Turn of Events (#2) is the horse to beat as he moves up in class off a victory at the $35k claiming level. He had apparently recaptured top form off the claim for Mertkan Kantarmaci, but now he’s going out for yet another new barn. George Weaver is 4 for 10 (40%, $2.36 ROI) first off the claim this year, and 4 for 8 with today’s owner. He’s obviously a contender if he maintains his current form, but he’s likely to get a different trip today. He’s drawn inside of the very fast Bar Fourteen, so he’s unlikely to control the tempo on the front end, as he did in victory last time.
Bar Fourteen (#3) is also a contender in this spot after breaking his maiden against New York-breds in very fast time. That 113 TimeformUS Speed Figure is the highest number in this field, and the effort was flattered when runner-up Neuro came back to win. I have some concerns about him getting a two-turn mile given his tendency to get aggressive early, but he is clearly talented enough to win.
My top pick is PANSTER (#1). This 3-year-old has something to prove on the rise in class. However, he was a visually impressive winner when he broke his maiden two back, and last time just got the wrong trip. That was a decent field of starter allowance horses, and Panster just got completely shuffled out of the race on the backstretch, winding up last. The pace held together on the front end, and he was the only horse to make a significant impact from the back of the pack. I don’t mind the added distance for him and he’s supposed to get an honest pace ahead of him. He feels like one with upside in a race where I think we’ve already seen the best of a few of this rivals.
Exacta Key Box: 1 with 2,3,5
Trifecta: 1 with 2,3 with 2,3,5,6