The TimeformUS Pace Projector is predicting that Aunt Kat (#2) will be in front of her Shine Again rivals in the early stages in a scenario that favors the leader. She’s been unstoppable over her last three starts, two of which have come over sprint distances. However, she’s gotten great setups in all of those races, with paces and track biases in her favor at different times. This is by far the toughest field that Aunt Kat has ever encountered, so she has to prove that she can maintain her advantage against some legitimate stakes foes. At a short price, I want to veer in a different direction.
However, I also have some questions about her main rival Bayernness (#1). She has run very well in her last few starts, but all of them have come over wet, sealed racetracks. Considering that she also ran well on wet ground as a 2-year-old, beating Swiss Skydiver over a sloppy track, it’s fair to wonder if she’s a horse who needs moisture in the surface to perform at her best.
My top pick is CASUAL (#4), who figures to be the third choice. She started off her 2021 campaign in impressive fashion with an allowance victory at Oaklawn, yet she’s lost three stakes since then. That said, I think she’s had subtle excuses in all of those races. She was way too far back behind a slow pace in the Spring Fever and then she again found herself in paceless affairs going 6 furlongs in both the Carousel and Skipat. On all three occasions, she closed well to secure minor awards. I think she’s going to appreciate the slight stretch-out to 7 furlongs, which should allow her to sit a bit closer to the pace than she has in recent starts. As long as she can stay in contact with the field, I think she has a big chance to pull off the minor upset.
Exacta: 4 with 1,2,5
Trifecta: 4 with 1,2 with 1,2,5