This race is going to feature a couple of scratches, as both Amundson and Secret Rules will scratch for a race on Sunday’s card. That should affect the pace scenario, since both of those runners figured to show early speed. That shouldn’t significantly affect the chances of the Chad Brown entry if both participate, since the two runners have complementary running styles.
Risk Taking (#1) has more name recognition off his Withers victory from last year. However, this feels like it’s merely a starting point for a horse who probably wants longer distances. Chad Brown is 1 for 9 (11%, $0.50 ROI) off 150-300 day layoffs in dirt routes at Aqueduct over 5 years. I prefer Sound Money (#1A) of the two. He really stepped forward last time, and that victory was flattered when runner-up American Monarch returned to win at the same level. I don’t think a mile is a problem for him and Chad Brown has been on fire at this meet.
Zoomer (#2) figures to be the second choice, and I think he fits this spot well. Tom Morley claims him back after he won for him last October. Since then he’s continued improving, putting in a surprisingly strong effort sprinting two back before winning a high-priced claimer last time. Notably he was against a gold rail in that last victory, so he arguably could have run faster. I thought about putting him on top, but I ultimately went for a bigger price.
CAPTAIN BOMBASTIC (#11) obviously has some things to prove as he drops out of a series of stakes losses. However, I think there’s a notable change taking place in this spot. He’s finally getting to run on Lasix again, and his form really tailed off when he was taken off Lasix in 2021. His lone start with Lasix at Laurel last year resulted in his best effort in quite some time, as he defeated leading Maryland runner Cordmaker. With the other speed scratching out, he should sit a great trip right on top of the pace. I also like him cutting back in distance after he attended a fast pace going too far in the Alex M. Robb last time.
Exacta Key Box: 11 with 1,2,8
Trifecta: 11 with 1,2 with 1,2,5,8