This New York-bred allowance turf sprint looks very wide open. The favorite, whoever that may be, is likely to be lukewarm, as most of the major players are returning from layoffs with inconsistent prior form.
#3 Uncle George figures to be among the public choices, and he did run well at this level when last seen on turf in mid-November. That said, he got a pretty good trip that day and still couldn’t quite break through at this level. He’s a deep closer who is always going to be up against it if the pace fails to develop. His lone victory on debut came in race that completely fell apart, and he might need another such a setup to get back to the winner’s circle.
#1 Deep Cover makes some sense as he returns to turf. A dirt experiment failed over the winter, but he did run well in his career debut over this course and distance. The problem is that he was allowed to set a pretty slow pace that day, and there is other speed to deal with this time. I’m instead going for a new face at this level.
#9 SANDRONE looks a little slow based on speed figures, but that’s not surprising given that he was a 2-year-old last season. I thought he lacked some finish in his first few starts last season, appearing to hang in the late stages of his races. Yet that wasn’t a problem once H. James Bond added blinkers for his juvenile finale. This horse broke out of the gate alertly in that Dec. 2 event, and ran with a newfound aggression, drawing away impressively once asked for his best in the lane. That version of Sandrone is not out of his element against this field, and it’s very possible that he’s further matured over the winter.
WIN: #9 Sandrone, at 7-2 or greater