiming tags before, so the drop isn’t that dramatic. If he shows up, he’ll be tough to beat. 

Yet my top pick at a better price is MUSICAL AMERICA (#3). At first glance it might seem like this horse is better going longer, but he’s been effective sprinting in the past. He ran an excellent race going 6 furlongs back at Keeneland in 2019, and since then he’s been most proficient in one-turn events. I think he found 1 1/16 miles to be a bit out of his reach last time after contesting the pace against a salty field. Now he cuts back for a dangerous trainer, and he has the tactical speed to work out the right trip.

THE PLAY

Win: 3

Exacta Key Box: 3 with 2,4,6

Trifecta: 3 with 2,4,6 with 2,4,5,6

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