More Graytful (#4) and Seven Lilies (#5) look like the two who should vie for favoritism in this New York-bred optional claimer, the second division of today’s sixth race. More Graytful comes off a career-best performance when winning at this level last time with a 113 TimeformUS Speed Figure. He’s stretching out to 7 furlongs today, but he’s handled this distance in the past. He’s very much the horse to beat in his current form, but I think there are some question marks as he exits the Rob Atras barn. Ray Handal is having a great meet, but Atras really seemed to have the key to this horse and I wonder if he’ll regress here.
He faces an Atras-trained rival in Seven Lilies, who is also in fantastic form right now. He ran out of ground when closing into a slow pace last time, and that’s come back as a strong race. Water’s Edge returned to win with a strong speed figure. Seven Lilies just missed at this level two back, and he should relish the slight turnback to 7 furlongs.
I’m most interested in WINNERS LAUGH (#7) as an alternative. He finished sixth of seven runners in his return to the races last time, but he ran a lot better than the result indicates. That was a wicked pace and he outdueled the very fleet Steam Engine on the front end before both succumbed to closers. He earned a strong 112 TimeformUS Speed Figure for that performance, a number that puts him right on par with the two favorites. He figures to move forward off that return and he’s drawn well outside of his main pace rival.
Exacta Key Box: 7 with 4,5
Trifecta: 7 with 4,5 with 3,4,5