#6 Crypto Cash is the horse to beat in this $16k claimer even as his connections dump him in for this price tag after he just missed by a nose for $32k last time out. He was only claimed for $16k back in January, so perhaps this is just a realistic assessment. My issue with him is that I haven’t been thrilled with either of his performances for the Atras barn. He was somewhat disappointing when bet down to favoritism two back. And last time he worked out a great trip to lead at midstretch before getting nosed out at the wire. There isn’t a ton of pace signed on in this six-horse field to set up his late run, so I’m not inclined to take him at a short price.
The problem is that his main rival #1 Chris and Dave is hardly a reliable alternative. After getting claimed for $50k by Linda Rice in October, he’s struggled to finish his two races for this barn. He was admittedly overmatched in one of those when put in for an $80k tag in November. However, now his claiming tag is getting slashed in half for the second time in a row. He was eased for $40k last time and now Linda is just begging someone to take him of her hands. He should play out as the controlling speed here, but he’s hard to take at what could be a relatively short price.
I prefer #3 Runabout, who is moving up in class. This gelding is easily the most trustworthy runner in this race. He doesn’t always win, but he usually shows up with a respectable effort. He showed no ill effect from a 6-month layoff when he returned earlier this year, and I like the confidence being displayed as he’s bumped up in class off the claim. Trainer Jeffrey Englehart is 5 for 10 (50%, $2.86 ROI) first off the claim at Aqueduct at this current meet. This horse also has the tactical speed to work out a stalking trip in a paceless race.
WIN: #3 Runabout, at 5-2 or greater