Few races on this Saturday card are as competitive as this New York-bred optional claiming affair. The horse to beat might be #7 Scocciatore, who figures to be pretty tough with a repeat of his last race, in which she just missed at the open N1X level. That said, I’m not sure that he’s really getting any class relief here even as he moves back into NY-bred company. The TimeformUS Race Ratings actually suggest this is a tougher spot. The biggest problem for him figures to be the early pace of this race. The TimeformUS Pace Projector is predicting a fast pace with multiple horses contesting the front end. Scocciatore doesn’t need to be in front, but he could get pulled into running too fast early.
Among the others who figures to be forwardly placed, the two that I’d be most interested in are #4 Writer’s Regret and#12 Reggae Music Man. The former just looks to be in great form right now after running a strong second at this level going 7 furlongs last time. This is surely a tougher spot but he figures to be a big price again. Reggae Music Man also moves up in class, exiting a blowout victory, but at least he’s shown the ability to come from just off the pace. They’re all usable, but closers may have the advantage in this affair.
My top pick at what should be a generous price is #3 Double Shot. This horse looks cheap at first glance, but he actually ran deceptively well at this level on Feb. 25 of last year. He returned from a long layoff last time for David Donk and easily beat a weaker field, closing quickly into a slow pace. I find it interesting that Linda Rice, who has struggled at this meet, is so ambitiously moving him up in class off the claim. She clearly isn’t looking to lose this horse yet, and he has the back races to get involved here if the pace heats up. I also think Jackie Davis could be a good fit for him and her horses tend to fly under the radar from a value standpoint.
WIN: #3 Double Shot, at 8-1 or greater