Mexican Wonder Boy (#1) is the horse to beat as he drops slightly in class first off the claim for Ray Handal. This barn is in the midst of a strong meet, and he’s getting this horse from a pair of stables, Mertkan Kantarmaci and Linda Rice, who have been a little cold over the past few months. Mexican Wonder Boy’s last race is also stronger than it appears. He blew the start, getting off slowly, and had to rush up in the opening furlongs to contest the pace. He faded at the end, but was beaten by two quality animals. He’s landing a contention field, but he’s the speed from the rail and could be tough to catch.
Auburn Hills (#9) is perhaps his main rival as he drops in class. This horse has been facing significantly tougher company at the allowance level recently. His form has tailed off slightly as of late, but he figures to appreciate the class relief. That said, he’s another horse with speed in a race that could feature a pretty quick pace up front.
I want a runner who can pick up the pieces from off the pace. The one who interests me most is EASY SHOT (#4). This horse comes in a little light on speed figures, but he’s had some excuses in his recent starts. I think 6 furlongs is just too short for him, so I’m not too concerned by his recent defeats. He faced a better field two back, and last time had little chance to close into a slow pace. He had run deceptively well in his most recent dirt route attempt last July at Saratoga, and he figures to get pace to close into. Gustavo Rodriguez has had success off the claim in his first year on his own, but I think this horse could still fly under the radar in such a competitive field.
Exacta Key Box: 4 with 1,2,3,9
Trifecta: 4 with 1,9 with 1,2,3,9