Town Classic (#3) is probably the horse to beat as he moves back up in class to contest this optional claimer. A repeat of that 115 TimeformUS Speed Figure will probably be good enough to win against this tougher field, but he’s a little hard to trust winning back-to-back races. This 8-year-old had developed quite the reputation as a hanger following that long string of second- and third-place finishes leading into that last start. Jose Ortiz made a smart move getting him to the front early in that race, which didn’t give him the opportunity to idle in the late stages. However, this time there are some other speeds signed on, so I’m a little concerned that his prior reluctance to pass horses will rear its head once again.
I’m most interested in the two Kentucky shippers. Aloha West (#6) is perhaps the more logical of the two as he drops in class out of the Kelly’s Landing last time. That race did not feature a particularly quick early pace, so he did well to make a run into fourth after lagging behind in the early going. He was pretty impressive winning against allowance company two back, and will obviously be dangerous if some pace develops.
My top pick, hopefully at a slightly better price, is NIGHT TIME (#7). This horse showed some ability as a 3-year-old last year when running some nice speed figures in the second half of the season, including a win up here. I liked his 4-year-old debut at Churchill last time, as he got involved in a 4-way duel through the early part of that race before he was overhauled by the perfect trip winner Answer In. He figures to get a great outside stalking trip this time.
Exacta Box: 6,7
Trifecta: 7 with 3,6 with 1,3,5,6