Todd Pletcher holds a strong hand in this 9-furlong maiden affair. Beyond Best (#3) should go favored as he ships up from Florida. This son of Curlin made his debut going a mile at Belmont and ran like a horse who needed the race. He returned with an improved effort at Gulfstream despite encountering some trouble. Breaking from the rail, he was put in tight quarters heading into the clubhouse turn and got shuffled back before coming around the field to close for fourth. He ran better than the result would indicate, and has valuable two-turn experience as he stretches out. Yet I prefer his stablemate, who also makes the trip up from Pletcher’s Palm Beach Downs base.
RED LINE OVERDRIVE (#8) was well supported in his debut at Belmont, getting bet down to 3-5. He showed early speed in accordance with such tote support, but was unable to sustain it, fading badly through the stretch. Ultimately he may have needed the start, as he put in a much better effort last time. That Dec. 26 maiden affair was a strong one, as winner American Icon returned to repeat his speed figure against winners, and third-place finisher Happy Boy Rocket came back to win, beating Beyond Best. While Red Line Overdrive’s pedigree isn’t that stamina-oriented, he has some of that Uncle Mo scope to him, and should be able to handle this distance if he can shake loose on the front end. I prefer him of the two Pletcher runners, and he could be the better price.
I’m somewhat against a couple of the others shipping in from different circuits. Awesome Aaron (#2) ran along evenly in his debut at Gulfstream, but I’m skeptical of the Practical Joke progeny going this far, even though Chad Brown has solid statistics with this move. South Street (#4) is a little more appealing as he makes his first start for the Bill Mott barn, as he’s faced some solid rivals in California. He strikes me as one that should run all day, but he’s shown very little speed in his races so there’s still some question about how much ability he possesses. At a bigger price, I’d be inclined to throw in Nobodyridesforfree (#7), who debuted against cheaper foes but looks like one who should appreciate the added ground.
Exacta Key Box: 8 with 2,3,4,7
Trifecta: 8 with 3,4 with 2,3,4,7