RACE 3: SINGLE SOUL (#4)
There are three fillies in this 11-furlong allowance who figure to attract the bulk of support. The one with the best experience at this level is probably Coastana, who finished a good second in a 1 1/4-mile race at this level at Belmont. The filly who beat her, Higher Truth, returned from that winning performance to finish a close third in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks in her next start. She makes sense, but she faces a couple of talented 3-year-olds. Creative Cairo goes out for the powerful team of Christophe Clement and Joel Rosario. She was overmatched in her first start against winners in the Wonder Again, but bounced back nicely to finish third at this level last time. That was probably a weaker race than the one Coastana exits, and she didn’t display much turn of foot through the lane. I prefer the other 3-year-old, Single Soul. This filly got the wrong trip in her debut at Belmont last year, but she’s since run well in both starts for Graham Motion. She couldn’t quite get to future graded stakes winner Technical Analysis last year, but she appeared to return as an improved horse in her sophomore debut. Going 10 furlongs, she traveled well every step of the way and reached the leaders while still under only light urging from Jose Ortiz. He didn’t set her down until the eighth pole, at which point she drew clear. This daughter of Dubawi should relish an extra furlong and still may have a forward move in her.
RACE 6: FORTY UNDER (#1)
City Man would obviously be tough for this field to handle if able to run back to his Fort Marcy performance that kicked off his 4-year-old campaign. He never really loomed a threat to win, but it turns out that losing to Tribhuvan is no disgrace, as that rival has since gone on to Grade 1 success. Chasing the fast pace set by Tribhuvan turned out to be his downfall next time out in the Manhattan. He figures to do better than that on the cutback to 9 furlongs, but I still don’t totally trust this horse at a short price. Among the favorites, I prefer No Word off the layoff. This colt was bottled up for the entire stretch drive last time at Keeneland in a roughly run Bryan Station. I’m not holding that loss against him, and prior to that he had really stepped forward through the summer of his 3-year-old year. He was competitive with the likes of Domestic Spending and Gufo, who would obviously be heavy favorites against a field like this. He’s the horse to beat, in my opinion. Yet my top pick is Forty Under as he makes his second start off the layoff for Mike Maker. This 5-year-old showed so much promise as a 2-year-old, but could just never put it all together as an older horse. He got plenty of time off prior to that last start and seemed rejuvenated at Churchill, where he was probably racing as a new gelding for the first time. Though he lost that race narrowly, he displayed encouraging determination through the lane going a distance that may be a little short for him. I like the slight stretch-out, and he figures to work out a good trip stalking probable pacesetter Cavalry Charge. Mike Maker is one of the best at reawakening turf horses with back class such as this.
RACE 9: BOUND FOR NOWHERE (#11)
This Grade 3 Troy arguably came up just as tough as the Grade 1 Jaipur run in June at Belmont despite its lower purse and status. A few of the major players in here are exiting that Belmont Stakes day event, including winner Casa Creed. This Bill Mott trainee has obviously improved since he was turned back in distance two starts ago, and the further turnback to 6 furlongs in the Jaipur only seemed to intensify his late kick. That said, he got a good pace setup in the Jaipur, a race that was dominated by deep closers. I’m not quite sure that he’ll take to 5 1/2 furlongs as easily, and there isn’t as much early speed signed on this time. I strongly prefer Bound for Nowhere out of the Jaipur, and he’s my top pick. He looked destined to get a perfect trip on paper, but it didn’t play out that way. A couple of runners to his outside applied strong pressure through the opening furlongs, and he was forced to set a pretty honest pace. All things considered, he battled on valiantly while under the gun the whole way, but just couldn’t hold off the late runners. Now he finds himself in a more favorable spot, with the only true speed to chase being dirt horse Chateau, who is a dubious candidate to handle turf. I expect Bound for Nowhere to get the jump on his Jaipur foes, but he will have to contend with his Shakertown nemesis Imprimis. Imprimis had some things go wrong prior to the Shakertown, as he broke through the gate and had to be reloaded. However, he got an absolutely perfect trip during the actual race, as he broke alertly, saved ground and got the jump on the slow-starting Bound for Nowhere. I thought Bound for Nowhere ran the better race that day, and I’m giving him the slight edge here once again.