The scratch of morning-line favorite American Dubai changes this race quite a bit. Two Thirty Five (#3) could now inherit favoritism, though Mike Maker doesn’t have the greatest stats off the claim on dirt and I didn’t think this horse had a major excuse last time. I prefer some alternatives.
Dark Storm (#2) moves up in class off the claim for Rudy Rodriguez. This barn has outstanding statistics first off the claim in dirt routes, but the horse does need to improve to factor here. He ran well within the context of his last race, closing into a slow pace. However, he was facing weaker company and needs to get back to his better efforts.
The scratch of American Dubai may help Musical America (#5) the most, as he does his best work on the front end. However, I also think it will aid my top pick, Zoomer.
I don’t think ZOOMER (#4) ran that badly last time behind Fort Peck, who dominated that race and returned to finish a good second in the Grade 2 Kelso behind Life Is Good. Zoomer’s recent form is a little spotty, but he’s had some excuses, and I like this claim. Tom Morley has been having an excellent few weeks, and he’s generally been doing well with new acquisitions over the past year or so, winning at a fair rate with a high ROI. Zoomer has the tactical speed to work out a trip and obviously has prior form that would make him tough against this field.
Exacta Key Box: 4 with 2,3,5
Trifecta: 4 with 2,5 with 2,3,5,6,8