If #6 Rockemperor does indeed go off as the favorite in the G2 Fort Marcy for the second year in a row, I have to try to beat him. He’s shown himself to be best over longer distances than this 1 1/8 miles, and he’s never been the most reliable win candidate. He did run well to win the Turf Classic last year, but he’s thrown down strong performances and failed to back them up before. He had some legitimate trouble in the Breeders’ Cup, but was back to his habit of disappointing when losing as the heavy favorite in the Hollywood Turf Cup. I don’t need him off the layoff at a short price.
#3 City Man seems like the one to beat off his impressive return in the Danger’s Hour last time. He can get the 1 1/8 miles, and arguably ran one of the best races of his career in the Fort Marcy last year behind Tribhuvan. He’s gained consistency with age, and figures to work out a good trip tracking the likely speeds.
Some may consider #7 Doswell as a horse that could take them all the way on the front end, but I would anticipate that King Cause will be aggressively ridden. Doswell has also never run as well in New York as he does at Gulfstream, so I don’t trust him to bring his strong recent form north.
My top pick is #5 SACRED LIFE. If this race is run over a rain-softened course, he’s not going to mind some give in the ground. I think he’s run deceptively well in both starts this year. He was ridden with no urgency in the Muniz last time, having no chance to get involved from his position at the top of the stretch. And two back he actually came with a nice late rush in the Pegasus World Cup Turf but ran out of ground over a course that doesn’t really suit his running style. He won going this distance at Belmont in the Knickerbocker last year, perhaps the addition of blinkers will get him a bit more involved early.
WIN: #5 Sacred Life, at 5-2 or greater