Thursday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Lightly raced Hombre still has upside in return

Aqueduct | Race 8 | Post Time 3:44 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs | Not already a TimeformUS member? Sign up 

This is a highly competitive allowance race in which I don’t want to settle for short prices like St. Joe Louis (#1) and Regal Speaker (#8). The former has lost at short prices twice in a row and is getting a negative rider switch for this race. Regal Speaker ran well to beat New York-breds last time, but he’s stepping up in class and needs to work out a trip from off the pace. I’m more interested in some runners who can be forwardly placed. 

One of those is Ranger Fox (#10). Stretching this horse out to 1 1/8 miles may seem counterintuitive at first glance since he faded going a mile in his lone two-turn attempt. However, that result may have been more a function of the rating tactics used, as he got too rank in the early going racing behind horses. I think he deserves another shot going longer, since he’s a lighter-framed leggy horse. There isn’t much speed signed on here, so John Velazquez​ should be able to get out front and slow the pace down before turning it into a sprint to the wire. 

My top pick is HOMBRE (#4). I wasn’t thrilled with the ride this horse got last time. He broke alertly and secured the early lead through moderate opening fractions. Yet his rider wrangled him off the pace, forcing him to come around the leaders to make his move. He was flat in the stretch, but that was just his first try against winners. He’s been given plenty of time since then, and appears to be working well for his return. I was impressed by this colt’s maiden victory and he think he will appreciate the slight stretch-out to 1 1/8 miles. He has the tactical speed to be forward and can take over at any time if Ranger Fox falters.

THE PLAY

Win: 4

Exacta Key Box: 4 with 1,2,8,10

Trifecta: 4,10 with 4,10 with 1,2,3,8

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