I’m not sure he’ll go favored here, since he almost never does, but #8 Pulsate is the horse to beat in this optional claimer as he launches his 6-year-old campaign. While he’s never had a great affinity for visiting the winner’s circle, Pulsate ran well in all of his turf appearances last year, finishing in the exacta every time. He arguably put forth one of his best efforts in his return from a similar layoff last July when just felling to defeat the once-brilliant Fiya. He’s getting subtle class relief from his steady diet of stakes races at the end of last year, and projects to get a good stalking trip. I prefer him to the other short prices.
#4 Whatmakessammyrun should attract support on the basis of his fifth-place finish in the Grade 1 Jaipur just 12 days ago. He ran pretty well in that spot, but he did get a good ground-saving trip before angling out in the stretch. He obviously handles the distance and is getting class relief, but I’m not thrilled with the idea of taking a short price on him.
#1 Principled Stand could also take money for Chad Brown, but he’s got a lot to prove as he steps up in class and turns back to a sprint distance for the first time.
I prefer #2 BIG PACKAGE at slightly longer odds. He’s one of two runners in this field for David Donk, who has been enjoying a fantastic few months in New York. Over the past 60 days, Donk is 11 for 38 (29%, $5.84 ROI) with all starters. Big Package was thrown into a tough spot off the layoff last time when unable to make an impact in the Elusive Quality. However, Donk reported that he exited that race with a fever. Though he’s been off the board twice in a row, I can make an excuse for his final start of 2021 when he got a ridiculously wide trip in the Turf Sprint Championship. He’s now back at a level where he should be competitive. He’s handled 6 furlongs before, though I’m a little concerned about a lack of pace with Shekky Shebaz scratching.
WIN: #2 Big Package, at 7-2 or greater