Two of the main players in this starter allowance affair exit the July 17 race at this level won by Baby Yoda. Jake Rocks (#4) got closest to that impressive winner at the end, but I think he has some things working against him this time at a much shorter price. He got a perfect trip last time, stalking a slow pace before taking a run at the leader. Yet that was six furlongs, and he hasn’t been quite as effective over this longer 7-furlong trip. Furthermore, he’s sometimes struggled over wet tracks in the past and there is some rain in the forecast.
I prefer Repo Rocks (#5) out of that July 17 race. He was off slowly, which badly compromised his chances considering the moderate early tempo. Prior to that he had run a series of excellent speed figures against maiden company. Now he returns as a new gelding and shouldn’t mind the slight stretch-out to 7 furlongs. If he can rebound to his best form he’s arguably the one to beat.
I’m taking a shot against them with WICKED INDEED (#1). There isn’t much pace signed on in here and I think this gelding could get an aggressive ride from the rail. He has to prove that he fits here from a class standpoint, but he’s run some nice races against claimers at Belmont and handles the distance. Furthermore, Rudy Rodriguez has great stats in this situation. He’s 23 for 71 (32%, $2.16 ROI) first off the claim with last-out winners in dirt sprints over 5 years. He’s also 7 for 32 (22%, $2.68 ROI) first off the claim on dirt at Saratoga over 5 years, and 10 horses in that sample finished second.
Exacta Key Box: 1 with 2,5,6,10
Trifecta: 1,5 with 1,5 with 2,4,6,9,10