Aloha West (#4) figures to vie for favoritism off his gutsy allowance win earlier in the meet. A repeat of that 115 TimeformUS Speed Figure will make him tough, and he was flattered when the second and third-place finishers Night Time and Cost Basis returned to finish in those same positions behind the talented 3-year-old Beau Liam last week. This colt has trained forwardly in Saratoga since then, and doesn’t figure to be bothered by the slight stretch-out to 7 furlongs. Though he is a closer in a paceless race, he overcame soft fractions to win last time. He’s the one to beat, but there are others to consider.
I’m somewhat against the lone speed American Power (#2). He figures to have a pace advantage, but I really didn’t like his effort in the Nerud last time and wonder if he’s heading the wrong way. Three Technique (#5) put in a fine effort in that same Grade 2 event, finishing a solid third behind the classy pair of Mind Control and Firenze Fire. I won’t hold his Vanderbilt against him, since he was just a little overmatched against that Grade 1 field. Seven furlongs is perfect and he’s drawn well outside.
I want to go in a different direction with OUR LAST BUCK (#1). This gelding really came to hand last winter, earning a stakes win at this distance over the talented Funny Guy. He was put on the shelf after that and didn’t resurface until earlier in this Spa meet. He caught a sloppy track in the Morrissey off the long layoff but ran an admirable race to stay on for third. He should benefit from that experience. While he’s stepping up into a tough spot here, he does have the tactical speed to sit close to likely leader American Power, and I believe he can cause an upset with his top effort.
Exacta: 1 with 2,4,5
Trifecta: 1 with 4,5 with 2,3,4,5