Defending West Point champion Rinaldi (#2) is obviously the horse to beat as he drops back down in class to face New York-breds after winning the Grade 3 Forbidden Apple. He got loose on the front end that day and was able to back down the pace, and the plan should be similar here with Luis Saez once again doing the steering. Perhaps his pace advantage will just be too much for this field to overcome, but Todd Pletcher does have a pair of runners in here who could apply some pressure.
I respect the favorite, but I have to take a shot with CITY MAN (#7). I strongly prefer this colt of the two Christophe Clement runners, because he at least has some positional speed that shouldn’t leave him too compromised by the lack of pace. Furthermore, he’s had legitimate excuses in his recent starts. He never had a chance chasing the fast pace of Tribhuvan two back in the Manhattan going a distance that is simply too far for him. And last time everything went wrong, as he was squeezed back at the start and raced wide and out of position for the entire race. All things considered, he did well to only lose third by a length. I would imagine that Joel Rosario will be a little more aggressive this time, and he’s one of the few in here with prior races that would give Rinaldi a scare.
I’m also somewhat intrigued by Graded On a Curve (#3) off the layoff. Chad Brown can obviously have one ready and this horse had really come into his own late last year. I just worry a little about the pace for him as well.
Exacta Key Box: 7 with 2,3
Trifecta: 7 with 2 with 1,3,4,8