I’ll be interested to see how the public approaches this confusing $40k claimer. I could see horses like Chris and Dave (#4) or Two Thirty Five (#3) taking money. The former is coming off a poor effort, but he was facing a much tougher optional claiming field that day and now gets needed class relief. His prior effort, in which he defeated today’s rival Two Thirty Five, makes him a logical player. He’s never had much success going this 9-furlong distance, but he projects to get a good trip setting the pace.
Two Thirty Five is another who hasn’t won going 1 1/8 miles, but he’s run well over this trip, placing in graded stakes going this far earlier in his career. He exits a good effort when second to the in-form Hammerin Aamer at this level last time out. He had an excuse for his poor effort two back when he blew the start, and otherwise his form for Jeffrey Englehart is solid.
My top pick is AIR ATTACK (#2). I know his recent form has been abysmal, but the reclaim by Rob Atras has to be respected. In his lone prior start for the Atras barn last year, Air Attack won by nearly 9 lengths with a 113 TimeformUS Speed Figure. He briefly held his form for John Toscano when they ran him back quickly in the Stud Muffin, but he regressed thereafter. He’s always been best going 9 furlongs, so I like him getting back to that distance. Furthermore, Atras is 6 for 14 (43%, $2.83 ROI) first off the claim in 9-furlong dirt routes over the past 5 years. He requires a form reversal to conquer this field, and I think the signs point to that being a real possibility.
Exacta Key Box: 2 with 3,4,6
Trifecta: 2 with 3,4 with 1,3,4,6