Rally Squirrel (#2) looks like the horse to beat as he returns from a layoff. He ran pretty well in his only prior start last April. After getting off to a sluggish start he made a nice late move through the stretch to get up for fourth. That’s proven to be a pretty strong race in retrospect, as both of the top two finishers, Devilish Mood and Lord Flintshire, went on to run well against winners. The Tom Morley barn has been winning at a high rate lately and this colt would obviously be dangerous if he improves at all on his debut run.
The others with turf form are difficult to endorse. Arrowheart (#1) has picked up a few minor awards on grass but he hasn’t progressed much and got a great trip in his best effort at Saratoga. Ghostmon (#10) has earned some consistent speed figures at this level but he, too, has hit a plateau in his form, and he must work out a trip from an outside post position.
I want to try a new face. BLESS BLESS (#4) tries turf for the first time after getting rained off the grass in his debut last month. This gelding just ran along evenly towards the back of the pack on a day when margins of defeat appeared to be exaggerated over a demanding surface. However, he’s bred to be much better on turf. Temple City is a strong turf influence and the dam is a half-sister to G1-placed turf horse Startup Nation ($414k), who was also sired by Temple City. Michelle Nevin’s runners typically do better with experience and I think we’ll see a much better effort from this horse getting on his preferred surface.