This Point of Entry did not attract the strongest field. The two runners with the strongest class lines are obviously Tide of the Sea (#1) and Shamrocket (#2).
The former could have a pace advantage since he possesses more tactical speed than the plodding Shamrocket. However, whether or not he gets to the front could be dependent on the tactics of Mo Gotcha, who would seemingly be in this race to set the pace if the connections decide to start. Tide of the Sea doesn’t necessarily need the lead to be successful, but he’s run his best races from a front-running position. He did defeat Shamrocket when they faced off going this distance in the Grand Couturier earlier this year, but his form since then has been spotty.
Shamrocket is more reliable, as he seems to always show up and run a respectable speed figure. The problem is that he’s not really a winning type and often just plods along to pick up the pieces. He’s arguably facing the weakest stakes field that he’s met this year, and 12 furlongs is obviously right up his alley. I’m not against him, but I didn’t want to take a short price on either of these horses.
My top pick is BEACON HILL (#5). This Michael Matz trainee is stretching out to a marathon distance for the first time, and I think he’s going to like it. Progeny of Blame can certainly stretch out and there’s plenty of stamina breeding on the bottom side of this pedigree. Beacon Hill returned from a layoff earlier this year and I think he’s really flourished with the move to turf. He outran his odds to be fourth in a tough optional claimer at Saratoga in August, and more recently I thought he was a little unlucky when trying to rally between horses last time at Keeneland. There isn’t much speed in this race, and he figures to work out a perfect pocket trip in behind Tide of the Sea and Mo Gotcha.
Exacta: 5 with 1,2,3
Trifecta: 5 with 1,2 with 1,2,3