This race arguably becomes more interesting off the turf, as it will now be run over 7 furlongs on the dirt. Free Enterprise (#10) could go favored as he returns from yet another layoff for Chad Brown. However, he was never a factor in his lone start this year, and just hasn’t ever gotten back to the promising efforts he put forth during his 4-year-old season. Chad is now doing the right thing in dropping him in for a tag, but I’m not sure he possesses an ability even at this level. He would obviously be tough for this field to handle if merely running back to his effort at Saratoga last year, but I’m not sure he’s still that same horse.
On dirt, there doesn’t appear to be a ton of speed signed on for this race. A router like Handy is somewhat tactical, but I think they could all find themselves chasing Fast Break from the rail.
FAST BREAK (#1) is making his first start for Rob Atras after being campaigned by Brittany Russell for the past few months. While she progressively stretched him out in distance, I’ve always preferred this horse going shorter. He was part of a quick pace two back in a race that is stronger than it might appear, and last time he found himself setting a very fast pace while perhaps not racing on the best part of the track down inside. I think he’s better than his recent speed figures indicate, and I love this turnback to 7 furlongs for him.
I prefer him to runners entered for turf like Handy (#8) and Fortuity (#4). Handy does have the form to contend here, but it’s unclear if turning all the way back to 7 furlongs will agree with him. Fortuity will take money based on a performance in the slop at Churchill two back, but he was lucky to win that race over the 3-year-old Gershwin. I have some doubts about the quality of that field, and wouldn’t want a short price on him.
Exacta Key Box: 1 with 2,8,10
Trifecta: 1 with 8,10 with 2,4,8,10,12